Creamy Buffalo Chicken Salad Dip aka Desperation Dip (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: approximately 1 1/2 cups

You know those weeks: full to the brim at work and in the evenings and bracketed by similarly packed weekends of entertaining, yet you invited new friends for Friday happy hour in a rare moment of downtime. Then, Friday arrives, and you realize you have nothing more substantial to serve them than cashews and olives.

This is the dip for THOSE times. On our lunch buffet at school this week was a Buffalo Chicken Salad, creamy, not chunky. The staff prepares inspired vegan food for me, but this was not and I abstained. But I have been fantasizing about it, so I dashed into the grocery on the way home, picking up the ingredients along with everything we needed to host Bob’s father’s 90th(!) birthday party and his sister’s 60th–they were born on the same day–on Sunday. Whew!

Please enjoy even when you aren’t harried or maybe especially then:

1/4 to 1/3 cup diced red onion

4 celery hearts, cut into 1-inch chunks

8 ounces chick-un substitute (I use Tofurky Sesame-Garlic Chick’n)

2 to 3 tablespoons mayo (I use Walden Farms no-calorie mayo, but use what you love)

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1 tablespoon wing sauce or Sriracha

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Optional garnishes: sprig of herbs, green or black olive, crumbles of plant-based blue cheese or blue cheese dressing

Accompaniments: celery sticks, cucumber slices, crackers, or sturdy chips

Place onion and celery in food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. Add chick-un and pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until mixture comes together with a creamy-course texture. Cover and refrigerate. To serve, garnish as desired and serve with vegetables, crackers, and chips.

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A Luscious Crossing of Cultures: West African-Inspired Lentils with Middle Eastern-Inspired Chickpeas (vegan &plant-based)

West African-Inspired Red Lentils with Middle Eastern-Inspired Chickpeas

Yield: 4 main dish servings

This magical crossing of cultures is deeply flavorful and deeply satisfying.

Note:  Zaatar, sumac, and pomegranate molasses are available at Middle Eastern grocery stores and online.

West African Red Lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 medium-large onion, peeled and diced
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Sea salt
1″ knob fresh finger, peeled and finely grated 
1 tablespoon Berber spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Half of 15.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 pound red lentils, rinsed and drained
3 cups vegetable broth
1-15.5 oz can Coconut milk, light or regular
Middle Eastern Chickpeas (recipe follows)
Garnish suggestions:  Roasted and lightly salted cashew halves and pieces,  vegan sour cream or substitute (I love Tofutti’s Vegetable Cucumber Dip, sometimes available at veganessentials.com), olive tapenade, olives, cucumber slices

In Dutch oven or a large soup pot with heavy bottom, heat olive oil over medium. Add onion and a pinch of sea salt, and saute,  stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic and ginger and saute about 30 seconds more.   Add spices and fire roasted tomatoes and heat through, stirring occasionally.  Add lentils and vegetable stock and cook approximately 12 minutes or until lentils are soft and most of moisture is absorbed or evaporated. Stir in coconut milk and heat until simmering.  Adjust salt and other seasonings to your taste. Serve topped with Middle Eastern Chickpeas, garnished as desired.

Middle Eastern Chickpeas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 medium-large onion, thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Sea salt
1″ knob fresh finger, peeled and finely grated 
1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
Half of 15.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon zaatar
1 teaspoon sumac
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

In large skillet with heavy bottom, heat olive oil over medium. Add onion and a pinch of sea salt, and saute,  stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic and ginger and saute about 30 seconds more.   Add chickpeas, fire roasted tomatoes, and spices, and simmer together for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.   Stir in pomegranate molasses and heat through.  Adjust salt and other seasonings to your taste.

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West African Peanut Stew with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, & Spinach (vegan & plant-based)

West African Peanut Stew with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas & Spinach (vegan & plant-based)

With temperatures falling, I find this, my newest recipe, absolutely addicting. It checks all my autumnal culinary boxes and I hope yours.

Yield: approximately 8 servings

1to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Approximately 21 ounces peeled and cubed butternut squash
1-8 oz can diced tomatoes with juice (I used a variety with cilantro and jalapeno)
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
4 cups semi-firmly packed baby spinach
Garnishes: Fresh cilantro, whole or chopped roasted and lightly salted peanuts, and finally diced bell pepper (I like a tri-color blend)

In Dutch oven or large stockpot, heat oil over medium to medium high. Add onion and sea salt and saute, stirring frequently, for a few minutes or until onion is softened. Add garlic and saute, stirring, for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add spices and butternut squash and sante, still stirring frequently, for several minutes or until squash is softened and just starting to break down. Add remaining ingredients, except garnishes, and simmer gently until thick and creamy and flavors are married. Add spinach and stir until wilted and completely incorporated. Serve topped with cilantro, peanuts, and and bell peppers, as desired.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #plantbasedbutternutsquash #veganbutternutsquash #plantbasedpeanut stew #veganpeanutstew #plantbasedwestafrican #veganwestafrican

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Queso Blanco: Warm, Luscious Cheese Dip (vegan, plant-based, GF)

Vegan and plant-based queso blanco is typically made with cashews and potatoes, but mine is made with cashews and cauliflower for fewer calories and loads of nutrition. Served with plantain chips, it is my new obsession.

Yield: approximately 4 cups

12 ounces cauliflower florets
2 cups raw cashews
4 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin Juice of 1 medium lemon
2 tablespoons brine from a jar pickled jalapeños
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons white miso
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4.5 ounce can chopped green chilies with juice
Garnish: Fresh cilantro and finely diced bell pepper (I like tri-color)
Accompaniment: plantain or tortilla-style chips; also delicious served over Mexican dishes like enchiladas, Quesadillas, and nachos

Place cauliflower, cashews, water, and sea salt in a medium saucepan and gently boil until very tender and all but about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water has evaporated.  Carefully transfer to food processor or high speed blender and add all remaining ingredients except green chilies.  Process for several minutes or until very smooth.  Rinse out saucepan, pour in cauliflower mixture, green chilies and juice, and heat through for a couple minutes over medium or medium-low heat, stirring frequently.  Garnish with bell peppers and cilantro, and serve with chips or spooned over the Mexican dish of your choice.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #plantbasedcheesedip #vegancheesedip #plantbasedcheesesauce #vegancheesesauce #plantbasedquesoblanco #veganquesoblanco

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Cheese Grits & Sausage Casserole with Spinach (vegan/plant-based)

This luscious casserole would be just as at home at a Southern style dinner on the grounds as it would on a fancy brunch or dinner party table. It just depends on how you serve it: disposable foil pan or fine china with a garnish.

2 cups unsweetened soy milk

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup stone ground grits

4 tablespoons plant-based butter, divided (I like Miyoko’s)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Amimos

1 1/2 cups grated plant-based cheddar

1 small onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 pound plant-based sausage, crumbled or diced depending on type (I like Gimme Lean for this)

3 to 4 cups loosely packed baby spinach

Optional garnish: chopped parsley, pecans, and tiny or diced tomatoes

*Preheat oven to 350゚. Spray an 8 or 9 inch casserole dish with nonstick spray. In a medium saucepan, bring unsweetened soy milk and vegetable stock to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in grits and 1 tablespoon butter along with salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper and Liquid Aminos. Cook, stirring frequently, using a whisk if necessary to break up lumps, for 15 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to keep at a very low simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter, add onion, bell pepper, and a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring frequently until soft. Lower heat if necessary. Add sausage, breaking up as needed, and cook a few minutes, stirring very frequently, until sausage begins to brown. Turn off heat.

Stir cheese and spinach into grits mixture. Cover to facilitate wilting and melting. Pour grits mixture over sausage mixture and stir well to combine. Transfer to prepared pan, smooth top, sprinkle with remaining half cup cheese, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Garnish if desired and serve immediately or cool, cover, and refrigerate.

*If you prefer, you can stir all of cheese into grits and not bake casserole.

#vegan #plantbased #grits #vegancasserole #plantbasedcasserole #veganfoodporn #plantbasedfoodporn #veganrecipes #plantbasedrecipes #veganbrunch #plantbasedbrunch #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebool #southernvegan vegansofvirginia #veganfoodshare #plantbasedfoodshare

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Ridiculously Rich Red Bean Brownies (vegan/plant-based & gf)

As you peruse recipes for black bean brownies and chick pea blondies–including “best ever” recipes here on The Blooming Platter–you may have asked yourself if you could make rich, fudgy brownies from heart-healthy dark red kidney beans. The answer is a resounding yes!

Yield: 8 to 16 brownies

1-15.5 ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained, 11/2 tablespoons liquid reserved

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup oat flour (I suspect other non-wheat flours would also work)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

1/2 cup pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8″ square pan with nonstick spray, line with a 7″ piece of parchment paper or foil allowing it to come up the sides and fold over the edges, spray again, and set aside. In a food processor, process all ingredients’ including reserved liquid, except chocolate chips and nuts’ until very smooth. Remove blade and stir in about 1/3 cup each chips and nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan, gently smoothing top, and sprinkle with remaining chips and nuts. Bake 30 minutes or until top is set. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Serve immediately or store tightly covered.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #plantbasedbrownies #veganbrownies #glutenfreebrownies #redbeanbrownies

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Best Ever Chickpea Blondies with Chocolate Chips & Nuts (vegan/plant-based, GF)

These moist bars slice beautifully and taste even better. Based on a recipe from Veggie World Recipes with a few swaps and one addition, they are everything a Blondie should be.

Yield: 8 to 16 bars

1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, 1 1/2 tablespoons juice reserved

1/4 cup oat flour, almond flour, etc.

1/2 cup pecan butter (can substitute almond or peanut butter, bur pecan is best!)

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup broken pecans or other nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ square pan with nonstick spray, line with a 7″ wide strip of parchment paper or foil, spray again, and set aside. In large food processor, process all ingredients except chips and nuts until smooth. Stir in about 1/3 cup each chips and nuts, spread evenly into pan, sprinkle remaining chips and nuts over the top, and bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, slice, and serve or store covered.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #plantbasedblondies #veganblondies

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Cauliflower Spoonbread

Yield: 4 servings (approximately 175 calories each)

If cornbread and a souffle had a love child, it would be spoonbread. My version is low calorie–even with rich plant-based butter–and includes no corn, but somehow has a slightly corny taste. Regardless, it is luscious. You can leave out garlic and onion powders and serve with maple syrup for breakfast or brunch.

  • 1 pound frozen riced cauliflower, cooked (I use the steam-in-bag type)
  • 1 cup plain nondairy milk (I use unsweetened soy)
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable-based oil
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour (lends a slightly sweet flavor)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (I use Miyoko’s)

Grease an 8″ souffle dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients, except butter, in large food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to prepared dish, drizzle with butter, and bake for 45 minutes for a soft consistency or 50 for a slightly firmer consistency. The dish is spoonable while warm and sliceable once cooled.

Note: I enjoy it served with escabeche.

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Escabeche Brine Salad with Peanuts in Hot Chili Oil

Celebrate sumner with escabeche my way…or your way! If you want to swap out various spices, by all means. Mine turns amber colored because of the star anise, but it is so tasty. The thyme is assertive so leave out or switch if you are not a fan.

Escabeche Brine

1 cup rice wine vinegar

1 cup water

2 bay leaves

1 hatch fresh chili, seeded and thinly sliced

1 small red shallot , thinly sliced

3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon tri-color peppercorns

1 teaspoon sea salt (I used half truffle salt)

5 to 6 star anise

2 to 3 sprigs thyme

Combine all in a saucepan, bring to a boil, remove from hear, allow to cool completely, place in a lidded jar, and chill.

Eacabeche Brine Salad

Yield: 2 servings

1/2 large cucumber, sliced

12 grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup Escabeche Brine

1/4 cup roasted and lightly salted peanuts

1 teaspoon hot chili oil

Combine all ingredients, except peanuts and hot chili oil, and refrigerate for several hours. In a small bowl,, combine peanuts and hot chili oil. Divide salad between two bowls, reserving extra brine, and serve topped with peanuts.

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Mini No-Bake Key Lime Pies (vegan/plant-based)

Yield: 8

These light and luscious bites are the perfect, pretty little refresher.

Made from only 7 ingredients and requiring no baking, they are ready when you are. And each cool and creamy treat is only about 220 decadent calories.

Even though key limes are not green, I feel like lime desserts should be, so I add a hint of Macha powder, which doesn’t alter the taste.

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (I like Tofutti)

1/4 cup natural sugar

5 ounces coconut cream

Zest of 1large key lime or small-medium lime and juice of entire lime/key lime

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon Macha powder or enough to achieve desired color

1/4 cup non-dairy whipped topping + 1/2 cup for topping

Garnish: Vegan Graham Cracker crumbs or pieces + optional lime slices or zest

With an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. If cream cheese is cold, use a food processor. Beat in remaining ingredients, except whipped topping and garnishes, until completely combined. Fold in whipped topping. Divide among 8 very small cups–I like clear glass–not much bigger than a shot glass. Top each with about 1 tablespoon of remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate until serving time. (I store them in a lidded carton.) Garnish as desired and serve.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #plantbasedminipie #vegannobakepie #plantbasednobakepie #veganminipie #plantbasedkeylime #vegankeylime

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