Beautiful bright greens deserve a special place on the holiday table. And my “creamed” version of my favorite winter green–kale–is practically virtuous, as its creaminess comes from pureed white beans. Rich and decadent tasting, your guests will be none the wiser.
As you can see in the photo, when I created the recipe initially, it was to stuff inside an enormous (vegan) tempura-battered onion ring from Ruth’s Chris in a “Restaurant Redux.” When you follow the link, you will not only discover the recipe but an explanation for why I was in a steak house. It wasn’t to eat steak, that’s for sure! And, sadly, not long after I created this recipe, Ruth’s Chris ditched their tempura battered onion rings in favor of breaded ones, which are not vegan. Probably just as well; those were a splurge.
But my “Creamed” Kale is just as tasty and far more healthy served in a pretty casserole dish, ramekins, or stuffed in the likes of acorn squash. Any way you serve it, you can’t go wrong with this delicious and nutritious–not to mention super simple–embrace of one of winter’s finest gifts.
Fresh raw kale is the base of this lovely salad chock full of lightly caramelized dried fruit and smoked almonds, all glistening from just the right amount of a savory-sweet-tart pomegranate vinaigrette. The most virtuous dish on the Thanksgiving table may just be the tastiest too!
I served this salad last year and, though the whole menu was scrumptious, I typically don’t duplicate. But this dish made the cut and I will be serving it again!
Yield: 2 healthy servings (easily doubles)
Sundays always have me thinking about school lunches for the work week ahead. Wait. Who am I kidding? Sundays are hardly the only day I am thinking about nutritious and delicious school lunches that will fuel me throughout some long (but gratifying) days at the high school where I teach art, but not over-fill me. Our new breathless schedule this year leaves no time for being sluggish!
Last year, we had alot (alot!) more planning time, so I was able to walk down to the cafeteria and purchase lunch on a daily basis: hummus, raw vegetables, cooked greens and baked sweet potatoes being some of my favorites. But this year, due to district cost saving measures (larger and more classes taught by fewer teachers = less dollars), I had to figure out a different system because I literally don’t have time. (The common refrain from teachers is that we never see each other anymore.) So far, I have been packing my little “bento box” storage containers with a half a bagel spread with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for my morning snack, some kind of vitamin-packed leftover for mid-day–sometimes two kinds–and an apple, and it is working out just fine. Oh, and I start my day (at 5:30a.m.) with a glass of diet cranberry juice at home and a glass of unsweetened soymilk in a travel cup. I also keep a carton in the fridge at school.
One week’s leftoves included this Tempeh and Kale Filling which was ”tempting” hot in a taco and a quesadilla. But I can also attest to it being quite scrumptious cold right out of the carton! So I hope you might find uses for it in your busy week!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small or half of a large onion, diced
1 package tempeh (any flavor)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (Chipotle for a spicier flavor; Ancho for a milder one)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces kale, rinsed *thick stems removed, and torn into bite size pieces (I add it to the skillet slightly damp to provide more moisture to the mixture)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon light miso
1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 cup vegan sour cream
4 ounces Roma tomatoes, diced
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and saute, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Crumble tempeh into the skillet, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, and pepper, and saute, stirring almost continually, until tempeh is nicely browned in places. Add kale and garlic and saute, stirring, until kale is slightly wilted, but still bright green. In a small cup or bowl, whisk together light miso, Liquid Aminos, nutritional yeast, and vegan sour cream, and stir into tempeh mixture until completely incorporated. Stir in tomato, remove from heat and use immediately as a filling in warm, soft taco shells or in a pan-griddled quesadilla. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.
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.
Don’t get me wrong: our cafeteria manager goes out of her way to make sure I have nutritious, fresh food to enjoy every day (usually, hummus with lots of raw veggies, or creamy baked sweet potatoes and cooked greens). But I’ve never seen anything like my Eggplant Stack in the lunchroom!
Born of ingredients from the farmer’s market, along with some white beans, this recipe is one that is scrumptious as is, but can be adapted a million different ways. My baked breaded eggplant is the base for your own imagination to take flight.
The trick to uniformly golden brown breaded eggplant slices that require no egg wash and no frying is a light coat of vegan mayo in place of the wash (which also adds great flavor!), and breadcrumbs that are toasted stovetop before being adhered to the eggplant. This America’s Test Kitchen trick prevents the eggplant from getting done before the coating gets brown enough.
If you prepare it as pictured, the key to this dish is to have my Beet Green and Roasted Almond Pesto and my Zucchini-Rosemary Salsa (recipe follows) made athead so the dish goes together quickly. Although, you have a half hour while the eggplant bakes to make the pesto and salsa if need be.
*2-8 inch eggplants, ends trimmed, sliced into 1/3-inch slices (approximately 8 slices total, 2 to 3 per person)
3 to 4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (about 2 teaspoons per slice )
Approximately 2 cups Panko bread crumbs, toasted in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until golden brown, and transferred to a shallow bowl or cake pan
1/2 cup diced yellow or red onion
2-15.5 ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup Beet Green Pesto
Approximately 1 cup Zucchni-Rosemary Salsa (recipe follows)
Garnish: basil or rosemary sprigs
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. *Taste a little of the raw eggplant and, if bitter, lightly salt the both sides of the slices and arrange them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse and pat the eggplant dry. Also rinse and dry the baking sheet, and either line it with Silpat or coat it well with non-stick cookng spray. Arrange the eggplant slices on the sheet, an inch or so apart. Spread about 1 teaspoon of vegan mayo on tops of all eggplant slices, and then place each, mayo-side down, in bowl of crumbs, pressing crumbs gently to adhere, and patting on more crumbs if desired. Place crumb-side down on baking sheet. Repeat with more mayo and crumb son opposite sides. Spray tops of eggplant lightly with non-stick spray and bake approximately 30 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if they start to get too brown.
While eggplant cooks, heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until softened. Add beans, stir to combine well, and heat through. Add Beet Green Pesto, and do the same. To serve, place two to three eggplant slices on each serving plate, top with 1/4th of the beans, dividing between slices, and then with 1/4th of the Zucchini-Rosemary Salsa. Delicious served warm or at room temperature. Garnish with a sprig of basil or, to stay truest to the dish, rosemary.
Grilled Zucchini-Rosemary Salsa
This quick and breezy Mediterranean-flavored salsa is the embodiment of summer and made entirely from a very few ingredients almost entirely gathered up at my go-to farm stand.
Besides topping the Eggplant Stack, I recommend it over pasta or simply served on crostini as a kind of bruschetta or with pita chips.
2-6 inch zucchini sliced lengthwise into quarters
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
16 cherry tomatoes, quartered (cut smaller if your tomatoes are larger than cherries)
1/3 cup finely diced yellow or red onion
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: pinch red pepper flakes
Oil a grill pan and heat over medium-high. Lightly salt zucchini and lay in pan, grilling two to three minutes on each side or until nice grill marks develop and zucchini is crisp-tender. Cool just until it is easily handled, and then dice. Combine zucchini and all remaining ingredients in a non-reactive bowl, being sure to add garlic and fresh rosemary to the grilled zucchini while it is still warm, and toss gently to completely combine. Serve immediately or chill, covered until serving time.
But don’t let the word “greens” fool you. The color ends up quite appealingly dark with reddish undertones very much like an olive paste. Why? Here’s your art lesson for the day: a color (like green from the leaves) when combined with its complement directly opposite on the color wheel (in this case, red from the stems), will produce a neutral.
You can, of course, use this zippy pesto tossed with pasta or spooned over polenta. But it has an assertive pungent, and utterly delicious flavor that lends itself to small bites like bruschetta. A little stirred into or spooned on top of mashed white beans or chick peas on grilled or toasted ciabatta bread would be divine. It is also the perfect nosh spooned over hummus, prepared or homemade, and served with pita triangles or chips.
But that’s just for starters. I would love to know how YOU enjoy it!
1 bunch beet greens (greens plus about 3 inches of the stems), rinsed and patted dry (I use the greens from a bunch of 7 to 8 beets about 2 to 3 inches in diameter
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 large lemon
1 tablespoon tamarind syrup (sold in Middle Eastern Markets, but if you can’t find it, substitute pomegranate syrup or even maple syrup)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cut greens roughly into thirds (I use kitchen shears) and place in food processor with garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Add almonds and continue pulsing until very finely chopped. Then, with motor running, stream in olive oil, lemon juice and tamarind syrup. Turn motor off, check for seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste, pulsing a few more times just to combine. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
Yesterday, at the farm stand, gazing lovingly at the fresh greens grown right on the property, I suddenly remembered that I had never posted this recipe. I made it with spinach, but it would be just as good with Swiss Chard or kale.
Fondly dubbed by one guest as “the green thing” at my friend, Jo Grice Barrows’, potluck appetizer birthday party, this dip was a hit! And it was by NO means a vegan crowd!
I came home from school on a Friday after a busy week near the end of the academic year, the day of the party, and it started pouring. I thought to myself, “I REALLY don’t want to get out; I wonder if we have ANYTHING on hand from which I could make an appetizer?”
A scan of the pantry and fridge yielded smoked almonds and fresh baby spinach. Voila! Vegan Smoked Almond and Spinach Spread was born. And its consistency makes it also perfect for a pesto.
This crowd-pleasing appetizer could not go together more more easily or more quickly. I whipped it up and still had time to walk both dogs their typical mile each once the rain stopped. When I told my husband I created the spread from what we had in the house, he said with mock incredulity, “You made it out of dog food and Pill Pockets?” Funny guy.
You will love this spread even if you have LOTS more ingredients on hand.
2 cups smoked almonds
4 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons water
2 large cloves garlic, halved
2 teaspoons fresh fresh lime juice (lemon is tasty too)
1 teaspoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon natural sugar
Optional pinch sea salt
Accompaniments: crackers, toasts, bagel chips, fresh vegetable “dippers,” etc.
Place smoked almonds in a food processor, and pulse until nuts are finely chopped. Add spinach, and pulse a few more times until spinach is finely chopped and mixture just begins to hold together like a paste. Add remaining ingredients and continue pulsing until all ingredients are incorporated and mixture reaches a thick, slightly textured, spreadable consistency. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Refrigerate, covered, until serving time. Serve in a bowl surrounded by the accompaniments of your choice. I tucked a little yellow parasol on the side since the weather was warm, but you can garnish however you please.
[If you want to skip the back story, simply click HERE for the recipe on One Green Planet.]
Somehow, my planning hadn’t been very good, as we were about to leave town for five days and I had two bunches of hardy Red Russian Kale and 1 of beautiful rainbow Swiss Chard in our fridge.
Knowing it wouldn’t keep, I thought about making a pesto to freeze, but lately I have been Jonesin’ for Indian food big-time. So, I decided that if I made a very thick saag without anything that doesn’t freeze perfectly, like coconut milk, I could pop it in the freezer and enjoy when we returned home.
Not only did it freeze beautifully, but it tasted wonderful before and after freezing with a texture to match!
This amount of greens and onions sounds like a mountain, but it only makes 4 to 6 servings because I chop the greens so finely and it all cooks down significantly.
I served this Indian Cashew Spinach over grilled tempeh, but it would be good over cooked Basmati rice or with just about anything, including a spoon!
For the recipe, visit my pals at One Green Planet by clicking HERE.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: OGP has recently gone through a website redesign, are aware that advertisements sometimes prevent folks from accessing recipes and are working to remedy the situation. PLEASE, if you experience this, let me know via comment or email and I will send you the recipe directly as well as let them know. The last thing I want is to put this much effort into recipes only to find out that interested cooks can’t access them. Thanks so much!)
Here in Eastern coastal Virginia spring has sprung and the Pungo Strawberry Festival is a thing of the past. But, I hope wherever you live, you still have access to fresh local strawberries and spring onions… or perhaps you aren’t the stickler for seasonal ingredients that I tend to be.
There were some delays getting this recipe published on One Green Planet because they questioned the quality of the photo, and rightly so. Earlier this spring, I came home from yoga and the farmer’s market one Saturday, whipped this dish up for lunch, and it was so tasty that I hastily snapped a photo of it despite less than optimum lighting conditions. After reviews and a protracted email exchange–all necessary for quality control–we decided to just go with it in the end. But, alas, by then it was summer!
Sure, I could retake the photo, but I’d have to buy the strawberries and spinach out of season. For now, we’ll leave it as is with my apologies for the quality of the photo but no apologies for the recipe which I think you will love…now or next spring!
Click HERE for my beautiful and simple recipe.