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.

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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.

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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.

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Fresh Peach Jam–Try It with a Smoked Gouda, Mushroom & Onion Quesadilla (Vegan & plant-based)

This is less of a recipe and more of a recommended–somewhat unexpected–flavor combination, which would also be tasty with a grilled cheese sammie.

A gift from one of my student’s mom’s of fresh South Carolina peaches resulted in the need to do something with the last 2 very ripe ones.

I lead a fairly busy life and I am all about unfussy, but pretty, healthy, and inspiring food these days. So I simply pitted the peaches, popped them into them into my small food processor skin and all, and blended them into a thick, pulpy jam.

That’s it. They were so sweet, with a perfect texture, that they needed nothing else. I thought about putting the jam on pancakes, but I wasn’t in the mood for that much flour.

To make the quesadilla, I simply folded a large tortilla–I like the 50 calorie high fiber variety–into quartets around 1 slice of vegan smoked guda and leftover caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. I browned it in a nonstick skillet, and topped it with the peach jam and a garnish of halced grape tomatoes and a slice of cucumber.

I served crispy green peas on the side and sprinkled a hint of sea salt over it all because we southerners know that salt makes fruit even sweeter and because it looks so pretty.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn#vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #veganpeachjam #veganquesadilla #plantbasedpeachjam #plantbasedquesadilla

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A Pair of Sensational Summer Dips/Salsas/Salads: Black Bean & Peach + Sweet Corn (vegan/ plant-based)

If summer gives you peaches and corn…

Last night, Bob and I hosted an impromptu happy hour retirement party for a dear friend, Linda Francis, who finally took the plunge with a swandive out of our school system and into Virtual Virginia as a history teacher.

Our easy menu is as summary as it gets with Claudia Cksimano, a retired teacher friend, and her husband bringing the broccoli salad from my Blooming Platter cookbook. I contributed I a purchased baba ghannoush, served in a martini glass, along with a Black Bean and Peach Salsa and what we fondly refer to as David’s Corn Dip. He was a guest at the party but had to work during the day, so I did the honors and he approved.

On the side, I served sliced cucumber and orange bell pepper strips, as well as two healthy- ish types of chips: a nacho-flavored cauliflower triangular chip and a round Garden of Eaten chip made of chickpeas and such.

All of it was a huge hit and I am pleased to share the new recipes here.

Black Bean and Peach Salsa

Yield: 8 appetizer or 4 side salad servings

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2 medium peaches, pitted and diced

1/2 mecium yellow or red onion, diced

1/4 cup favorite salsa, drained

1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Several hours before serving, combine all ingredients and refrigerate until serving time. Serve with cucumber slices or your favorite chips or crackers. This is also delicious served as a side salad.

David’s Sweet Corn Dip (cold or hot)

Yield: 8 appetizer or 4 side salad/side dish servings

3 cups fresh corn kernels, any variety, or 1-15.5 oz can yellow corn + 1-15.5 oz can white corn, drained

1/4 cup grated white vegan cheese, like mozzarella style

1/4 cup grated vegan cheddar cheese

1/4 cup favorite salsa, drained

1/4 cup vegan sour cream

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I use Walton Farms no calorie)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until serving time. Serve with cucumber slices or your favorite chips or crackers. This is also delicious served as a side salad or hot side dish. For the latter, simply microwave until bubbly.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #plantbaseddip #vegandip #plantbasedcorndip #vegancorndip #plantbasedblackbean #veganblackbean

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Espresso Banana- Lavender Smoothie (vegan/plant-based)

Yield: 1 serving

So refreshing and summery: sweet, earthy, and a hint floral:

1 cup ice cubes

2 tablespoons granulated Stevia blend (1 to 1 sugar to Stevia ratio)

1 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee

1 ripe banana

1 teaspoon culinary lavender + more for optional garnish

*Blend until smooth and enjoy with a sprinkle of more lavender if desired.

*We use the Magic Bullet.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #vegansmoothie #plantbasedsmoothie

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Mini No-Bake Banana Pudding Cheesecakes (vegan/plant-based)

Cool and creamy bite-sized perfection is only only a few minutes of hands-on time away:

8 ounces vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti)

2 to 3 very ripe bananas + 8 slices or half-slices for garnish (you can brush slices with lemon juice to prevent oxidization)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup non-dairy whipped topping + 1/3 cup more for topping

8 vegan vanilla wafers (I use Whole Foods brand)

With an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese, banana–except slices for topping– sugar, and extracts until very smooth. With mixer on low speed or by hand, fold in 1/3 cup whipped topping. Divide among 8 miniature serving cups or dishes. I like clear glass to show what is inside. And I use a pastry bag to keep it neat. Top with about 2 teaspoons each whipped topping, 1 vanilla wafer, and 1 slice or half slice banana. Refrigerate, covered, until serving time. I like to garnish with a lemony herb, which not only looks pretty, but also tastes delicious with these flavors.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #plantbasedcheesecake #vegancheesecake #plantbasedbanana #veganbanana #plantbasednobake #vegannobake

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