Blooming Onion and Cabbage Indian Bhaji–Similar to Pakora (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 8 to 10

Bhaji, which is very similar to pakora, only made with water, is an addicting Indian street food and you will soon see why! Not only are they scrumptious, but they are simple to prepare.

Indian has long been one of my very favorite cuisines. My traditional-ish version can be pan fried in a skillet for more of a fritter appearance, as in the photo, or deep fried for more of a free-form appearance.

Either is divine with the former being just a tiny bit trickier to cook through without over-browning one side. That is easily solved, however, by not allowing the fritter to be too thick.

Blooming Onion and Cabbage Indian Bhaji

1 small onion halved and thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage (I purchase it already sliced)
1 teaspoon salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam marsala
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup water
Approximately 4 to 6 tablespoons oil for frying
Accompaniments: Your favorite chutneys, e.g. mango and cilantro-mint

Line a plate with paper towel. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, except oil and accompaniments, with a fork until completely blended. In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Using a tablespoon, dollop 5 similarly sized mounds of batter into oil, pressing gently on the tops to make approximately 1/2-in tall, but leave the form somewhat irregular. Cook for a couple of minutes, lowering heat if necessary, until golden brown. Flip and repeat. Remove to paper towel-lined plate and repeat process starting with heating 2 to 3 more tablespoons oil. Adjust heat as necessary during cooking process to prevent burning. Serve right away with chutneys of choice.

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Indian Spinach and Chickpeas (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 2 large servings or 3 to 4 with sides

Pantry and fridge staples and about 20 minutes are all you need to put together this creamy, fragrant, addicting, and super healthy dish that is sure to become a “staple.”

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 medium onion, cut into large dice

1 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon ground cardamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1-15.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 small can diced mild green chilies

2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach (about 4 lightly packed cups)

1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons vegan half-and-half (e.g. Silk or Ripple brand)

Optional garnish: lightly roasted and salted cashews

Optional accompaniment: cooked basmati rice

In a large cast iron skillet, bring salted water to a simmer. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and spices, and saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender. Add tomatoes and chilies, and heat through. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted. Add chickpeas and half-and-half, and simmer for 10 minutes or so until flavors are melded. Serve alone or with basmati rice.

#plantbasedIndianfood #veganbasedindianfood #vegancurry #plantbasedcurry #vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn

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Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

For the 18th (!) Annual Christmas, Chanukkah, Curry, and Cakes Party & Swap for some 25 of my girl tribe, I kept the menu simple, healthful, beautiful, and delicious.

This one time buffet dinner morphed into a cocktail party-swap a few years back and then, last year, into a moveable feast and swap featuring curried pumpkin soup.  Soup is self-serve from the stove, but I make it festive with a buffet of toppings.  This year’s tasty accompaniments were vegan blue cheese-chutney cole slaw, quartered persimmons, and vegan sugar cookies.  Oh, and wine. Lots of wine.

This year’s soup creation was superior to last and I am pleased to share it with you, as I wouldn’t change a thing.

Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

Yield: 10 cups

1- 29 ounce can pureed pumpkin

1-15.5 ounce can lite coconut milk

1-30 gram package Jaswant’s Kitchen Chana Masala seasoning packet or the equivalent (you may prefer less–it is spicy)

4 cups vegetable stock or broth

Toppings bar: grated coconut, sliced green onions, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries or cherries, etc.

Whisk together all ingredients except toppings in a large soup pan or Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through.  Serve topped as desired.

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Vegan Indian Chickpea, Spiralized Zucchini, and Cashew Salad

Yield: 8 servings

This beautiful protein-packed Indian spice-infused vegan salad is  my new summer crush. I want us to be together day and night.  And when we do, it’s difficult to cool us off.

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 1/2 ounces prepared Indian seasoning for red lentil dal (I use Jaswant’s Kitchen brand from Whole Foods, but feel free to substitute)

Juice of 1/2 large lemon or lime (I used a lemon)

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

4 cups spiralized zucchini (I purchase

2 cups raw cashews

1 can chipckpeas, rinsed and drained

6 celery hearts, diced

2 large green onions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced

 

Optional garnishes: halved tri-color cherry tomatoes, roasted and lightly salted cashew halves, fresh cilantro sprigs

In a small bowl, whisk together vegan mayo, spice mixtures (Jaswant’s come in two tiny pouches), lemon or lime juice, and cilantro.

In a large bowl, gently toss together remaining ingredients, spoon dressing over the top, and toos to combine.  Serve garnished as desired with tri-color cherry tomatoe halves, cashews, and/or fresh cilantro.

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Vegan Indian Channa Masala Chickpea Salad

Yield:  Serves 6 to 8

This favorite Indian chickpea dish just got chilled out.  Packed with layers of irresistible flavor and nutrition, it is my new summer crush.

Craving Indian food in the 95 degree recent heat wave, I wondered if I could get all of the flavor without the cooking process by stirring a prepared dry spice mix, meant to be simmered, into vegan mayo and using it as the dressing for a chickpea salad.

The answer is a resounding yes!

I chose Jaswant’s Kitchen brand from Whole Foods. It is tasty, vegan, gluten-free and, though rated only two chili peppers, it is still quite spicy.

In fact, that is how my chickpea salad came to include other ingredients and serve so many: I wanted to tame the spice.  In the end, it is perfectly balanced and all the better for the addition of spiralized veggies and raw cashews.

Note that most spice blends contain plenty of salt, so you won’t want to add any. And you will want to use raw unsalted cashews.

3/4 to1 cup vegan mayo
About 1 1/2 ounces Channa Masala seasoning or your favorite prepared Indian spice mix (be sure it is vegan; I use Jaswant’s Kitchen brand from Whole Foods, but use another flavor or brand if you prefer)
Optional: Juice of 1/2 large lime
2 cups roasted spiralized vegetables, cooled (I use a combination of butternut squash and turnip)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups raw cashew halves and pieces
6 celery hearts, finely diced
2 large green onions, thinly sliced (both white and green parts)
1 to 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped if desired
Garnishes: cherry tomatoes, shaved coconut, and/or cilantro sprigs

In a small bowl whisk together 3/4 cup mayo and seasoning mix. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients, add mayo mixture, and stir gently to combine. Incorporate remaining 1/4 cup mao if needed. Serve garnished as desired.

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Vegan Curried Chex Mix
This is Next Level Chex!

I am sure it is clear to all of us by now that I am obsessed, as I believe this is my fifth Chex Mix iteration in the last month.

But I have a good excuse for this one.  Sadly, a neighbor’s too-young husband passed away Sunday night and I wanted to stop by in a show of support, but not empty-handed.

However, knowing that, if she is anything like me, food has all but lost its appeal, I also knew that she would likely be hosting others who might feel differently. So, wanting to try an idea for a curried Chex Mix, this seemed like the perfect unfortunate occasion.

On the way home from Pilates-Barre, I stopped at Pat’s house on my former street just around the corner.  Finally,  cars weren’t spilling out of her driveway; in fact, the windows looked dark and I thought she wasn’t home.

But her daughter tearfully greeted me at the door, welcomed me into their cozy family room, and poured us a glass of wine while her mother retrieved her bourbon.   We proceeded to have the loveliest visit with which that Chex Mix would have gone perfectly. But Pat didn’t even know what was in the gift bag and I am glad she saved it…when I open a container of that stuff, regardless of the size, it becomes a single serving.

1/2 cup vegan butter

1 tablespoon vegan Indian tandoori paste (or your favorite prepared Indian sauce; sold in jars on the international aisles of most grocery stores)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 1/2 cups French’s crispy onions

1 1/2 cups potato stick snacks

1 1/2 cups lightly salted roasted cashews, halves or wholes

6 cups Cheerios

7 cups Chex Mix cereal (I purchase a mixed corn, rice, and wheat variety, but choose your favorite or combine as desired)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place butter in large roasting pan, slide into oven, and allow butter to melt.   Stir in tandoori paste and all spices to combine.   Then stir in remaining ingredients, one at a time, in order, to coat evenly with butter mixture.  Roast for 45 minutes,  stirring every 15. Turn off oven, open door, and allow mix to sit for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, allow mix to cool, and package in airtight containers.  (Then, since no doubt you have been sampling along the way, give it as gifts as fast as you can lest you eat it all!)

 

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Day 18: Indian Cauliflower with Black Mustard Seeds AND Orange Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette–“Cooking ‘The Blooming Platter Cookbook’ Julie & Julia Style”

Indian Cauliflower(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 decided to tackle two recipes. In the interest of full disclosure, my reason for this was that I had doubts about both dishes so I figured if I didn’t like the one then hopefully I would like the other.

So the first one is Indian Cauliflower with Black Mustard Seeds. Because I have put in my time at the grocery store spice displays, I had most of the spices needed…except for the elusive black mustard seed. I went to my usual stores and even went to Kroger which is out of my way, but I did it and got nothing. I even tried Target! I jokingly said that I could turn my own dang mustard seeds black – I’m a pro at burning things! So I ended up with regular mustard seeds. I followed along with the directions and while I am stirring the beautiful and now orange cauliflower (thanks to the turmeric), I was also stirring the “yellow” mustard seeds over high heat in the butter and oil.

I was feeling like a pretty accomplished cook stirring two pots at once and all of a sudden the mustard seeds started popping like popcorn – all over my arm and then all over the stove and counter tops! Who knew mustard seeds could do this?? There should have been a warning label! But seriously who tries popping mustard seeds? I quickly took it off the heat and looked in the pot and the remaining mustard seeds were, in fact, black. Well mission accomplished! There they are – black mustard seeds!

Orange Salad with Cumin VinaigretteThe recipe then said to “drizzle” the mustard seed mixture over the cauliflower – mine sorted of plopped over it in chunks but I spread them out to look like it was drizzled. While this one cooled a little I started on my next recipe – the Orange Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette. I gathered all the ingredients and discovered that the olives I had purchased especially for this from the olive bar at the grocery store were half gone. My husband admitted he just couldn’t help himself. Ok so now I am cutting the recipe in half – not a problem! (I knew they wouldn’t eat it anyway).

This recipe came together with no mishaps in about five minutes. It could not have been easier. The presentation was really pretty with the orange and green together. Now for the taste test. The cauliflower was good but it lacked the pizzazz of the other recipes according to my family. This was totally my fault for not using the correct mustard seeds and then only half the amount seeing as how the other half of the seeds were spread around my kitchen. The orange salad was really good but very intense so I decided I would add spinach leaves and make it more of a traditional salad. My guys would have nothing to do with this one (fruits have no place in their salads) so you’ll just have to take my word on it.

And…if I ever see black mustard seeds I am buying them and trying this again- as long as they are not the price of cardamon or saffron that is.

~Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings

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Day 15: Indian Saag Dip–“Cooking ‘The Blooming Platter Cookbook’ Julie & Julia Style”

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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Day 2: Vegan Indian Cauliflower Wraps–Cooking “The Blooming Platter Cookbook” Julie & Julia Style

Day 2--Indian Cauliflower Wraps(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.)

 

Tonight I decided to stick with cauliflower since I got a deal on them. So it’s Indian Cauliflower Wraps for dinner (and yes there is a big pot of chili on the stove so my guys don’t feel deprived).

I read through the recipe and saw “vegan mayo” – now if my family sees vegan mayonnaise in the fridge they will be on to me in a heartbeat, so ix-nay on the egan-vay! Then I see cilantro. My husband has a meltdown when he catches a whiff of cilantro so I’m switching to parsley. This morning I noticed that my parsley was still thriving in my herb garden so I ran out and chopped a bunch of it before the snow hit this afternoon.

Day 2--Indian Cauliflower Wraps--prepOk confession time. What I did not mention yesterday was that when I had cut my cauliflower steaks so beautifully and had them oiled and salted waiting to go into the oven, I turn around and my husband was covering them with “Zip It’, a powerful ghost pepper seasoning I found in Texas. Now my husband will tell you that I “over reacted”. Ok fine. Looking back that is probably a nice way of putting it. Anyway, tonight I separated one out for him to “ruin” as much as he liked.

With that compromise done, the rest was fairly easy. I admit I had to read it several times to keep the steps in order but I do that with all new recipes.

These wraps turned out so amazingly delicious that I drove one over to my son’s house two blocks away so he could experience them with us. Now the entire family is a big fan of this recipe!

~Kim Howard Hastings

Kim Hastings



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