The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

Recipes for 'Vegan Beans and Legumes'

Pumpkin, Kale, and Cannelini Bean BisqueYield: 4 to 6 servings

Contrary to my best intentions, I am not posting as much as I’d hoped since my husband passed away–suddenly and unexpectedly–on July 30…

…but I hope when I do, the recipes are worth waiting for.

As those of you who have experienced a loss such as this know, it’s a game-changer.  And, while we basically understand the rules of the game, we don’t know–and can’t necessarily anticipate–how they will play out, both in positive and negative ways.

I knew I would be busy with schoo, once it started on September 8, and my freelance work.  But, add to the mix a pair of 8 1/2 month old puppies (my dear, dear Minnie passed away less than a month after Joe); the administration of Joe’s estate; and a fuller, more diverse, and less predictable social life than I was accustomed to (I’m “trending,” don’t you know–ha!), and time has a way of ticking past, albeit in very meaningful ways, though sometimes with a steep learning curve.

However, I deeply value this blog and the opportunity to, not only share recipes with all of you but to connect with you arouond food, so I hope you will forgive me the infrequency of posts as I figure out how to achieve balance.

Speaking of that less predictable social life…last night, I served this impromptu soup–inspired by a recipe in my latest Southern Living Magazine (worth the subscription just to read Rick Bragg’s “Southern Journal” essay in the back of each issue)–to two girlfriends, one of whom brought her guitar, played a mini-concert in my breakfast room, and spent the night.  What a beautiful, beautiful gift.  This woman’s spirit is infused with magic.

The soup was a hit.  So, as the weather begins to turn colder, nourish body, mind, and soul with a cup of this nutritious deliciousness.  On the side, I like to serve a rice cake topped with one of my vegan cheese spreads (search this website for lots of tastt options) and a dab of my friend Rich’s chimichurri.  It’s the perfect mini-meal and, remember, I have proclaimed this the Year of the Mini-Meal.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1/8th teaspoon salt + more to taste

2 large gloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon sugar (I use demerara)

1/2 teaspoon onion powder (I love its sweetness)

1/2 teaspoon coriander

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1-15 ounce can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth or stock (I use one called a “no-chicken” broth that tastes richer to me) OR 4 1/4 cups vegetable broth and 1/4 cup red wine

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 to 3 cups chopped fresh kale

1-15.5 ounce can rinsed and drained cannelini beans

Optional garnish: dollops of vegan sour cream or crema

In a 4 quart soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high.  Add onion and salt and saute, stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until softened and beginning to show color around the edges.  Add garlic and sugar and saute, stirring, until nicely caramelized.  (This only takes a few minutes because of sugar.)  Stir in spices, followed by pumpkin, and slowly stir in liquid and nutritional yeast.  Add kale, a handful at a time, and let it begin to wilt before adding the next handful.  Stir in beans and heat through, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.  Lower heat if necessary.  Taste and adjust seasoning, as you might choose to add more salt–since pumpkin is naturally sweet–cumin, and smoked paprika.  Serve topped with vegan sour cream or crema.






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Vegan BLT Chickpea Salad

BLT Chickpea SaladYield: 4 servings

Back in the day, I loved a BLT.  But, these days, I love cruelty-free BLTs even better.  I mix up all the traditional ingredients using my favorite bacon subsititute and serve a mound atop a rice cake–this is the self-proclaimed Year of the Mini-Meal after all–with a garnish of homegrown basil for freshness.

1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas

4 slices cooked vegan bacon (choose your favorite brand or make your own from tempeh)

6 Romaine heart leaves, stacked and cut into 1/2″ slices

1 medium tomato, cored and diced

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 rice cakes

4 sprigs fresh basil

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except rice cakes.  Drizzle some of the dressing that will collect at the bottom over the cakes to slightly soften.  Then, mound one-fourth of mixture atop each cake and garnish with a sprig of fresh basil.  Serve immediately with a sharp knife and fork.

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Chickpea SaladYield: 4 servings

Once again, I must apologize for my second hiatus of the summer…

As most of you know, my life-force of a husband of 25 years (our anniversary is 9/15) suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on July 30 from acute cardiac arrest.  With more  love and support from our intersecting circles than anyone has a right to expect–a veritable wellspring of grace and goodness and a true embarrassment of riches–I was beginning the next phase of my journey and trying to imagine a new normal with my beloved Minnie the Great Dane.  Both of us were now without our mates as her Huffie passed away on December 13.

Then, on August 24, my beautiful girl was claimed by the sudden enslaught of a take-no-prisoners auto-immune disease in which the body destroys its own red blood cells as fast as they can be transfused, causing extreme anemia and then a seizure accompanied by nystagmus, from which she wasn’t going to recover.  I was shattered for many reasons, including that Minnie and I were going to make it through this first year together. My friend, Mary Beth, held me as I held Minnie telling her how much I love her, what a good dog she was, and how much I would miss her until well after she was gone.

As a friend wrote, my home had been emptied of my Virginia Beach family in a mere 9 months.  When I realized that there was no one who cared if I got up in the morning or came home in the evening, the overwhelming emotion was of being untethered.  So, the next day–I think Minnie would understand–the first order of business was to adopt two new dogs:  Urban and Patsy.  They had just come from an ASPCA in TN to our VA Beach SPCA where my husband was on the board and had served as president, as well as current treasurer.  I believe their country music star names were part of their branding.  But, Joe and I went to graduate school, met, and married in Nashville, so the names stuck.

This pair of 8-month old dolls have been acclimating beautifully to their new home for the last 10 days, including healing from their spay and neuter surgeries with cones on their heads 24-7.  But we have been a No-Cone Zone for 5 days and life is good, full, and busy.  Now that we have become a pack, the second order of business is the return to this, my beloved blog.

I have half-jokingly proclaimed this the Year of the Mini-Meal because, for over a month now, food–at least not in the robust quantities I consumed it before–has not only not been my obsession, but has been largely rejected by my body in its adrenlaine-powered fight or flight mode.

But when I do eat, as I have mentioned previously, my food needs to be more beautiful, simple, and nutritious than ever before.   And if I can eat it on a rice cake, all the better. So, enjoy this tasty stack as a snack, first course, or as your own mini-meal.


1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup finely minced tri-color bell peppers (e.g. red, yellow, and green)

1/4 cup shredded carrot

2 tablespoons lightly salted and roasted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 rice cakes

4 thick tomato slices

1/2 cup chimichurri or vegan pesto

In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, peppers, carrot, seeds, mayo, and salt and pepper, lightly mashing chickpeas.  Spread each rice cake with 1 tablespoon of chimichurri or pesto.  Top each cake with one-fourth of the salad and a tomato slice.  Dollop one more tablespoon of chimichurri or pesto on top of each tomato slice and serve immediately with a sharp knife and fork.

July 2015


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White Bean-Fig GazpatchoYield: 2 servings

I deeply regret my 2 1/2 week hiatus from The Blooming Platter, and hope this is the beginning of the end of it.  As many of you know, my love, my husband of 25 years passed away from an acute coronoary on July 30 and life took on a new rhythm.

But, this past weekend, I already had a trip planned to meet my best friend from graduate school–we were both art history majors at Vanderbilt University–in Philadelphia for an “art tour.”  Joe was from Philly, so we had also planned a dinner at *Vedge (oh, wow–cannot recommend highly enough!) with his two sisters and our niece on Saturday night.  Knowing the trip would be “good medicine,” I didn’t change my plans, and I am thankful that I didn’t.

When I returned home, a friend picked me up at the airport and I invited another to stop by for dinner of chilled gazpatcho on her way home from the hospital where she had been with her mother.  Gifts of food are as much a part of death as flowers, and our friends had filled my refrigerator and freezer with a bounty of beautiful  fruit, vegetables, prepared vegan dishes and, okay, vegan cupcakes from My Vegan Sweet Tooth, a new vegan storefront bakery in town.

So, I swirled together cantaloupe, watermelon, fresh figs, an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a half-pint of heirloom tomatoes, and some basil from my garden with cumin and smoked paprika to make the most beautiful of soups.  Then, as if to prove correct the “grieving” books and their gentle warnings of forgetfulness as part of the process, I left it on the counter in a sparkling crystal bowl in full reach of Minnie.  It got very quiet downstairs and then she came up with gazpatcho breath detectable from a foot away!

Not angry, just fearful, I first called our vet’s wife–on a Sunday–to make sure she’d survive.  And after learning that she would, I went looking for something else with which to make a cold soup.  And, though this combination of ingredients may sound a bit odd, my guest and I both thought the following combination of ingredients was delectable and I will be making it again and again.  Minne can’t say, as she didn’t get to taste this batch.

*V-Street, Vedge’s sister street food bar, specializing in flavor- and texture-forward small plates, is not to be missed either.  We ate three of our five meals at there, each one as delightful as the previous.

White Bean and Fresh Fig Gazpatcho

1 can white beans with juice

1 large tomato, cored and quartered

approximatley 8 to 10 fresh figs

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnishes: vegan sour cream, a few marinated veggies (onion, tomato and cucumber in a light vinaigrette), green or purple basil, and spiced pecans (I used rosemary-lime)

Place all ingredients except garnishes in food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached.  Serve chilled, garnished as desired.

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Black Bean and Corncake Snack StacksYield: 8 Black Bean and Corn Cake Snack Stacks (plus extra black bean filling)


To celebrate the release of the FREE Snackable eBook, the good folks at Go Dairy Free and So Delicious Dairy Free have teamed up again to sponsor the ultimate Snackable Recipe Contest!

My entry is the perfect little 3-bite snack that you can pick up to enjoy.  And they are simple to prepare.

Corncakes made with luscious So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk are the tasty foundation for these Snack Stacks.  A dab of mock Garlic Aioli–garlic powder whisked together with vegan mayo (raw garlic is a little too much of a good thing here)–anchors a mound of black beans, kale, onion, garlic, and spices cooked into a creamy mélange with So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk.

You can your stacks however you choose.  I like carrot shreds, cucumber slices, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a dusting of smoked paprika.  But avocado (to which I am, sadly, highly allergic) and grape tomato halves would be delicious, healthy and colorful too.

1/2 cup yellow corn meal

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 cup plus So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk

2 tablespoons creamed corn (a canned vegan product available at virtually all grocery stores) or 2 additional tablespoons So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk

2 teaspoons vegetable oil divided

2 teaspoons vegan butter, divided

Creamy Black Bean, Kale, and Coconut Milk Filling (recipe follows)

Garlic Aioli (Recipe Follows)

Optional garnishes: carrot shreds; thin cucumber or avocado slices, halved; cherry tomato halves; lime wedges for squeezing; and a sprinkling of smoked paprika

In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, sea salt, baking powder, cumin, smoked paprika, coconut milk, and creamed corn.  Spray a large cast iron skillet with nonstick spray, place over medium-high, and heat 1 teaspoon each of oil and vegan butter.  As the butter melts, swirl to coat bottom of skillet.  Scoop batter, 1 level tablespoon at a time, into skillet and spread to about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  Repeat to make 4 corncakes, cooking approximately 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Remove to a serving plate and repeat with remaining batter, beginning with heating the remaining oil and butter.  To serve, spread each corncake with about 1 teaspoon of Garlic Aioli, top with a heaping tablespoonful of the bean and kale filling, garnish as desired, and serve immediately.  Note: corncakes may be prepared ahead and kept well-covered until serving time.   

Creamy Black Bean, Kale, and Coconut Milk Filling:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion (half a medium), diced

Sea salt

1 cup coarsely chopped kale with thick stems removed

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1-15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Freshly ground black pepper

In the same skillet as you made the corncakes, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of sea salt and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until softened.  Add kale and garlic and continue to sauté and stir for about 3 minutes or until kale is softened, but still bright green. Add all remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until ingredients reduce down and come together into a thick, fragrant, and creamy mixture. Season to taste with pepper and additional sea salt, if desired.

Garlic Aioli:

3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

In a small cup, whisk together mayonnaise and garlic powder until well combined.



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Baked Bean CrostiniYield: 12 crostini

My parents have a nack for making any simple run-of-the-mill meal or activity seem special.

When I was a kid, a favorite sandwich that my mom would whip up with leftover baked beans was simply cooled beans mixed with mayo and pickle relish served between slices of toasted white bread, with or without butter lettuce.

Make this delicacy yourself in minutes and watch it disappear!

Because I love to nosh, my modern twist on her tradition is simply to serve the filling openface on small pieces of grilled crostini.  I made these yesterday for an evening beach picnic with a good friend.  Bean-filled bliss!


Approximately 1 1/2 cups thick baked beans, chilled (I used a 15.5 ounce can of Bush’s vegan “Steakhouse” variety that I baked for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees to thicken and concentrate flavors)

2 to 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sweet or dill pickle relish

Optional: 2 sliced scallions, both white and green part (stir in or use as garnish)

12 thin slices lightly oiled and grilled or toasted bread (Italian, French, etc.)

Optional garnish: tiny sprigs of fresh basil

Stir together beans, mayo, relish, and opitonal scallions until combined.  Pile on top of grilled bread and garnish with basil.  Serve immediately.

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Southwestern Quinoa Confetti SaladThis delicious salad was inspired by one I enjoyed at Pompano in NYC.  I use more ingredients–including the kale, tomatoes, cucmbers, and optional black beans–because if the salad was scrumptious without them, it would be even better with.

Yield: 6 servings

1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used a mixed colored variety)

2 cups water

Sea salt

1-15 ounce can yellow hominy, rinsed and drained

Optional: 1-15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (not included in accompanying photograph)

1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup coarsely chopped kale

2-6 inch cucumbers, diced

Approximately 12 grape tomatoes, quartered

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1/2 large lime

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon chile powder

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, or to taste

Optional: 1 tablespoon nutrition yeast


In a 2-quart saucepan, combine quinoa, water and a teaspoon of sea salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed/evaporated, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, preheatoiled  grill pan over medium high.  Place onion slices in one half of pan and kale in the other, lightly salt, and grill for about 3 minutes on each side or until nice caramelized grill marks appear.  Combine quinoa, hominy grilled onion and kale, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes in a large non-reactive bowl.  In a small cup or bowl whisk together olive oil, lime juice, and all spices, seasoning to taste with additional sea salt.  Pour over salad, sprinkle with cilantro and optional nutritional yeast, and gently toss to coat completely.  Note: I like to enjoy a couple or three servings of the salad without the black beans and then add them to the leftovers to enjoy for a another few servings.

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Leftover Redux--Coconut Yellow Dal CakesYield: 1 serving of 2 medium cakes (easily multiplies for the amount of leftovers on-hand)

Let’s just say, to put it non-judgmentally, that my husband has a very different diet than I do.  So, when I make a dish, it is usually mine and mine alone.

On Saturday, I posted a recipe for my divine Vegan Coconut Dal with Grilled Kale and Cashews which I have been enjoying all week because it serves 6.  Yesterday, wanting to finish it for lunch but perhaps in a different form, the idea for Dal Cakes sprang into my mind.

Wow, how simple and delicious!

On the way home from yoga Sunday morning, I was brainstorming what I would use to thicken the mixture to be able to shape it into patties–Panko bread crumbs, cashew meal, flour, etc.–but when it came to making them, I wondered how simple I could keep it.

Pretty darn simple as it turns out.  I just added half as much Panko breadcrumbs as I had leftovers, stirred gently with a fork and, instead of pre-shaping into patties, I just mounded the mixture into the lightly oiled and preheated skillet, flattening the tops to make about 3/4- to 1-inch thick cakes.  After a couple of minutes, they were plenty firm enough to flip, somewhere between a pancake and a veggie burger.  If you want them, firmer, however, simply add a few more breadcrumbs.

I topped mine with vegan sour cream, as we are uanble in our area to purchase vegan yogurt that isn’t very sweet and quite runny.  Had I had some cucumbers, I would have diced a few up in the sour cream or placed a few slices on top.  But I didn’t, and my mini-meal was still delicious.  Nontheless, wanting a hint of green and not having any cilantro, I added sprigs of lemon thyme from my herb garden.  Though there is no thyme in the dish, it seemed appropriate given the citrusy notes and lent a lovely herby freshness.  Half of a grape tomato would be a really nice addition, as well, adding contrasts of color, flavor and texture.

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup leftover Vegan Coconut Yellow Dal with Grilled Kale and Cashews (you only need the dal part for this recipe), very thick and very cold

1/4 cup Panko or other coarse, dry breadcrumbs

Sea salt

Optional toppings: vegan sour cream/plain yogurt, pinch of chili powder or plain/smoked paprika, sliced or diced cucumber, sprigs of fresh cilantro or lemon thyme, and halved grape tomatoes

Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together leftover Coconut Yellow Dal with breadcrumbs and a pinch of sea salt to taste, adding more bread crumbs if necessary to reach desired consistency.  Divide mixture in half, making two mounds in the skillet and gently flattening each with a spatula to create 3/4- to 1-inch thick cakes and to help compact the cakes.   Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown and a little crusty, loosening each cake from the bottom of the skillet with a spatula after about a minute.  Carefully flip and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes on the second side, again loosening the cakes from the bottom of the skillet after the first minute, and pressing gently on the top to compact.  Lower heat at any point if necessary to prevent scorching.  Serve immediately topped with vegan sour cream or yogurt, cucumbers, sprig of herbs and, if desired, grape tomato halves.  Note: cakes on the smaller side are easier to flip, so avoid getting over-zealous with the size.

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Coconut Dal with Grilled Kale and CashewsYield: 6 servings

Last Saturday night, Joe and I were so pleased with ourselves for choosing Pompano as our dining destination in NYC.

Yes, I know that coconut dal isn’t Mexcian, so keep reading…

Located at 209 East 49th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, it is a beautiful restaurant with a second story that opens onto a terrace, which is where we were seated.  The weather was perfect–like early fall–the service swift, and the food outstanding, with lots of  vegan options, provided cheese or sour cream is omitted.

For my dinner, I ordered smooth-as-velvet black bean soup with a grilled plantain garnish and a black quinoa salad with corn, onions, and grilled–yes, grilled–kale.  Divine!  You can imagine that I came home commited to grilling some kale before week’s end.

On the Thursday night we arrived for our weekend in the city on the occasion of  a dear friend’s wedding, we dined at Amma (246 E. 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd), an intimate and warmly contemporary second story Indian restaurant.  (For meals, we tended to stick close to “home” which was POD51 at 230 E. 51st Street: hip, modern, and well-designed from quality materials with compact rooms.  Ours was a queen POD with a private bath and a very intimate one indeed: think airplane restroom–in size, not style–with a shower.)

I came home Sunday with a powerful craving for Indian food and decided to put the two together: Indian and grilled kale.  For the dal, I used a recipe from Deryn Macey at with no substantive changes except more water that is ridiculously tasty, especially scooped up in lettuce leaves instead of naan which, unless veganized, contains yogurt.  To make it more “buttery” while adding a third texture contrast, I sprinkled it with roasted cashews.  And to create more of a  one-dish vitamin-packed meal, I topped it with grilled kale.

For the kale, all I had was pre-chopped, so I used it and thought it made a perfectly textured topping, though you could certainly grill whole kale leaves and use them differently.  I am an indoor griller and found my Lodge cast iron grill pan to do a beautiful job.  Grill the kale, which just takes a few minutes, in two batches while the dal cooks to creamy perfection.

Vegan Coconut Yellow Dal with Grilled Kale and Cashews

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated (I used 1 teaspoon ground ginger, as I had no fresh on hand)

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups dry yellow lentils

1-15 ounce can coconut milk

4 to 4 1/2 cups water

Grilled Kale (recipe follows)

Roasted and lightly salted cashew halves and pieces

In a large cast iron skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high.  Add onions and saute, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic and ginger and continue to saute and stir frequently for about 2 more minutes until onions are quite soft.  Lower heat to avoid scorching garlic if necessary.  Add the spices, coconut milk, lentils and 3 cups water, whisking in one cup of water at a time.  Simmer for about 45 minutes or until soft and thick, lowering heat if necessary, adding another 1/2 cup water about every 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve topped with grilled kale and a sprinkling of cashews.  Note: if desired, toss kale with about 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro before topping dal.


Grilled Kale

4 cups coarsely chopped kale (when I purchase from the grocery store instead of farmer’s market, I purchase a bag of, prewashed and coarsely chopped

Small amount of olive oil (If possible, dispense from a spray can or spritzer to avoid over-doing it)

See salt

Heat lightly oiled grill pan over medium-high.  Add half of kale in an even thin layer to pan and grill about 3 minutes to until it starts to char, flip with a spatula and grill about 3 more minutes or until desired color and texture is achieved.  Remove to a platter (avoid heaping it in a bowl or it will steam) and repeat with remaining kale.  Sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt if desired.  Prepared this way, you can use the kale myriad ways: in salads, soups, sandwiches, side dishes, and more.  Its pretty darn good “right by itself,” as they say in the ‘Sip (Mississippi).


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Kale, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Fritter Cakes--with ForkThese savory fritter-cake hybrids are made from a trifecta of favorite, healthful, colorful and plentiful ingredients: chopped fresh kale, shredded sweet potato, and black beans.  Green onion adds a fresh, pungent, herb-y kick.

A food processor made short order of  finely chopping the kale and, with a quick blade switch-out, creating beautiful, consistent shreds of sweet potatoes and no scraped knuckles.  For efficiency, I used canned black beans, rinsed and well-drained, mashing about half of them with a potato masher to help the fritter-cakes hold together without  a lot of additional ingredients.  However, I did use a little flour and soymilk (use the nondairy milk of your choice) plus some baking powder and soda for a hint of lift, but not enough to create a “batter.”  The finished consistency of these is somewhat similar to a latke with a bit more body.

For spices, black beans would suggest Mexican or southwestern flavor notes.  But, for some reason, I wanted to nudge these fritter-cakes in a slightly Middle Eastern direction.  So I did invite cumin, coriander and lime zest to the party, but also smoked paprika and sumac which lends a lovely earthy lemony profile.  It is widely sold in Middle Eastern grocery stores, but if you can’t find it, just order it online or leave it out.  However, it has been one of my favorite kitchen companions of the last few years.

For cooking, I tried both oil and nonstick spray and found that the calories in the oil were worth achieving a crispier crust, but see what you think.

I love a savory and ever-so-slightly sweet balance, so for a topping, I whisked a little lime juice and tamarind syrup into vegan sour cream.  Tamarind syrup lends a heavenly, subtle and distinctively Middle Eastern floral note tempered by the sweetly acidic lime juice.  Again, the syrup is sold at Middle Eastern grocery stores and online.  But you could substitute pomegranate syrup which is fruity without being floral or just leave out all together and go with a citrus sour cream which would be delicious too.

A little spoonful of the sauce, a thin slice of lime, a few pine nuts and a sprinkling of smoked paprika created a beautiful presentation of these delectable disks, perfect for breakfast brunch, lunch or even dinner, perhaps with a side salad.

3 cups shredded sweet potatoes (slightly over a half-pound potato)

4 cups coarsely chopped or torn kale, finely chopped (I used a food processor)

1-15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and well-drained; half of beans mashed with potato masher

6 green onions, very thinly sliced

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste + a small amount more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

1/2 cup soymilk (or an nondairy milk)

Tamarind-Lime Cream (recipe follows)

Garnishes (optional): thin slices of fresh lime, a few pine nuts, dusting of smoked paprika


Kale, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Fritter Cakes--Uncooked

Mixture Before Frying

Line a baking sheet with paper towel and set aside.  Set oven to lowest temperature.  In a large mixing bowl, toss together with your hands sweet potato, kale, green onions, and unmashed sweet potatoes.  In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed beans, flour, baking powder, baking soda, all spices, including salt and pepper, and soymilk.  Spoon in roughly even dollops over vegetable-bean mixture and combine well with a fork.  The mixture will be very textured and moist, mounding nicely, but will not form a batter.

Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil (or a combination of vegetable and olive oil) in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Divide mixture into 1/12ths and, using a spoon or scoop, place 4 evenly-spaced mound into the sizzling oil pressing to about 1/2-inch thick with a metal spatula.  Cook for about 2 minutes, flip and cook 2 more minutes, lowering temperature if necessary to prevent scorching.  They will turn a rich nutty brown (as opposed to a light golden brown).  Remove fritter-cakes and drain on prepared baking sheet, sprinkling each with a few granules of sea salt.  Keep warm in oven.  Repeat twice more with remaining mixture.  Serve immediately topped with Tamarind-Lime Cream and garnished as desired.


Tamarind-Lime Cream

1/2 cup vegan sour cream

1 teaspoon tamarind syrup (or pomegranate syrup)

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Sea salt to taste






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