Tag Archives: parsley

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.

table1

table2

table3

table4

brunch1

brunch2

star cookies

What are your Holiday traditions?

 

 

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, Holiday foods, vegan, Vegetarian

Gazpacho: The Perfect Summer Soup!

Who knew Gazpacho was so yummy?!  Who knew it would turn into my favorite summer soup?!  Not me, until now.  When I think “soup,” I think hot, and when it’s hot outside, who wants soup?!  I was requested to make a soup for a recent gathering.  A gathering that took place on a near 100 degree day.  I JUST COULDN’T bear the thought of soup.  As luck would have it, said gathering happened just after this blog went to 35,000 views, and a friend had suggested Gazpacho as a celebration recipe.  I searched for recipes, altered one for things I had on hand, and it turned out GREAT!  No cooking at all!  Look how pretty–wanna bite?

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So simple; a couple of cans and a few fresh things:

ingredients

  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, seeded, cut into small dice
  • 3 TBSP red onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest (just the yellow part–the white part is bitter!)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley (I like flat-leaf Italian parsley)

Puree both cans of tomatoes in a blender and transfer to a bowl.

tomatoes in blender

Peel, seed and chop the cucumber.

seed and cut cucumber

Chop the yellow pepper.

cut pepper half

Mince the onion.

mince onion

Zest the lemon.

lemon zest

Stir them into the tomatoes, cover and chill for at least 25 minutes, or up to overnight.

all veggies in

Just before serving, season with parsley, salt and pepper.

add parsley salt pepper

Ladle into serving dishes, I used juice glasses my Mom bought for me in Mexico–perfect!

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So, so yummy!  So much flavor and NO FAT!!!  Perfectly spiced, wonderfully chilled.  JUST the soup for a hot summer day!

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Filed under dairy-free, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian

Middle Eastern Feast

Fattoush, Falafel and Hummus!  Oh my!  Oh yummy!

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I bought garbanzo flour a while ago for some reason…don’t remember what the original plan was, but since, I’ve used it in spicy black bean burgers (yum!) and when I did, noticed a recipe for falafel on the side of the package.  Then I found a recipe for fattoush, a chopped Middle Eastern salad, in a magazine.  I always have chick peas in the pantry, so a feast was hatched!

the feast

The ingredient list is somewhat lengthy, but has everything you need for the entire fattoush, falafel and hummus feast:

ingredients

For the Fattoush:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 TBSP white wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 sp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 6 cups chopped romaine ( I used baby greens from my garden)
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into half-moons
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

For the Falafel:

  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes (or 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp round coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup hot water

For the Hummus:

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained, reserve the liquid from one can
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp chili powder ( I used chipotle powder for the heat and the smokiness)

For serving:

  • pita breads, warmed

Start with the salad.  Place the greens in a large bowl.  Prepare the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and mint; add them to the greens and toss.  Whisk the dressing together in a pourable container like a measuring cup: olive oil, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Set aside to dress just before serving.

set salad and dressing aside

Now the falafel patties.  Mix the dry ingredients (garbanzo flour, salt, baking soda, cumin, coriander, garlic and onion powders) in a medium bowl.

mix dry ingredients

Add lemon juice and hot water, stir until combined and let rest for 10 minutes.

add wet and let rest

While the batter rests, make the hummus.  Combine all the ingredients (garbanzos, garlic, lemon juice, chili powder) in a food processor except the bean liquid.  Process until smooth, add enough bean liquid to achieve the texture you like, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place in a bowl, garnish with chopped parsley and set aside.

hummus

Back to the falafel.  Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Drop batter by tablespoons into the pan and flatten slightly.  Work in batches–the pan I used was big enough to only have two batches–about 14 patties total.

drop by tbsp and flatten

I used a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop–makes this process even easier!

use a cokie scoop

Turn, cooking each side to a pretty golden brown.

fry til golden on both sides

Heat pitas in the microwave, toaster, or grill them (yummy!).  Cut into wedges.

Dress the fattoush and assemble the rest of the feast.

the feast

Eat each thing separately, or dip the pita wedges in the hummus, or open the wedges and spread with hummus, adding a falafel patty and make little sandwiches….or any combination.  Go with your yum.

yum2Relax with some minty iced tea and have a comfortably casual and yummy feast.

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I cut the salad ingredients in half and ended up using only part of the halved dressing.  Flavor the hummus to your liking–wasabi (thanks, Chris!) is awesome, smoked paprika gives a milder heat, roasted red pepper is classic.

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, recipe, salad, Vegetarian

Baked Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

I know where the clearance areas are in every store I usually shop.  I love to find little bargains, sometimes things I need anyway, and sometime things I didn’t know I needed.  Last weekend I found a discounted package of prepared polenta, basil-garlic polenta–yum!  It’s been hanging out in the fridge, waiting for inspiration.  Inspiration struck from the memory of a dish I’d had at a local restaurant, a gnocchi with mushroom sauce.  Polenta could be the gnocchi, right?  Yes!  Earthy, rich, perfect balance of flavors.  Quick and easy enough for a weeknight, thanks to the prepared polenta.  I’ll be making this again….

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Such a luxurious dish from such basic ingredients.  Serves two as an entree, 6-8 as an appetizer.

ingredients

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used creminis and shitakes)
  • salt and pepper (I used truffle salt–really ups the mushroomy yum factor if you can find some)
  • veggie broth for sauteing
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2-3 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • a dollop of plain soy yogurt
  • a few grinds of dried porchini mushrooms, optional  (My wonderful sis-in-law found this porchini grinder on Amazon and sent it to me.  Adds a depth of flavor to the sauce, but still optional.)
  • 1 (18 oz) package of prepared polenta

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon baking mat, or spray with baking spray.

Cut polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Lay on the prepared  baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

slice polenta and bake

Meanwhile, start some veggie broth heating in a large skillet.  Mince the garlic and add it to the pan.

saute garlic

Clean and slice the mushrooms.  Shitake caps can be stacked and sliced.  (Shitake stems are woody, discard them or save them to make mushroom broth later.)

clean and slice mushrooms

Add mushrooms to the pan when the garlic becomes aromatic.  Add salt, pepper and dried porchini, if using, to taste.  Saute until softened.

add mushrooms

Deglaze the pan with the wine, stirring to pick up any yummies sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Add parsley and simmer to reduce the wine by half.

add wine and parsley

Add milk and stir, bringing the sauce back up to a simmer.  Stir occasionally as the sauce reduces and thickens.  Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings as needed.

add milk

Stir in a dollop of yogurt to finish the sauce.

add yogurt

Place polenta slices on plates and spoon the mushroom sauce over the top.  Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top and voila!  (A sprinkle of parmesan would be perfect!)

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Simple, earthy, date-night-worthy.  Perhaps even Valentine’s-worthy.   It’s that kind of yummy and decadent. With as low-fat as this dish is, you’ll have plenty of calories to spend on a killer dessert–bonus!  Check out a few from Somethin’ Yummy!

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Holiday foods, recipe, Vegetarian