Friday, November 30, 2012

Black Bean Lasagna

I was pretty surprised, well actually amazed, to find a healthy lasagna recipe from Trisha Yearwood who is known for her calorie rich southern cooking -- so I had to try it.  I always make Tofu Ricotta for my recipes and find it to be creamy and very flavorful.  The sauce was a bit thick so I just poured a little water into the tomato can and added it to the sauce.  Beans, tomatoes, noodles, tofu cheese -- what's not to like!

Black Bean Lasagna
Trisha Yearwood 

1                  28 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I used regular)
1                  12 oz. can tomato paste
1                  tablespoon dried oregano leaves
2                  teaspoons sale, plus more for pasta
1/2               teaspoon black pepper
1/4                teaspoon garlic powder
1                  small onion, finely chopped
2                  15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
8                  ounces lasagna noodles
1                  recipe Tofu Ricotta, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a large saucepan, combine the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, onions and black beans.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce he heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.  ***I had to add some liquid to the sauce because it was really thick.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the lasagna noodles and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain the noodles well.

Spread 1 cup of the prepared sauce in a 9 x 13 x 2” baking pan. Make three layers of each of the noodles, sauce and Tofu Ricotta.  End with the sauce and make sure the noodles are completely covered or they will dry out during baking..  ***I added a bunch of little butter pats and a sprinkling of soy parmesan to the top.  Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered.  Allow the dish to stand for 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Tofu Ricotta:
1/4              cup raw cashews, finely ground  (I soaked the cashews for 10 minutes to soften)
14               ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4              cup nutritional yeast
3                 tablespoons olive oil
1                 tablespoon dried basil
                   salt and pepper

Add the cashews to a food processor and grind them.  Then crumble in the tofu, and add the yeast, olive oil and basil.  Season with salt and pepper.  To press tofu, drain any liquid from the block of tofu by folding paper towels around tofu on a plate and setting something heavy on top –wrought iron skillet.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mini Apple Pies

This was a great accompaniment to the Pumpkin Pie I made for Thanksgiving dinner and easy to transport! We thought they tasted the best served warm but they are also good cold and would be a nice addition to an appetizer table.

Mini Apple Pies

10-12 mini pies

1            vegan pie crust (rolled out - or you can make your own favorite crust)
4            cups of small diced apples (3-4)
6            tablespoons flour
3/4         cup sugar (or less)
2            heaping teaspoons of cinnamon
1/4         teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
2-3         tablespoons soy margarine (chilled)
              melted soy margarine, enough to brush each pie

Cut up to 4 cups of apples into small 1/2” bits.  Mix apples with the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir until all the apple bits are nicely coated.

Unroll piecrust (or rollout your homemade) and cut circles out (10-12), a wide mouth mason jar ring works well.  (use left over pie crust for little strips on top of filling).

Prepare your muffin tins then line with the piecrust circles.  Fill each crust with apple mixture and push the crusts down the rest of the way.  Fill until slightly mounded.

Put a dab of the soy margarine on each mini pie.  Cover with left over dough in strips or little shapes.

Brush with melted soy margarine and bake at 400 degrees for 18 – 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them – maybe check at around 12 minutes.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fresh Rolls with Dipping Sauce

I figured I'd post a nice light and healthy dish for the day after Thanksgiving.  Maybe make it for lunch, then dive back into Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner!

You can get as creative as you would like when it comes to filling these fresh rolls and also serve with a few different sauces, especially if serving at a party.  Blissful Bites cookbook by Christy Morgan is a great little Vegan cookbook with a wide variety of recipes.  I've made several dishes from it already.

Fresh Rolls
Adapted from Christy Morgan - Blissful Bites CB:  Asian Rice Paper Rolls

Rice Paper for soft rolls
Warm Water

Red cabbage, thinly sliced
Carrots, matchsticks
Pan fried Tempeh (in oil and a few dashed of soy sauce)
Soy sauce for cooking Tempeh
Green onion
Avocado, slice
Thin rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions

Almond bliss Dipping Sauce
1/2         cup unsalted creamy almond butter
3            tablespoons tamari
3            tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2            tablespoons brown rice syrup
1            teaspoon grated ginger
1/4         water, as necessary, to obtain desired consistency

Cut Tempeh into thin slices.  Add oil into sauté pan and fry tempeh.  Add a few dashes of soy sauce – if using.

Big bowl of warm water to dip rice paper in, a cutting board or plate to create rolls on.

Dip the entire piece of rice paper in the water, then pulling it out right away.  If you let it sit in water, it will get too soft.  The rice paper will soften as you work with it.
Lay the rice paper on board or plate and layer in ingredients toward the bottom side closest to you in the middle, leaving  a couple of inches clear on either side of the veggies.  Start rolling, holding the filling in place as you make a tight roll.  Roll all the way up and set on serving dish.  Repeat until all ingredients are used.

Whisk  together sauce ingredients until well combined.

General Tso’s Sauce
3            tablespoons soy sauce
3            tablespoons sugar
2            tablespoons rice wine

Whisk all ingredients together.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Smoothie

This is a tasty, sweet and decadent smoothie!  Just adjust the almond milk and sweetener to your liking.

Pumpkin Smoothie
(adapted from Ree Drummond recipe)

1            can (15 Ounce) pumpkin puree
3            cups soy or almond milk
3/4         cup Vanilla Soy Yogurt
1            banana (not in original recipe)
              a few dashes of Cinnamon
2            teaspoons Agave or Maple Syrup

Place the pumpkin puree into a freezer-safe container and freeze for a few hours or until frozen solid.

To make the smoothie, add soy/nut milk, and soy yogurt and banana to a blender.  Drop in the frozen pumpkin puree and bled until the frozen filling is completely pulverized.  Add a few dashes of Cinnamon and Agave or Maple Syrup to taste.

Add more liquid as needed to get it to the consistency you’d like.  The banana will thicken up the smoothie.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

General Tso's Sauce over Roasted Cauliflower

I think Kevin could eat this sauce if it were poured over cardboard but I thought I’d treat him and use it as a dressing over Roasted Cauliflower – it’s sooooo good!  Some restaurants will bread and fry the cauliflower but I think it’s even better au naturel.

General Tso’s Sauce over Roasted Cauliflower

3            tablespoons soy sauce
3            tablespoons sugar
2            tablespoons rice wine
1 1/2      tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1            tablespoon chili paste
1 1/2      teaspoons cornstarch

Mix all ingredients in a sauté pan.  Cook at medium temperature until thickened.

Roasted Cauliflower

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven proof baking dish or baking pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper and mix until all florets are covered.

Cook until tender and brown on top, approximately 20 minutes.

Serve with the General Tso’s Sauce drizzled over florets.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Creamy Lima Bean Soup

I have a big jar of dry Lima beans in my pantry, also known as butter beans, but I never know what to do with them until I discovered this recipe.   It may not be the most glamorous sounding soup but it is packed with fiber and protein and surprisingly low in calories.  Very soothing to the soul.

Creamy Lima Bean Soup
Dining With Friends Cook Book

1 1/2      cups dry lima beans, thoroughly washed
6            cups vegetable broth
              Sesame oil
2            cups finely diced onions
1            cup peeled and coarsely grated carrots
2            tablespoons chopped garlic
2            tablespoons olive oil
1/4         teaspoons olive oil
1/4         teaspoon ground pepper
1/2         cup finely diced green bell pepper
1            tablespoon seal salt or less
1/4         teaspoon ground coriander
              Finely shredded scallions for garnish

To prepare the beans, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer in a large saucepan and add the beans.  Immediately remove from the heat, let the mixture cool and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  ***I put the beans and broth in my crock pot for a bit so I had to cook less the next day.
Cook the beans in the soaking broth covered over medium heat about 1 1/2 hours,  until tender (since I precooked in crock pot, I didn’t have to cook on stove for that long).

To make the soup, sauté the onions, carrots, and garlic in a 2-quart saucepan with the olive oil and pepper over medium heat until the onions are translucent.  Add a few drops of sesame oil.

In a blender, puree 2 cups of cooked lima beans with 2 cups of the soup’s broth.  Add this puree to the sautéed vegetables.  Add the remaining cup of cooked lima beans, keeping them whole.  Then add the bell peppers, salt and coriander to the bean mixture and cook for a few minutes to blend the spices.

Serve with a garnish of finely shredded scallions.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vegan Ranch Dressing

We've been on a big salad kick since Kevin has been hitting the Farmer's Market weekly. He's been bring home all different kinds of lettuce, fresh sprouts and radishes.   Ranch dressing is my all time favorite dressing next to Tahini Dill so I was happy to find a recipe that is extremely easy to make.  We make a big batch and store in the fridge in a Mason jar -- pretty and practical.

Vegan Ranch Dressing
Web:   Jolinda Hackette

1            cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4         cup soy or nut milk
1            teaspoon garlic powder
1/4         teaspoon salt
1            teaspoon onion powder
1/4         teaspoon black pepper
2            teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
1            tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2         teaspoon fresh chopped dill or 1/4 teaspoon dried

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth