Tag Archives: tomatoes

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

Meaty Beany Chili

My fav goddess of all things vegan, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, recently published a new cookbook.  Naturally, I felt I NEEDED to buy it, so I did (with a little help from a timely coupon from Barnes and Noble).  Her cookbooks have become the go-tos of my journey into vegan land; great recipes that come together quickly and easily, peppered with Isa’s entertaining brand of snark.  What’s not to love?!  Make this recipe and then trot on out or click into your favorite bookstore to buy a copy of Isa Does It.  You’ll be glad you did!

On with the recipe then.  This is now my go-to chili.  Really meaty without even a touch of real or vegan meat.  Warming.  Spicy.  Satisfying.  You can make it in a crockpot.  Bazinga!  Have a look and see for yourself:

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I altered the original recipe ever so slightly–I only had a 14-oz can of tomatoes, so subbed in some cherry tomatoes I froze from last summer, subbed pinto beans for the kidney beans, and used No Chicken broth to saute the onion, pepper and garlic, as well as in place of the water called for in the original.

ingredients

  • enough No Chicken Broth or Veggie Broth to saute
  • 1 yellow onion, diced medium
  • 1 green pepper, seeded, diced medium
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, thinly sliced (seeded, if you want it less spicy)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Several dashes fresh black pepper
  • 1/8th teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth (plus extra as needed)
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes plus 2 cups frozen, pureed tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz can)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz can)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Seems like an intimidating list of ingredients, but fear not.  You’ll just methodically measure things out and pretty much dump things into a slow cooker!

First, saute the onion, green pepper and jalapeno until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes or so.

onions and peppers

Add the garlic, and continue to saute until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.

add garlic

Dump the saute into your crock pot along with everything else on the list. Give it a stir, cover, set the cooker on low, and leave it alone for 8 hours–lentils should be tender.  You may want to adjust seasonings after cooking, and possibly add a bit more broth to thin as needed.

saute in the crock pot

add the rest

give it a stir

Voila!  Get home from work, your house smells amazing and you get to enjoy the yummiest chili ever for dinner!

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This is a hearty chili that will not only satisfy, but take the chill out of a winter day.

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You can also make this in a pot on the stove–see the original recipe for instructions.

 

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

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

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

Creamy Tomato Soup

One of the stars of our impromptu potluck the other night was this soup.  Earlier in the day, I decided to make a vegan asparagus quiche, and asked my blog’s Facebook fans what they thought I should serve with it.  Tomato soup was suggested, and I decided to look for a low-fat, vegan recipe.  I found one on this funky blog, Foodie Fiasco, written by a 14 year-old!  That little chica has skillz!  It was quick and easy to make and killer-yummy.  We ran out of soup before we ran out of the desire to eat more of it!  I made it pretty much exactly as written, and wouldn’t change a thing.

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Assemble a few pantry staples and you’ll have this savory soup in no time!

ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 average-sized cloves)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used two 140z cans, one of which was fire roasted–yum!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup almond milk  (I used light soy)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, saute onion in 2-3 TBSP veggie broth over medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute.

saute onions and garlic

Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, and  cider vinegar.  Bring to a boil.

add tomatoes and spices

Stir in broth and non-dairy milk.  Bring to a boil again.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

add broth and milk

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired consistency.  Alternately, you could blend in a regular blender in small batches, being especially careful with the hot soup.  Let the soup simmer a while longer for the flavors to really blend.

blend til smooth

Serve it up with a slice of quiche, a sandwich, a salad or just get a big ol’ bowl and make it a meal!  Try this soup just once, and you won’t want canned tomato soup ever again!

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, lunch, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian