The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

Recipes for 'Vegan Greens'

Kale Pizza(A sequential installment from Kim Hastings, my photographer friend and, along with her vet husband, owner of Independence Veterinary Hospital, who decided on her own to cook her way through The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes Julie & Julia Style for her omnivorous family as a strategy for more healthy eating.)

Today I have a lot to write about, so grab a cup of coffee and get comfy. Tuesday night, Betsy DiJulio, the author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook, came to my house to cook with me!! So excited!!

Of course I did the usual when someone is coming over – vacuum up the dog hair, clean the bathroom (remember I have boys!) and clean my kitchen. But I wanted to impress so I chose an appetizer and a dessert from the book to make beforehand. I chose Orange-Espresso Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Cookies. I followed the recipe exactly being super careful not to inadvertently put something non-vegan in them. Everything was going well until I went to get my coffee beans out to grind one teaspoon of espresso powder. I could not find them anywhere. I love those beans. I had bought them at a little coffee roasting shop on the way to Luray, VA – but they were nowhere. So I racked my brain to come up with an alternative. Finally I ripped open a little Keurig cup and ran it through my grinder to make it into powder. It worked! One teaspoon of “espresso” done!

Next step was the chocolate chips. That’s when I saw the word “vegan” before the words “chocolate chips”. Noooooo!! I had not even considered that my chips were not vegan. Since I didn’t have any idea where to start looking for vegan chips, I was not going to the store so I divided the dough in half. One half gets real chocolate chips and the other will be Orange “Coffee” Hazelnut Cookies. (Thankfully she brought an amazing dessert so we didn’t need them.) I did, however, bake a test batch before dinner and I must say that these cookies are incredible. I have a hard time believing that this dough does not have eggs. They bake up just like any other cookies. My son looked skeptical and politely declined them but later I found the half empty container on the counter so he must like them too.

Mushrooms with SherryThe appetizer I chose was Sherried Mushroom Bruschetta. I have been looking forward to trying this recipe for a while – it sounded so good! I loved putting this together with the obvious exception that I had to use my dumb food processor. Later in the evening I did learn that silken tofu is different than the refrigerated tofu I used but no matter – I think it came out great. [Betsy’s note: it was perfection!] I got a bit heavy handed with the red pepper flakes but no one seemed to mind. My son only had a problem with the gray color but once he tasted it, he was sold.

So now my preparations are done…until I sat down and read through the recipe we had chosen to make. The pizza dough for the Kale and Sundried Tomato Pizza takes two hours to rise! I decided if I didn’t take this part on by myself we would not be eating til 10 PM. Even though I have never made pizza dough, I put on the how-hard-can-it-be attitude and got busy. And it really wasn’t too hard. I did not cheat either. I really used wheat flour. I had bought this to make dog biscuits a while ago and it was sealed up in the back of my cabinet. Nothing flew out of it when I opened it so we were good to go.

As soon as I got the dough set up to rise, Betsy arrived. She came in with an amazing looking cake roll with salted caramel icing. OK we can skip dinner now! It turned out to be a girl’s night since my husband was out for the evening and my son left for his Krav Maga class. (Oh, before he left, he pulled out a container of pork BBQ leftovers from the fridge and starts eating it out of the container right there in the kitchen. I was cringing, hoping Betsy wouldn’t notice…but she did. She was so cool about though. And that’s my family!!).

Anyway we chose a wine and started cooking. She promised me I would love the kale but I was skeptical watching her cut it up. She insisted I try it raw. She ate hers, but mine ended up in the sink. Sorry! I couldn’t even pretend to like it raw. Not good! Next she started the “cheese.” This was not my area – you know how much I cheat with real cheese – so I stepped back and watched her make it. I loved it! Would I give up my cheese for it? No, but I really loved it.

Betsy Making Pizza CrustWhen the dough was done rising, she showed me how to press it out by hand into a circle. Then we prepared the pan to sauté the kale – I forgot to turn the burner on but that was the only glitch. We put the pizza together and got it into the oven. Then we got to just hang out, she met my turtle, Desiree, and we went outside to check out my herb garden. My dog Allie was already her best friend at this point. Before long the pizza was out of the oven and ready. We took some pictures (of course!) and then served it up.

My son was back from class at this point and joined us for dinner. We loved the pizza! Even with kale!! It was flavorful and salty and the kale was very tender. We agreed later it may have been too salty because I only had course sea salt and no grinder. [Betsy’s note: totally my fault; I cook with coarse sea salt and I just wasn’t careful–must have been the wine and the great conversation.]   My husband was quick to point out the saltiness too when he tried it later – this from a guy who snacks on bouillon cubes?! Really?

The time finally came when I could try the cake she brought. OMG! So good! As soon as she posts that recipe I will be lifting it right off her website.

We had so much fun cooking and laughing together but the time came when she did have to get back home to her puppies. I loved learning so many new ways of cooking healthier. I love that she is so non-judgmental about my family’s food choices and is supportive of how I am incorporating her amazing recipes into my way of life. She is one of the sweetest, most gracious people I know and I am glad I can call her my friend. It really was a great evening.

~Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings

 

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Indian Saag Dip(A sequential installment from Kim Hastings, my photographer friend and, along with her vet husband, owner of Independence Veterinary Hospital, who decided on her own to cook her way through The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes Julie & Julia Style for her omnivorous family as a strategy for more healthy eating.)

I thought I would try a little Indian cooking today so I chose the Indian Saag Dip. I read through all of the ingredients (and there are a lot of them!) and checked through my spice cabinet to see what I needed. Well this led to a complete reorganization of my spices because I couldn’t find anything I was looking for even though I could have sworn it was there.

So I lined them up in alphabetical order and was surprised to see what I really had. I needed turmeric and cardamon so I went shopping. Turmeric was no problem to find but cardamon was a whole different story. Since starting this challenge I find myself seeking out spice aisles searching for spices I have never heard of. I firmly believe that some can only be found in a secret vegan underground to which I am not invited. Well I finally found cardamon but the price – wow! I kept searching til I found what appeared to be buds of it for $5 on the Asian food aisle. Jackpot! I will simply grind it down myself. I must say it did look a bit sketchy grinding buds down in my kitchen.

The recipe goes on to tell me to get my piece of crap food processor out again – please can I have a break from this for just one night? I throw in the tofu and soy milk (yes I broke down and bought the soy milk) and it says to scrape down the sides as needed. Well with my processor once you are lucky enough to lock it in, you don’t unlock it til it’s done. My friends don’t believe it can be this bad. They insist I am being a total drama queen about this so I videotaped it tonight. Once you see it you will understand.

Oh and by the way if any of you run into my husband please tell him I would like a food processor for my birthday. Now he will look at you with a deer-in-the-headlights kind of look but that is just because buying women appliances or cleaning equipment is prohibited in this household. He will think this is a trick. I have taught both my boys (and my husband) that unless the woman specifically asks for it, you do not offer it as a gift. This became a hard and fast rule after my younger son let it slip that they were going together to get me a vacuum cleaner for Christmas one year. They really didn’t understand my reaction to this. Needless to say I did not get a vacuum. But just tell my husband this time I really am asking for one ok?

Now moving on…once all the ingredients were in the pan, the aroma was fantastic. The flavors came together so well – it was a nice variation from the dips we usually make. I will definitely try this one again.

~Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings

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Krispy Kale(A sequential installment from Kim Hastings, my photographer friend and, along with her vet husband, owner of Independence Veterinary Hospital, who decided on her own to cook her way through The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes Julie & Julia Style for her omnivorous family as a strategy for more healthy eating.)

I have a huge, ugly confession to make. Let me explain.

Tonight I decided to give my family a break and feed them a regular dinner but I’m proud to say the veggie did have some thought put into it. However, don’t hate me – it was collards cooked the way my mom used to make them – with fat back. Ok that’s not the ugly confession. It’s coming.

While I was cooking I decided to try the Krispy Kale as a bit of a snack to munch on. One of my co workers had just talked about how amazing kale is when done this way. So why not try it. I had some kale left over for the turtle so I got it out, stemmed it and cut it up. The recipe was effortless and it was done (or possibly overdone, not sure) in 12 minutes. Now my confession.

Krispy Kale and AliI absolutely and without a doubt ….hate kale. I’m sorry but I have really tried! I have tried it three times now and have done the same thing each time: spit it out. I’m sorry but there are no nice words to describe that. I guess a little self discovery is also part of this journey. So my new truth is… I hate kale.

My dog, on the other hand, was horrified that I was “reverse eating” it. So I gave her some. She had no problem with it. About that time my son came home and I had him try it. Heck, he had eaten two helpings of it on Shrimp and Grits night. He will like it. His reaction was similar to mine except that now he was determined to do something about it. He admittedly loved kale and now he was out to prove it.

Krispy Kale and seasoningsSo he opened up the spice cabinet and starting pouring things on it. I watched while he tried it again…and again. He now said it was good but that I just hadn’t put enough flavor on it. So my dog and my son enjoyed the Krispy Kale while I learned a bit about myself today, but I promise not to avoid cooking kale in this challenge. After all I am doing this for the health of my family right? So they can eat it!

~Kim Howard Hastings

Kim Hastings

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Grits amd Greem with Mushroom Gravy(A sequential installment from Kim Hastings, my photographer friend and, along with her vet husband, owner of Independence Veterinary Hospital, who decided on her own to cook her way through The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes Julie & Julia Style for her omnivorous family as a strategy for more healthy eating.)

[Betsy’s note: this is the only time you will see “dead animals,” aka the shrimp, on this blog…that is, unless I “kill” one of my mischievious new pups for, oh, say, removing the other arm of my $1,200 vintage sofa…]

I took a huge risk today giving my grocery list for tonight’s recipe to my husband to include in his errands.  I chose Grits and Greens with Mushroom Gravy.  First thing out of his mouth was “Kale?!  Why?”  Ok I had to come up with something fast because in our house kale is strictly turtle food for our Russian Tortoise, Desiree.

“Well, first I feel like I need to give it a second chance (I hate it); everyone else seems to love it and it’s super cheap.”  I felt like that last point would seal the deal.  I waited.  “Why not collards?” he counters.   I pointed out how badly they stink up the house… and we’re done!  He’s getting the kale.  I thought we were in the clear until he asked what vegetable stock was.  Oh no!!  Thank God I didn’t add the nutritional yeast to his list.  I don’t even know what that’s for!  I’ll look that up later.

When he brings the kale in, we both just stand there staring at it.  I’m seriously having second thoughts.  He starts talking about how bitter it is but when I push, he admits that he has never really tried it.  So we both take a tiny bite of a leaf.  “Well it’s not bitter”, I say.  “True”, he says, “ but  it tastes very…. vegetable-y.”  So we decide, reluctantly, that we will share Desiree’s food for tonight’s dinner.

To be totally honest, I told my family we were having Shrimp and Grits with Greens and Gravy.  You mention Shrimp and Grits in my house and everyone is on board.  Since I don’t cook seafood well, I delegated that to my husband.

First step…grits!  LOVE!!!  I got those started because they take an hour.  Admittedly I have never put milk in grits but I’m following the recipe tonight…sort of.  So I used real milk instead of soy… guilty.   I just didn’t think coconut almond milk would taste good and I had no more room in the fridge for a third type of milk.  Oh, and since I didn’t get the nutritional yeast, I used Parmesan cheese.

Next step was mushroom gravy.  Easy enough until I saw that I had to get the dreaded food processor out…ugh! But I had no choice here.  It’s the only thing that will make white beans look like gravy.  I must confess that I had to lie and deceive a bit during this step.  There were two ingredients, rosemary and sherry, that, if my family knew I was using them, would probably head off to Taco Bell instead of show up to dinner.  So, when no one was looking, I quickly ran out and snipped a few sprigs of frozen rosemary from my garden.  (I only keep rosemary because it’s pretty).  Then I dusted off  the bottle of sherry and set it on the counter beside the twigs of rosemary.

Of course this is the moment my husband comes in and announces that he will start the shrimp now. Are you kidding me!  It was pretty comical then.  I’m trying to stand in front of the two offensive ingredients to block them from his view and convince him that I just need 10 more minutes. I begin analyzing the minutes required to bring everything together at the end. Men understand and respond well to this type of reasoning.  Thankfully it worked!  He left and I got the white beans and all the ingredients processed together into a beautiful gravy. Oh, and one more confession…I only used 1/8 teaspoon of rosemary instead of the 2 tablespoons arguing that mine was not truly fresh but very dry looking. Plus I only cussed out the food processor twice.  That’s a record.

Now it’s time to get the kale started.  I heated the oil in the wok, threw the stemmed and cut kale leaves in, and stirred them around; but I admit I had no clue what I was doing.  They ended up really chewy so I don’t think I cooked them enough, but I was really struggling with the fine line between green and bright green to test the doneness.

The final product was beautiful!  The grits tasted amazing and my guys never knew that the “gravy” was made of beans.  We plated it as we were instructed in the recipe with the greens first then the grits and gravy.  However my kale was so bad that we were soon scraping the grits and gravy off the greens and moving it over to cover the shrimp.  My son was the only one to eat the kale and I thought he was just being polite until he got up for a second helping of it.  Bless his heart!  Overall, thumbs up for the best shrimp and grits we have ever had!

~Kim Howard Hastings

Kim Hastings

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Kielbasa, Sauerkraut, White Bean and Kale SoupYield: 6 to 8 servings

With a blanket of snow about to cover parts of the East Coast, soup–especially a hardy, but not heavy, one like this–is in order.

I know what you are thinking, “Sauerkraut in a soup?  No thanks.”  Heck, lots of people don’t care for sauerkraut at all, never mind in soup.

But perhaps the highest endorsement I can give this soup is from my next door neighbor.  He tends to some “guy things” here at my house since my husband died in July and I return the favor with food.  He LOVED this soup and he joked about surprising himself with his appreciation for my plant-based dishes.

I trust you and yours–vegan or not–will share his appreciation.  Try it on a big “guy’s guy” and please let me know the verdict.

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

14 ounces keilbasa (I used Tofurky brand), sliced lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1/4 cup whole roasted garlic (I purchase from antipasto bar at grocery store)

14.5 ounce can sauerkraut, lightly rinsed, drained, and gently pressed

15 ounce can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon apple cider or malt vinegar

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

2 teaspooons dried dill weed

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 cups vegetable stock; or 4 cups water plus 4 regular-sized vegetable bouillon cubes; or 4 cups water plus 1 envelope dried vegetable soup mix (I used the latter because that’s what I had on hand)

6 yo 8 cups lightly packed fresh baby kale (or mature kale, roughly chopped or torn)

1/4 cup soy or coconut creamer (the sweetness balances all of the tangy and acidic flavors)

Optional Garnish: vegan sour cream and smoked paprika

In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high.  Add kielbasa and saute, stirring frequently, until it begins to develop crispy, golden-brown caramelized areas.  Add onion and continue sauteing and stirring until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients in order, except kale and creamer, bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat, and siummer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.  Stir in kale, just until wilted, and finish by adding creamer and heating through just before serving.  Ladle into mugs or bowls and serve topped with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

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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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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 RunningOnRealFood.com 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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Cheesy Artichoke Dip with Greens, Mushrooms and Water ChestuntsYield: approximately 6 cups

Baby, it’s cold outside!  At least it is here in Eastern VA where we are expected to experience the southern edge of the winter storm headed for New England.  A warning is scheduled from 7 p.m. this evening until 4 p.m. tomorrow.  Yippee….Snow Day!

When snow is on it’s way, there is only one thing to do: make sure there is delcious, nutritious, body-and-soul warming food ind the house.  And this dip (which is darn tasty in a baked potato) fits that bill.

Inspired by the Super Bowl–you have to have dip during that game of games, no?–and by a bountiful box of GO Veggie! vegan cheeses kindly sent to me to test, I incorporated three kinds of cheesiness to achieve the flavor and texture I was after.

I am a new fan of GO Veggie! cheeses, having only discovered that the company makes vegan products (look for the purple label) when they contacted me recently, as the Kroger where I shop only stocks the vegetarian varieties.  With nice mild flavor, texture, and meltability, all they lack is “stretch,” and I can live with that.  Find a store near you.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced (or 1/2 medium onion)

Sea salt

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1-8 ounce carton GO Veggie! Dairy-Free Chive and Garlic  Cream Cheese

1/2  to 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or dried oregano)

2-14 ounce cans artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained well, and chopped

3 cups coarsely chopped and lightly packed fresh mustard greens (feel free to use the greens of your choice, e.g. kale, spinach, Swiss Chard, etc.)

1-7 to 8 ounce cansliced  mushrooms, drained (I almost always use fresh everything, but canned are perfect for this)

1-8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained

1-8 ounce package GO Veggie! Dairy-Free Mozzarella Shreds

1/2 cup GO Veggie! Dairy-Free Parmesan Grated Topping, divided

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Garnish: smoked or plain paprika

Accompaniments: chips  or crackers of your choice (I bought the beet tortilla chips in the photograph in T. J. Maxx–tasty and such a pretty contrast with the green dip!)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add, garlic and saute, stirring, for about 30 seconds.  Add the cream cheese and Italian seasoning and stir until melted,lowering heat at any point if necessary.  Stir in artichoke hearts followed by greens, one cup at a time, allowing each cup to wilt before adding next cup.  Then stir in mushrooms, water chustnuts, mozzarella shreds, and 1/4 cup parmesan topping, stirring until mozzarella is completely melted.  Season to taste with additional sea salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper.  At this point, you may transfer into a greased casserole dish if you like, but I baked it right in the skillet.  Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan and sliced almonds.   Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with smoked or plan paprika and serve hot with chips or crackers.

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Chickpea, Sweet Potato, and Peanut Stew

Seriously, this soup will make you ‘wanna ‘holla…for more!  This is, quite honestly, one of the best soups–flavor, texture, color, etc.–that I have ever eaten…of mine or anyone else’s.

My recipe was inspired by a couple in recent culinary magazines.  Only, one of the recipes called for a whole cup of peanut butter.  I love peanut butter as much as the next gal but, honestly, that made me feel a little queasy just thinking about so much of such a rich ingredient.

So, I use a mere 1/4 cup.  That same recipe–or was it the other?–called for a making a sweet potato broth and using that in the stew.  If I can skip a step, I do, so I just made aromatics like onion and garlic plus the sweet potaot part of the soup.

Love!

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion (half a medium onion), diced

Sea salt

1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

2 cups vegetable stock

1-14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomoatoes with juice

1-15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1-15 ounce can coconut milk

1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Freshly ground black pepper

2 lightly packed cups coarsely chopped mustard greens

Juice of 1/2 medium lime

Garnish: lime zest and roasted and lightly salted peanuts

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes or until softened and translucent.  Add bell pepper and garlic and continue to saute and stir for about 3 more minutes.  Add sweet potato and stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Add all remaining ingrdients except greens and lime juice, bring to a simmer, and stir until peanut butter is melted and soup is heated through.  Stir in greens and cook just until wilted, but still bright green.  Add lime juice and serve hot garnished with lime zest and roasted and lightly salted peanuts.

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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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