Tag Archives: garlic

Easy Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

Yesterday we ate a late lunch, so I scrapped my planned dinner menu and searched around for something lighter.  I looked around my pantry for what I already had and decided to make lentil something.  Using vegan lentil soup as my search term, I came across this recipe.  I didn’t have greens of any sort and made the soup without them.  The soup fragranced my house with exotic curry and in short order, we were enjoying little bowls of this soup.  The original recipe says it freezes well, so if you’re making soup for one, this is a winner!

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I had most everything on hand–subbing ground ginger for fresh.

ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced, or 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP curry powder
  • ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups No Chicken broth
  • 1 (140z) can light coconut milk
  • 1 (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups dry lentils
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cilantro for garnish
  • rice for serving

Add a splash of No Chicken broth to a large stock pot and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent–about 2-3 minutes.

saute onion garlic

Add ground ginger, tomato paste, curry powder, and red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine and cook for another minute.

add spices tomato paste

Add broth, coconut milk, lentils and diced tomatoes.  Stir to combine.

add broth coconut milk tomatos

Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30-35 minutes, until lentils are tender and soup is thick.

cover and simmer

Taste the soup and adjust seasonings (add salt and pepper) to your taste.

taste and adjust seasoning

Spoon prepared rice into bowls and add the lentil curry.  Garnish with cilantro.

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Quick and easy enough for a weeknight, yummy and comforting.  I think we’ll have the leftovers tonight rather than freezing them.  Mmmm-mmmm-mmm!

 

 

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, lunch, Potluck, recipe, vegan

Turkey White Chili

Ah Thanksgiving leftovers.  They seem like a bounty of riches at first, and then…  I’ve gotten to the I’m-so-tired-of-turkey phase.  Part of this is because most of the time I’m vegan, and I just don’t care much for meat anymore.  However, my son is NOT vegan, and I didn’t want to mess with a holiday tradition for him, so we roasted a small turkey.  But even a small turkey can result in a fairly large bag of leftover meat!  What to do, what to do?  I’d already made tetrazzini and enchiladas.  I didn’t want it going to waste, or even lurking in my freezer, scolding me for not using it.  I want to use up ALL of the rest of it!

Winter weather has a tendency to make me crave a warm bowl of soup, and my husband ALWAYS craves spicy.  How ’bout a white chili, then?  The Google provided me with lots of inspiration.  Does anyone else resort to the interwebs for food inspiration?  It’s like searching through ton of cookbooks with a click!  The Pioneer Woman got me started and I improvised from there.

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Grab your bag of leftover turkey and a crockpot and by the time you get home from work, Turkey White Chili will be waiting to warm your chilly self!

ingredients

  • 2-2 1/2 cups cooked turkey, shredded or chunked
  • 1 can green enchilada sauce
  • 4 cups or so chicken broth (I use No Chicken Broth)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed or minced
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 TBSP masa harina

Saute onions in a bit of broth or butter if you’d rather.  Saute until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

saute onion

Add garlic and saute until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.

add garlic

Chop or shred the turkey.  I like to use a cutting board that can go into the dishwasher when cutting meat, even if it IS cooked.

chop turkey

Open one can of beans, drain and place into your crockpot.  Mash them so you still have some pieces left.

mash 1 can of beans

Drain the other can of beans and add to the pot.  Add turkey, onions and garlic, green chiles, enchilada sauce and spices.

all in the pot

Cover with broth, give it a stir, cover and set the cooker to low for 5-6 hours. Alternately, set to high for 2-3 hours.

add broth to cover

Whisk masa harina–a corn flour–into the milk.  If you can’t find masa harina, corn meal is ok.  It helps thicken your chili and gives it a fabulous corn tortilla sort of flavor.

mix masa with milk

Add the milk mixture to the crockpot, set it to high and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

add masa milk to pot

Ladle it up in a pretty bowl and cut yourself a slice of crusty bread.  Garnish with cilantro and avocado.  Yum, yum, yummy!

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Just the remedy for a cold and wintry day.  Go ahead.  Have seconds.

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Winter is here to stay in Western Colorado.  Not crazy about the cold, but it sure is pretty.

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Alpenglow is the term used when the setting sun “warms” the nearby Grand Mesa.  Especially pretty in the snow!

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Filed under comfort food, crock pot, dinner, Holiday foods, lunch

Thanksgiving Appetizers–Vegan!

The Holidays are upon us.  Cleaning house, preparing for visits, grocery shopping and making plans with friends.  My BFF Becky and I host a holiday cookie exchange for friends we’ve had for years.  It’s the official start of the Christmas season for most of us and we look forward to getting together for yummy food, good times and cookies.  Becky and I always get together about this time to finalize our menu, mimosa flavor and decor.  Planning the cookie party is fun, and planning always goes better with a bit of snackage.  I already have most of my Thanksgiving groceries, so decided to Google around for appetizers that would use those items.  Score!  I found two different roasted appetizers that both used a lemon-garlic aioli as a dipping sauce!  Lucky.  They both roast around the same temperature and for approximately the same time.  Perfect.  I made a half batch of everything and plated it together.  Sweet Potatoes with “Sausage” Bites, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.  So pretty.  So yummy!

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Here’s what I used to make a snack for two BFFs.  Easy-peasy to double or even triple and use separate pans for the sprouts and potatoes.

ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 32-1/2 pieces (I only needed half of this huge potato!)
  • 3 vegan breakfast sausage links, microwaved according to the package, cut into 18 pieces (you’ll have couple left over pieces)
  • 14 small Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in halve or quarters, depending on the size of the sprout
  • spray oil
  • salt and pepper
  • decorative picks

For the Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • zest and juice of 1 small lemon–approx 1/2 tsp zest, 1 1/2 TBSP juice
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a pan with parchment paper or a silpat.

Prepare sweet potatoes and sprouts.  Spread on the pan allowing for space in between the pieces.  Spray lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Mix around with your hands to coat veggies with oil and seasoning.

chop spray season

Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time, until potatoes are tender and sprouts are caramelized on at least one side.

While veggies roast, make the Lemon-Garlic Aioli.  In a small bowl, combine mayo, zest and juice, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.

assemble aioli

Whisk until smooth, cover and refrigerate until veggies are ready.

whisk til smooth

When veggies are roasted, allow them to cool slightly on the pan while you microwave the sausages.  Transfer sprouts to a serving dish.

Assemble the Sweet Potato and Sausage Bites.  Using a decorative pick, pick up a sweet potato square, then a sausage piece and then another sweet potato.

assemble sweet potato bites

Place Sweet Potato Bites standing up on the serving dish.  Place the aioli on or near the dish and garnish with parsley if you like.

sweet potato

Place out for your friends and enjoy the flavors of Thanksgiving!  The sprouts, sweet potatoes and garlic really complimented each other, and the aioli kept everything fresh and light tasting.  Overall a success!  I made half of the original aioli recipe and still had lots leftover; it would have been plenty for twice or three times the veggies.

sprouts

How did the party planning go?  Wonderfully.  Between us, Becky and I always seem to come up with a perfect combo of food, drink and decor.  This year’s theme is red and green, and we’re planning a casual buffet service instead of our usual plated brunch.  We just know it will be fabulous, because as always, the party is spiced with friends we’ve had “forever.”  Here’s a look at last year’s party to give you an idea.

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star cookies

What are your Holiday traditions?

 

 

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, Holiday foods, 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

Vegan-tastic Zuppa Toscano

I haven’t been to Olive Garden in quite awhile…all that cheese and cream sauce and sausage, oh my.  I still remember the Zuppa Toscano, though.  Creamy and spicy with potatoes, greens and sausage; an ultimate comfort soup.  A soup you can make a meal out of.  But so not vegan.  Waaaaah.  Until now, that is!  Hurray for cashew cream and vegan sausage!  Hurray for a warm bowl of soup on a cold and rainy night!

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The original recipe’s been making the rounds on Facebook. Aside from veganizing, I also changed up some of the cooking to squeeze out even more flavor.  This link matches the image and the general idea of the recipe shared around Facebook.  Here’s what you’ll need for the vegan version I made:

ingredients

  • 1 lb. vegan Italian-style sausages ( I only had 3 sausages from the 4 pack, which worked out OK and reduced the fat in the recipe)
  • 4-6 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves
  • 32 oz. No Chicken broth
  • 2 c. kale or Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 c. raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours in enough water to cover them by an inch
  • 4 tsp corn starch
  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Lightly spray a non-stick pan with oil and brown the sausages.

brown sausage

Remove sausages from pan, cut each in half lengthwise and then slice into half-moons.

chop sausage

Chop the onion and peel the garlic.

chop onions peel garlic

Saute the onion in the same pan used for the sausage, adding a bit of No Chicken broth to deglaze the pan, releasing the yummy browned sausage bits into the onion.  Yum.  Saute until onions are translucent; about 5-7 minutes.

saute onions

Mince or press the garlic and add to the pan and continue to cook until garlic becomes fragrant; an additional 30 seconds or so.

add garlic

Scrub and chop potatoes into 1/2″ dice.

chop potatoes

Transfer potatoes, sausage, onions, garlic and 32 oz No Chicken broth to a slow cooker; veggies and sausage should be covered.  Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low.  Potatoes should be tender.

sausage onions garlic potatoes and broth in crockpot

After the cooking time, wash kale and remove the stems.  I only needed 2 leaves.  Chop into 1/2 to 1″ -ish pieces.  Small enough to stay on the spoon, but not so fine so it gets lost in the broth.

chop kale

Drain the cashews and place them along with 4 tsp corn starch and 2 cups No Chicken broth into a blender and blend until smooth.  This may take from one to five minutes–check it by rubbing it between your fingers–you want it as smooth as possible.  You may need to scrape down the sides during the blending time.  (Remember how to do this for future creamy soups and sauces–it’s creamy vegan MAGIC!)

cashews corn starch and broth

blend until smooth (1)

Add the kale and cashew cream to the crock pot, and cook an additional 30 minutes on high to thicken.

add kale and cashew cream

Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.

season

Ladle into bowls, add a nice warm wedge of bread or bread sticks and prepare to be amazed!  So, so yummy!  Michael pronounced it good enough to include in a weekly rotation; high praise.

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This is definitely NOT low-fat, but not too bad.  Fat comes from that light spray of oil, 10 grams per serving (1 link) of sausage and 13 grams per serving (1/4 cup) of cashews.

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While the soup was warming my house with its spicy aroma, it was cold and drippy outside.  I stood at the window, watching birds busy at the feeders and noticed someone else was watching the birds as well–the neighbor’s cat, Keshet!

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Keshet tends to do more watching than stalking and rarely kills a bird, but I have seen her with a mouse in her mouth, so I’m OK with her bird watching if she also keeps a few mice from trying to get into my house as the weather chills.

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Eventually my cat, Pookie wandered over to watch birds, and Keshet as well.

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You can see how dreary the day was in that last picture.  A great day for a vegan-tastic soup!

 

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Filed under comfort food, crock pot, dinner, 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