Cajun Andouille and Spinach Cream Sauce (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 4 servings

I created this addicting dish out of what I had in the refrigerator, but feel free to substitute leeks for onions, kale or chard for spinach, bell peppers or mushrooms for carrots, and so forth.

I use an indoor grill pan, but you can just “griddle” sausages and celery over medium to medium-high heat in a skillet sprayed with non-stick spray for a couple of minutes until they develop color on both sides.

1 medium onion, cut into slivers and caramelized (I saute until most of moisture has been absorbed in 1 cup water with 2 tablespoons liquid aminos, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons monk fruit or brown sugar, 1 teaspoon dark molasses, and 1 teaspoon sea salt)
1 to 2 large cloves garlic, mincef
6 cups loosely packed baby spinach
4 vegan Andouille sausages, halved, grilled on both sides, and sliced 3/4-inch thick
3/4 cup roasted baby tri-color carrots (mushrooms or bell pepper would be fine substitute)
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise, sprinkled with sea salt, grilled on both sides, and sliced on the diagonal about 3/4-inch thick
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine (I use de-alcoholized Chardonnay)
1 cup vegan half-and-half (I like Silk or Ripple brand)
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

In a large skillet, add to caramelized onions All remaining ingredients and simmer over medium to medium high until a thick sauce develops and luxuriously coats all the other ingredients.

Serve over rice or over my easy, no filler, rice cakes.

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Vegan Cajun Red Bean, Spiralized Squash, & Spicy Peanut Slaw
A July 4 Explosion of Flavor

Lately, I will spiralize most anything that isn’t quicker than me.

Actually, that’s not true.  A friend did give me a Spiralizer that I have yet to break out of the box.  But, so far, I have purchased a variety of colorful vegetables already cut into those long, luscious threads.

I’m not a “raw vegan,” but I do find that these thin, spiraling threads do not need cooked, not even the sweet potato, though you could certainly blanch them if you prefer.  I favor the flavor, texture, and color “as is.”

This slaw was inspired by my beloved NOLA.  It combines super heart-healthy dark red kidney beans with spicy peanuts, cajun seasoning, and a few other key ingredients with a blend of spiralized zucchini and yellow squash for a refreshing, luscious, and lovely–especially when served in a martini glass–heck of a zippy slaw.

Rice would be the more natural choice, i.e. red-beans-and-rice, but I just can’t find much to recommend calorie dense, carb rich, and nutrionally lacking white rice.  Hence the light colored spiralized squash which is such fun to eat.

It appears that Bob and I are going to a restaurant for July 4 with his family, as the family matriarch is recovering from a back injury and prefers not to entertain; but if we weren’t, I would certainly be taking this dish as my potluck contribution.

Note: the number of cups listed on the back of spiralized vegetable packages is usually less than my measurements as I very loosely pack it, while it appears that they must compress it a bit more.  This is, I always end up with significantly more than the package indicates.

3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (or to taste)

Juice of 1/2 large lemon

1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (I used one with lots of spices, but none of them with a lot of heat)

2 cups spiralized zucchini (loosely packed)

2 cups spiralized yellow squash (loosely packed)

1 cup diced celery (about 4 celery hearts, sliced lengthwise and then thinly sliced crosswise)

2 green onions, thinly sliced, both the white and green parts (about 1/2 cup)

1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsied and drained

1 cup spicy peanuts

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnish: thin lemon slices with a cut from outer edge to center

In a large bowl, whisk together mayo, lemon juice, and cajun seasoning.  Add remaining ingredients and gently toss to evenly distribute dressing.  Check for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve in glasses with a slice of lemon “hung” on the rim.

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My Vegan Gumbo Made with Navitas Naturals Nori Powder: A Rich Briny Marriage Made in Cajun Heaven!

Vegan Seafood GumboIn March, the good folks at VegNews published my Vegan Seafood Gumbo in “Recipe Club,” their e-newsletter, which I shared here on The Blooming Platter (just follow the link).

Not too long after that, the kind folks at Navitas Naturals sent me a sample of their delicious and nutritious organic Nori Powder (roasted seaweed powder) with which to experiment.  I didn’t get to it right away, but recently, with friends coming for dinner to whom I had promised gumbo, I decided to use the Nori Powder instead of Nori sheets in the gumbo stock, as I was out of the latter.

Product Image

Brilliant!  After a little research, mostly based on protein content, I determined that 1 teaspoon of Nori powder is the equivalent of 1 Nori sheet, and that worked out perfectly.  Both lend to the stock that deeply seductive briny flavor of the sea.

Plus, there is an ocean (couldn’t resist–sorry!) of uses for Nori powder.  It can be dissolved in just about anything to enhance  flavor and nutrition (protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber), e.g.  soups, stews, purees, sauces, doughs, fillings, etc.  And it is certified organic, kosher, non-GMO, gluten-free and raw.

Enjoy this great new product and my Seafood Gumbo recipe which they have generously published on their site!

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