This is the perfect little nibble to stave off I-don’t-think-I -can-wait-any-longer pre-Thanksgiving Feast hunger pains!
I recently created this dip or spread and love serving it as a “shooter” with tiny little spoons a friend brought me back from a trip to India. But any small spoon will do–or mini-spreader with a side of crostini. My serving secret? My “glasses” are actually votive holders!
Food just doesn’t get much more delectably fall-like than this simple spread, so it is perfect for Thanksgiving. You really can taste the contribution of each autumnal ingredient: fresh(!) pumpkin, pecans, white beans and sage. Be sure to cook the pumpkin ahead of time so it’s cooled and ready to go when you are. (See my easy microwave directions below.)
Bind it all together with your favorite vegan creaminess–sour cream, mayo, or unflavored cashew cream–and you have a fabulously flexible shooter, dip for raw veggies or crackers, spread for a bagel, or even a filling for non-traditional quesadillas, stuffed peppers, etc.
(Where’s Minnie? Can anyone spot our female brindle Dane who is never far away when food is out?)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup diced onion
2 large cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoon dry rubbed sage
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup diced cooked fresh pumpkin (see super simple microwave directions below)
4 to 5 tablespoons vegan sour cream, mayo, or cashew cream
Accompaniments: raw vegetable strips or slices or crackers
Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add pecans and a pinch of salt, and toast, stirring continually, for a couple of minutes. Add onion and a pinch more salt, and continue sauteing and stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and sage and continue for another minute. Stir in beans, pumpkin and vegan sour cream or mayo and heat through, stirring continually. Serve warm with the accompaniment of your choice.
How to Microwave a Fresh Pumpkin (The Time-Pressed Woman’s Way)
1-2 pound pumpkin
Wash your pumpkin, pierce several times all-over with a sharp knife, place on a microwave-safe dish, and microwave on high for about 7 -10 minutes. Check for tenderness, by piercing with a knife. It if goes in easily, the pumpkin is ready. Allow to cool, then slip off the skin, ct in half, and remove seeds and pulp. If you prefer, you can halve and deseed the pumpkin first, but I find it puts up more resistance that way.
In her blog “What Would Cathy Eat?,” Cathy’s healthy Thanksgiving menu includes The Blooming Platter’s Beet Muhummara!
I am so honored! And what a coincidence after featuring that recipe in yesterday’s global Virtual Vegan Potluck.
Because of the beet spread’s jewel-tone color, I think it is lovely for Christmas and New Year’s too, but it’s so tasty, you don’t need a special occasion.
Cathy is not vegan, but she does promote healthy eating and a bounty of vegetarian and vegan food on her blog, so check it out.
Here’s to the health and happiness of all living creatures!
Welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck, an international “progressive” potluck meal, and you are one of our special guests!
To begin at the first “house,” visit Lidia at Vegan Bloggers Unite!
I volunteered to bring an appetizer, and I chose one of everyone’s favorites: Beet Muhummara (backstory and recipe follows).
But there are lots of other appetizers being served. Be sure to visit the “houses” on either side of mine and from there, link by link, you can “progress” right on through all of the courses in one of the tastiest and varied meals ever served.
So come on along, dinner is served!…
Do you walk right past the beets in your fall market? If so, my advice is to throw it in reverse and back-up! If you think you are a beet-hater, think again!
This jewel-tone beauty–a favorite in my cookbook–is inspired by muhummara, a Turkish roasted red pepper and walnut spread. And it has single-handedly converted many a beet-haters into a beet lover right before my eyes.
Perfect for festive occasions because of its shimmering color–but simple enough for any day of the week (you can “beet” the clock with this one!)–Beet Muhummara is lovely with warmed pita triangles and olives or rolled up in lettuce leaves for “skinny” beet burritos.
Yield: 4 cups
In a food processor, combine the beets, walnuts, bread crumbs, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, molasses, and lemon juice and pulse to a textured paste.
With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until fairly smooth, but still textured. Scrape the mixture into a serving bowl, garnish with walnuts, if using, and serve.
From The Blooming Platter Cookbook by Betsy DiJulio. Copyright © 2011. Vegan Heritage Press.Used by permission.
Yield: 6 servings
This Indian stew-like melange is so flavorful and satisfying that it is absolutely divine on its own, perhaps served with basmati rice, some cashews and maybe a little fresh cilantro. However, I can attest to it being luscious eaten cold right out of a carton!
For an exquisite–but super-easy presentation–use it as the filling in my Sweet Potato Stack. Though drizzling an Indian dish with maple syrup may seem out of character, there is something about the hint of maple combined with the other ingredients that is absolute autumnal perfection!
Maharaja Mung Beans and Kale :
6 cups water
2 cups mung beans (rinse, pick over, bring to a boil, let sit for 30 minutes and then simmer 45 minutes more)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, and leaves torn into bite size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Amchur (dried mango) powder (optional; you may substitute lemon zest, but it’s not quite the same)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (or mace)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup thick coconut milk
In a covered 4-quart saucepan, bring water and salt to simmering over medium-high heat. Add mung beans, turn off heat, let sit for 30 minutes, and then return heat to medium-high, place lid ajar, and simmer beans for about 45 minutes or until almost all of liquid is evaporated, but beans are still very moist.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add kale by handfuls, stirring and sauteeing until slightly wilted before adding the next handful. Stir in garlic and all remaining ingredients except tomatoes and coconut milk and saute, stirring, until heated through. Stir this mixture thoroughly into the mung beans followed by tomatoes and coconut milk. Heat through, stirring often, and serve immediately as is or in the Sweet Potato Stack.
Sweet Potato Stack:
Yield: 4 appetizer servings of 2 stack per person
2 slender sweet potatoes, baked (in a conventional oven or microwaved), cooled enough to handle, skin removed, and each sliced into about 8 1/2-inch slices
Generous 1/2 cup Maharaja Mung Beans and Kale, heated
4 teaspoons maple syrup
Garnish: 4 tablespoons chutney or the topping of your choice (I used 4 teaspoons prepared mint chutney plus 8 teaspoons chopped grilled apples because I had both on hand)
Optional: tiny pinches of sea salt as a “finishing salt”
Place 2 sweet potato slices on each plate. Top with rounded tablespoons of mung bean mixture and remaining 8 sweet potato slices. Drizzle each stack with about 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup and then top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of chutney or 1/2 teaspoon of prepared mint chutney and a teaspoon of chopped grilled apples as in the photograph.
I am THRILLED to be one of a dozen invited contributors to participate in “Let’s Eat,” a new initiative of Eastern Virginia’s public TV and radio station, WHRO!
I had no more created this recipe than I received the invitation.
Since it is sponsored by Whole Foods, VA Beach, and our local chapter of Buy Fresh, Buy Local, a recipe that featured local produce seemed in order. At the time I submitted it, pattypan squash was in season, but the site was just launched and, alas, pattypan squash is no longer in season, at least not in Coastal Virginia. But the pesto would be luscious on grilled pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and much more. And my basil is still in full bloom!
Stay tuned for more tasty treats ready for their close-up. I will be posting regularly on “Let’s Eat” and will direct you from here to there!
Find my recipe at One Green Planet.
BTW, they are quick too, as they bake a mere 4 minutes for a texture transformation!
Like our dreams, sometimes the origins of cravings can be traced right to their source, and other times, they seem to have emerged out of nowhere. The latter is the case with these Vegan Thai Sloppy Joes.
I know not from whence the idea came, but I had to struggle during my Saturday morning yoga class to suppress visions of pungent red curry paste, creamy coconut milk, and crumbly-chewy tempeh so that I could follow my teacher’s directive to “focus on your breath.”
I whipped into the grocery store on the way home for lite coconut milk and nuts, but everything else was at the ready in our pantry and fridge, following last week’s trip to the farm stand and Trader Joe’s, speaking of Joes.
Sloppy Joes would not be considered a balanced meal by anyone’s standards, even when built around tempeh. And I wanted this to be a one dish wonder. So a quick mental review of veggies found in Thai dishes resulted in the addition of finely chopped carrot and farm stand-fresh kale (in place of the more typical spinach). The color, taste and texture that these ingredients added, not to mention the moisture, was exactly right.
You can certainly serve this addicting mixture on toasted buns, but trying to keep the finished dish more true to it’s Asian inspiration, I like it best served over lightly toasted rice cakes.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped carrot (I use a food processor for this task)
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 cups, stemmed, and finely chopped kale, Swiss chard or spinach (I use a food processor for this too)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
8 ounces tempeh (any variety, unseasoned)
1 tablespoon red curry paste, or more to taste (available on the international foods aisle of most grocery stores and at Asian markets)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (you can substitute catchup in a pinch)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (I use lite or low sodium)
1/2 teaspoon natural sugar
1 can light coconut milk (you can use regular if you don’t mind the calories, as it does have more intense flavor)
1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce (sold as Vegetarian Fish Sauce in Asian markets; you can omit, but it adds a distinctive Thai flavor)
Zest of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Accompaniment: plain unsalted or lightly salted rice cakes (use small rice cakes if serving this dish as an appetizer), toasted quickly on each side in a skillet lightly coated with nonstick spray
Garnishes: lime wedges, lightly salted peanuts or cashews, fresh cilantro sprigs
Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add carrot and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the onion, another pinch of salt, and saute another 2 minutes. Then add the kale and the garlic, another pinch of salt and the water, and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Add the tempeh and saute 2 minutes more. Add curry paste, tomato paste, soy sauce, sugar, coconut milk and fish sauce, and saute, still stirring frequently, for a final 10 minutes or until mixture thickens, slightly reduces, and all flavors combine. Stir in lime zest and chopped cilantro, and serve immediately over toasted rice cakes garnished as desired.
The theme of school lunches continues with my nifty Vegan Pimento Cheese Spread that packs up beautifully as a sandwich or celery stick filling. I love it on a toasted everything bagel, including for a weekend brunch–half is plenty!–but it is so tasty, that I’ve been known to enjoy it right off the spoon!
1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup raw cashews
3 to 4 ounces extra firm tofu (I used 1/4 of a 14 ounce box)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon light miso
1 tablespoon beer
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
optional: 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I like a neutral tasting one like Vegenaise)
4 ounce jar diced pimentos, well-drained
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse chickpeas and cashews until coarsely chopped. Add tofu, nutritional yeast, miso, beer, soy sauce, smoked paprika, onion powder, and optional garlic powder, and continue pulsing until a coarse-creamy mixture results. Transfer to a medium bowl, and fold in mayonnaise and pimentos until evenly distributed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I like to chill it before serving, while also allowing flavors to marry. Serve in a sandwich or spread on a bagel, crackers, or celery sticks.
To call this quick-fix meal a recipe is a bit, of an overstatement. It is, perhaps better described as a “formula,” though that doesn’t sound awfully appetizing.
So, let’s just call it a terribly tasty ”idea” that can be adapted in a multitude of ways in your kitchen.
I simply spread half of a sprouted grain tortilla with some homemade in-your-face garlic hummus that a friend of Joe’s sent home with him. Rich is an unlikely cook by some estimations, but a gifted one just the same; and he shares my appreciation for bold flavors, though he is scarcely vegan!
Next, I folded the tortilla over the filling, grilled it in a non-stick pan, and then folded it over again, topping it with the world’s easiest salsa, a dab of vegan sour cream, and a sprinkling of smoked paprika.
Here’s all you need for 1 fantastic Quesadilla (easily multiplies):
1-8 inch tortilla (I like Ezekial sprouted grain tortillas, available at health food stores and some grocery stores)
1/3 cup garlic hummus, homemade or prepared (or your favorite kind)
1/4 cup Cucumber-Blueberry Salsa (“recipe” follows)
Garnish: 1 tablespoon vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of smoked paprika
Spread half of tortilla with about 1/3 cup hummus. Fold tortilla over hummus and grill in a cast iron skillet sprayed with non-stick spray for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown on each side. Fold over again, place on serving plate, top with Vegan Cucumber-Blueberry Salsa, a dollop of sour cream, and a spoonful of Cucumber-Blueberry Salsa. Serve immediately.
Vegan Cucumber-Blueberry Salsa
Combine equal parts diced cucumber (I use the pickling variety, but use what you like) and fresh rinsed and dried blueberries. Toss with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder to taste. For best flavor, chill several hours or overnight before serving.
I am still visiting my family in Mississippi, and was reminded that this is another recipe that I hadn’t shared before I left Virginia. Reminded because it calls to mind one of my father’s signature sayings.
I have never been a particular fan of yellow squash. It’s not that I don’t care for it; I just don’t “wake up screaming for it,” as my Papa would say. But it is beautiful in the farmer’s markets right now–or perhaps in your own back yard!–and I wanted to take advantage of it.
I bought one, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it until I remembered my cheesy Zucchini, Onion and Yellow Squash Gratin dish and the Grilled Green Tomato and Charred Corn Salsa I had already made. So, I decided to combine the two notions and take my yellow squash in both a southwestern and a cheesy direction (the latter inspired by, but different from, the Gratin). Boy, am I glad I did, and I hope you will be too!
You won’t believe how creamy, cheesy, tasty and rich this yellow squash filling is! Tucked into a toasty tortilla and topped with my Grilled Green Tomato and Charred Corn Salsa, it is the epitome of summer feasting, southwestern style!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2-8 inch yellow squash, trimmed and grated (I use the grater blade of my food processor for this task; it makes the most perfect firm strands)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flour (I used white whole wheat because that is what I keep on hand)
1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
2 tablespoons light miso (any vegan kind will do, though the darker the flavor, the deeper the flavor)
Freshly cracked black pepper
4-8 inch whole wheat or wheat tortillas (I used Ezekial sprouted grain tortillas, which I loved, but they had so much flavor on their own that I felt they competed just a little)
Topping: Grilled Green Tomato and Charred Corn Salsa (recipe follows)
Garnish: vegan sour cream and lime slices or wedges
Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and a pinch of sea salt and saute, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes until softened. Stir in garlic powder and grated squash and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until squash is crisp-tender. Stir in nutritional yeast until well combined, followed by flour. Add soymilk and miso, and cook, stirring frequently, until miso is incorporated, and the mixture is thickened, heated through, and the flour no longer has a raw taste, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Remove filling to a bowl, wipe out skillet, and coat generously with non-stick cookng sprary. Spread half of two tortillas with squash filling, fold tortillas over the filling and toast in skillet for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove quesadillas to serving plates and repeat with remaining filling and tortillas. Serve topped with salsa, vegan sour cream, and lime slices or wedges.
Grilled Green Tomato and Charred Corn Salsa
Yield: 2 cups (easily doubles)
Normally, I would add diced onion and some chopped cilantro to a salsa like this, but it didn’t seem to need it; in fact, I was afraid both the onion and cilantro would overpower the sweet char of the grilled green tomatoes and corn.
1 large green tomato, cut into 1/3-inch slices
2 ears fresh corn, stripped, and broken in half
12 cherry tomatoes (cut smaller if your tomatoes are larger than cherries)
1 banana pepper (mild) or jalapeno (half or whole, depending on your heat tolerance), stemmed, seeded, and very finely chopped (consider wearing gloves to seed jalapeno and wash hands)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Oil a grill pan and heat over medium-high. Lightly salt tomato slices and lay into pan, grilling for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until nice grill marks develop and tomato slices become crisp-tender. Remove to a cutting board and allow to cool while you grill corn. Lightly salt corn and grill about 3 minutes on 4 sides or until lightly charred all over. Cool. Dice tomatoes and place in a medium non-reactive bowl. *Cut corn off cob and add to tomato along with remaining ingredients. Toss to combine and chill, covered. Delicious with chips–of course!–or as a topping over quesadillas, beans, a thick soup, etc.
*Note: the easiest way I have found to cut corn off the cob is to place a short sturdy glass or small bowl upside down in a larger bowl. Working with one half-cob at a time, stand it up on its cut end and run your knife vertically down the cob, allowing the kernels to be captured in the bowl. Voila! Or should I say “Ole!”