Friday, December 28, 2018

Sweet Pea Hummus

It seems like a good time of year to have some healthy, tasty snacks around the house.  We enjoyed this dip with an assortment of raw veggies that we chopped and kept ready in the fridge.  The purple radishes from the farmer's market were especially good for dipping.  You can adjust the amount of oil you add based on how creamy you like your hummus.

Sweet Pea Hummus
Food52 cookbook

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Smoked Tempeh

Smoked Tempeh can be eaten as a side, tossed in salads or layered on a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and avocado.  I guess what I’m saying is, it's very versatile, don’t limit yourself!

Smoky Tempeh
Food52 Vegan Cookbook

2            tablespoons tamari
1            tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1            tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
1            teaspoon olive oil
1            teaspoon smoked paprika
8            ounces tempeh, sliced in 1/4” strips

Put the tamari, vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil and paprika in a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk until well blended.  Put the sliced tempeh in an 8” square baking pan.  Pour in the marinade and gently turn the tempeh until evenly coated.  Cover and refrigerate for 3-8 hours.

You can either bake or fry when ready.  If baking, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the tempeh on the lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

If frying, add a few teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and fry the tempeh until golden on both sides. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Thanksgiving Savory Lentil Loaf

A friend served this Lentil Loaf up as part of their Thanksgiving dinner this year and passed the recipe on to me.  I always like receiving and trying new recipes that people are kind enough to share, it's usually a win. When making this again, I plan to dice my veggies much smaller.  As you can see in the photo, they are a little overpowering.  We served with vegan gravy but a little extra glaze sauce might be nice on the side.

Thanksgiving Savory Lentil Loaf
Chef: Amber Poupore; Cacao Tree Café
1 loaf
total time:  1 hour 40 minutes

Lentil Loaf

1            cup cry lentils (green or French petit)
2 and 1/2   Cups water or vegetable broth (low sodium)
1-2        tablespoons sea salt for sautéing vegetables  (I used less)
4            garlic cloves, minced
1            medium yellow onion, finely diced
1            medium sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
2            celery stalk, finely diced
3/4         cup rolled oats
1/2         cup oat flour or  besan flour (garbanzo bean flour)
1            heaping teaspoon dried thyme
1/2         heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1/2         teaspoon each garlic powder & onion powder
3            bay leaves
3            tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds)
1/3         cup water (6 T)


3            tablespoons organic ketchup
1            tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1            tablespoon maple syrup


1.  Thoroughly rinse lentils.  In a large pot add 2 and 1/2 cups water (or broth) wit lentils and 3 bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once done, remove the lid and set aside to cool.  Then lentils will thicken.

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3.  In a small bowl, combine flaxseed meal and 1/3 cup water, set aside for at least 10 minutes, preferably in the refrigerator.

4.  Prepare vegetables.  Saute seat salt, garlic, onion, sweet potato and celery for 5-7 minutes on medium heat.  Add spices, mixing well to incorporate and keep cooking on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

5.  Using a food processor or blender, mix 3/4 of cooked lentils and any lentil stock in the pan that was not absorbed by the lentils.

6.  In a mixing owl, combine sautéed vegetables, pureed lentils and whole lentils, oats and oat flour and the flaxseed mix.  Salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

7.  Place mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, leaving it overlapping for easy removal later.  Press down firmly, filling in along the edges too.  Gently tap pan on the counter to ensure that the loaf has settled completely into the pan.

8.  Bake uncovered in oven for 45 – 50 minutes.  Allow to cool 15-20 minutes, remove from pan and slice.  The loaf can be refrigerated and reheated for leftovers for up to 6 days.


Prepare your glaze by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl, mix until incorporated.

Spread evenly over the top of the loaf.  (The glaze is not needed to bake the loaf)
   ****I put on around 10 minutes before baking ended

Friday, December 14, 2018

Dijon Scalloped Potatoes

I’m always looking for new side recipes and I love the addition of sweet potatoes in this dish.  The added sweetness goes nicely with the salty, cracker topping.

Dijon Scalloped Potatoes
Carolyn Putnam – adapted recipe
Makes 8 servings

2/3         cup chopped onion
2            teaspoon canola oil
1            can (14 1/2 oz.) vegetable broth
6            oz. vegan cream cheese, cubed
1            tablespoon Dijon mustard
3            medium russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2            medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 to 2 cups crushed vegan crackers
3            tablespoons vegan parmesan cheese
2            tablespoons vegan butter, melted
2            teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a dutch oven, sauté onion in oil until tender.   Reduce heat to medium, stir in broth, vegan cream cheese and mustard until blended.  Remove from heat.  Stir in potatoes.

Transfer to a 13 x 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.  In a small bowl, combine crushed crackers, vegan parmesan and vegan butter; sprinkle over the top.

Bake, uncovered, 50-60 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with parsley. 
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Vegan Sweet Russian Cabbage Soup

The perfect soup for this time of year.  Pick up some cabbage from your local Farmer's Market and get cookin'.

Vegan Sweet Russian Cabbage Soup
Adapted from Allrecipes recipe – Ron Shepherd
6-8 servings

1            pkg. ground Beef-Less crumbles (trader Joes) or any other meat substitute
1            14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1            8 oz. can tomato sauce
4            cubes vegetable bouillon
2            medium carrots, shredded  (I cut into small dices)
1            onion, chopped
3            cloves garlic, finely chopped
2            tablespoons white vinegar
1/2         cup white sugar
1 and 1/2            teaspoon salt
1/2         teaspoon ground black pepper
2            quarts water, divided
1            head cabbage, cored and cut into small wedges


Oil large soup pot.  Add onion and sauté until soft.  Add garlic and carrots, sauté a few minutes.  Add the Beef-Less crumbles, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and cook until everything is well incorporated. 

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce,  and give a good stir.  I like to cook a bit to get all the flavors into the crumbles before adding more liquid.

Pour in 1 quart of water and add the vegetable bouillon.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.

Pour in another quart of water, add cabbage and return to a slow boil and simmer for approximately 25 minutes, until cabbage is tender. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Homemade Vegan Mac and Cheese Powder

This is a great spice mix to have on hand for last minute Mac & Cheese.  Of course you can always use store bought vegan cheese, but this is a nice alternative.  I added a pinch of red pepper to the spice mix for a bit of heat and when I made the Mac & Cheese, I couldn’t help but add a little vegan cream cheese I picked up at Trader Joe’s to make it extra thick.

Homemade Vegan Mac & Cheese Powder
It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken – Vegan Blog

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Greens and Quinoa Salad with Currants and Pecans

Greens and Quinoa Salad with Currants and Pecans

This salad can be made with just Quinoa but we liked mixing the greens with a few dollops of Quinoa mixed in.  We dressed the salad with Agave Mustard Vinaigrette but you can just use olive oil and lemon juice if you want to go basic.

1/2       cup cooked Quinoa  (more if not using greens)
            mixed greens
            Persian cucumber
            green onions, diced
            dried cranberries
            pecans  (candy if like sweet)
            vegan Feta  (we used Violife Vegan feta) the texture is softer than dairy Feta

Agave Mustard Vinaigrette
makes 1/2 cup

·       1 clove garlic, minced
·       1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
·       1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, (coarse or smooth)
·       1/2 teaspoon agave
·       1/8 teaspoon salt
·       Freshly ground pepper, to taste
·       1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil

·       Whisk garlic, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Vegan Banana Bread

Since I never plan in advance to make Banana Bread, I’m always looking on the internet or through cookbooks for recipes that match the ingredients I have in my pantry.  This recipe is nice and simple, the only changes I made were adding more walnuts and a good handful of yellow raisins – a first for me.

Vegan Banana Bread

Friday, November 23, 2018

Roasted Carrot Hummus

After a full day of eating too many carbs, I thought Carrot Hummus sounded like a light and fresh snack to have on hand.  It's a nice twist on regular hummus and can even be used as a sandwich spread.

Roasted Carrot Hummus
Giada De Launrentiis

6 servings

8            ounces carrots, peeled and cut into 1” pieces (I used about 4 small)
3            cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2            tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
            Kosher salt
1            15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2            tablespoons lemon juice
1/8            teaspoon cayenne pepper
            chips or crackers for dipping

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

On a small rimmed baking sheet, toss together the carrots, garlic, 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cover with aluminum foil and roast until the carrots and garlic are both tender and soft, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

Place the carrots, garlic and chickpeas in a food processor.  Pulse to combine and break apart slightly.  Add the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Puree until smooth and an even pale orange.

Chips or crackers for dipping.

***Add a little water or more oil if you want it smoother.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Everything Spiced Nuts

Pecans, Walnuts, Cashews and Almonds were the stars of our mix.  The almonds and pecans were our favorites because they became nice and crunchy after baking.  Maybe make a batch of sweet nuts to go along side of the Everything Spiced Nuts, a little yin and yang.

Everything Spiced Nuts
Food network magazine – adapted

1            flax egg (1 Tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water)
                           I’ve also read 1 T. to 2.5 T. water

4            cups mixed nuts
2            tablespoons Everything Seasoning (Trader Joe’s carries) or

Make Flax Egg (or other egg replacer) and set aside to thicken

In a large bowl, add mixed nuts, Flax Egg Replacer and seasoning.  Toss to coat all nuts. 

Spread on an oiled baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees, stirring once, until toasted, about 25 minutes.  Let cool.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash

For a fancier way to serve the Squash, try cutting it into slices, assemble on a pretty platter and drizzle with a little more Maple Syrup.  We couldn't wait to dig into ours so we enjoyed them right from the shell, no shame here.

Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash
Ina Garten – adapted
Serves 6

3          acorn squash, unpeeled, halved through the stem, and seeded
3          tablespoons unsalted vegan butter, diced (or salted - just adjust seasoning)
3          tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus extra for serving
            good olive oil
            kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
            flaked sea salt for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Place the squash, cut sides up, on a sheet pan.  Place 1/2 tablespoon vegan butter and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup in the cavity of each squash.  Brush the cut sides with olive oil and sprinkle the squash with 3 teaspoons kosher salt (I used way less) and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Roast for 40 – 60 minutes, depending on the size of the squash, until tender when pierced with a small knife.

Place the squash on a serving platter.  If the halves are too large for one serving, cut each piece in half through the stem.  Drizzle lightly with extra maple syrup, sprinkle with sea salt and serve hot.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Dill Pickle Soup

Someone posted a video of Dill Pickle Soup being made and even though I’ve never made it or heard of it before, it sounded interesting. I was hoping it would taste as good as it looked and it did not disappoint.  In fact, it exceeded my expectations.  Cooking note:  Before I added the diced pickles, I used an immersion blender to break-up some of the potatoes (I think I diced too big) but it is not necessary.  Pureeing some of the soup made it like a thick chowder – which I liked.

Dill Pickle Soup
Serves 8   (adapted recipe)

·  5 – 1/2 cups vegetable broth
·  1-3/4 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
·  2 cups chopped carrots, smaller dice
·  1 cup chopped dill pickles (smaller dice ~ about 3 large whole dills)
·  1/2 cup vegan butter
·  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
·  1 cup vegan sour cream
·  1/4 cup water
·  2 cups dill pickle juice*
·  1-1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
·  1/2 teaspoon table salt
·  1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
·  1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
·  Optional garnishes: sliced dill pickles, fresh dill and black pepper

1.    In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and vegan butter. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. ***I pureed a bit of the soup at this point to make extra thick but was not in the original recipe***   Add pickles and continue to boil.
2.    In a medium bowl, stir together flour, vegan sour cream and water, making a paste. Vigorously whisk vegan sour cream mixture (2 Tablespoons at a time) into soup. (This will also break up some of your potatoes, which is okay. You might see some initial little balls of flour form, but between the whisking and boiling, all will disappear. Don't panic.)
3.    Add pickle juice, Old Bay, salt (*see below), pepper and cayenne. Cook 5 more minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately.
4.    *All pickle juice is not created equal. Some is saltier than others. Taste your soup after adding the pickle juice and final seasonings. It's possible you will not need any salt or would prefer more or less.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Potstickers (Dumplings)

This is the first time I’ve made potstickers and I thought it would be much more difficult and time consuming but I found it to be quite therapeutic.  If you are pressed for time, just make the filling the day before and keep refrigerated.  I included a link to the original recipe but keep in mind I veganized mine by using vegan cream cheese and because I had some butternut squash hanging around, I added that to the diced sweet potato when roasting.  I also sautéed some onion and garlic until very soft and added it to the mashed mixture.  My mixture made approximately 23 potstickers.

As far as dipping sauces go, I made two that I found on-line.  One was vegan sour cream mixed with garlic chili sauce and the other was a soy/sugar/vinegar/garlic mixture.  Both good!

Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Potstickers (Dumplings)

Dipping recipes:

Monday, November 5, 2018

Kale Caesar Salad with Almond Vinaigrette

What a delicious salad and perfect for Fall.  The dressing is amazing and with the addition of ground almonds, it makes for an extra creamy finished product.  We like to mix our greens so we combined Curly and Russian kale, both purchased at the Farmer’s market.  The Russian kale is soft and tender, giving the salad a nice balance of texture.

Kale Caesar Salad with Almond Vinaigrette
Chef Antoni Porowski – adapted
Servies 4

2            6 oz. bunches kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
1            large heirloom tomato, cut into 1/4” wedges
1 and 1/4            cups sliced toasted almonds, divided
2            tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2            tablespoons Agave
1            tablespoon chopped shallot (from one small shallot)
1            teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1            teaspoon Dijon mustard
1            teaspoon kosher salt
1/4         teaspoon black pepper
1            medium garlic clove
1/3         cup olive oil

Toss together sliced kale, tomato wedges and 1 cup of the almonds in a large bowl, set aside.

Place vinegar, Agave, shallot, thyme, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic and remaining 1/4 cup almonds in a blender, blend until smooth, about 45 seconds to 1 minute.  Slowly drizzle in oil, blending until dressing is fully combined.

Add almond dressing to kale mixture, toss well to coat.