The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

Recipes for 'Vegan Main Dishes'

Middle Eastern MigasYield: 4 to 6 servings

This long, snowy winter here at the beach finds me loving the weather, actually, and hungry for warming and hearty, but still healthy, fare.

After a recent trip to Organic Depot, I found myself with three different kinds of Tofurky Sausage, including Spinach Pesto.  How did that happen?  I rolled around a number of ideas, none of which sounded just right until I thought of a Middle Eastern take on my beloved migas, substituting pita bread for the tortillas, chick peas for the black beans, etc.

Plus, these days,I seem to slip bitter winter greens into almost everything, and this dish was no different.  Packed full of vitamins, pungent mustard greens turned out to be the perfect flavor and color counterpoint.

And don’t leave out the lemon zest!  The complex depth of the spices in this dish and the slightly sweet peppadew sauce needs it for brightness and a little tangy zip.


12 peppadew peppers, drained (I purchase them on the “olive bar” at a chain grocery store, Kroger to be specific)

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons tahini

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Zest of 1/2 large lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.  Set aside 4 tablespoons for garnish and reserve remainder for migas.



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

Sea salt

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 whole piece pita bread, plain or whole wheat, torn into bite-size pieces

8 ounces vegan link sausage, sliced (homemade or prepared; I use Tofurky brand Spinach Pesto flavored)

4 ounces mustard greens, coarsely torn or chopped

1/4 cup whole pistachios

Zest of 1/2 of large lemon

Topping: unsweetened vegan yogurt (or sour cream, in a pinch), and the 1/4 cup sauce set aside

Optional garnish(es):  lemon slices, pistachios, paprika

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high.  Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and spices and saute, stirring, for 3o seconds.  Add bell pepper, and saute, again stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until pepper is slightly softened.  Add pita bread, and saute, stirring, for a couple of minutes.  Then add sausage and saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until it starts to brown in spots.  Add mustard greens on top and gradually fold in, allowing them to wilt as they heat.  Once incorporated, add reserved sauce (still leaving 1/4 cup for garnish), pistachios and lemon zest, stirring well to incorporate and heat through.  Serve topped with a dollop of vegan yogurt on each serving and a drizzle of the remaining 1/4 cup of sauce, divided evenly among plates.  Garnish each serving, if desired, with a lemon slice, a few pistachios and/or  a sprinkle of paprika.

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Recipe: Baked Swiss Chard (or Kale) and Sweet Potato Spring Rolls with Anise-Scented Sage-Butter SaucePublished on One Green Planet, my recipe for spring rolls with a twist is perfect for the Christmas holidays.

Not Asian in flavor–except for the hint of anise–they are, however, a celebration of everything I love about fall and winter cooking and eating.

Kale, sweet potatoes, anise and sage combine in these cute little packages that could easily be served as an entree or an appetizer.

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Butternut-Squash-Lasagna-1-800x600For my first two “Countdown” posts–Day 7 and, now, Day 6–I decided to address the Thanksgiving main dish, as it can be the trickiest for vegans, it seems.  Nothing against “Tofurky” necessarily, but it has never been what I craved to grace the center of our Thanksgiving buffet.

This dish, on the other hand, is, to me, Thanksgiving personified.  A rich and creamy–but healthy!–layered amalgamation of many of my favorite flavors of fall, this lasagna is THE BEST I have ever eaten, much less created.  Wait, I think it’s the only lasagna I have ever created.  I guess I figured I just couldn’t do any better!

This link will take you to my original post which includes a hyperlink to One Green Planet who generously published the recipe.  Your soon-to-be favorite lasagna is just two clicks away!

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Acorn-Squash-Stuffed-with-Brown-Rice-and-Greens-Stovetop-Casserole-496x600For the next week leading up to my favorite holiday of the year–a feast that embodies the grateful life–I am going to post some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, one per day.

My hope is that you might find them to be perfect embodiments of how much we have to be thankful for.

This recipe for acorn squash stuffed with a creamy stovetop rice-and-greens casserole seems to be a favorite of the generous folks on Pinterest, and is so lovely–presented in it’s own edible bowl–that it could easily be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal.  But whether your serve it as an entree or one of the many sides that seem to characterize this holiday, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

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Maharaja Mung Beans and Kale (with Sweet Potato Stack Option)Yield: 6 servings

This Indian stew-like melange is so flavorful and satisfying that it is absolutely divine on its own, perhaps served with basmati rice, some cashews and maybe a little fresh cilantro.  However, I can attest to it being luscious eaten cold right out of a carton!

For an exquisite–but super-easy presentation–use it as the filling in my Sweet Potato Stack.  Though drizzling an Indian dish with maple syrup may seem out of character, there is something about the hint of maple combined with the other ingredients that is absolute autumnal perfection!

Maharaja Mung Beans and Kale :

6 cups water

Sea salt

2 cups mung beans (rinse, pick over, bring to a boil, let sit for 30 minutes and then simmer 45 minutes more)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, and leaves torn into bite size pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon Amchur (dried mango) powder (optional; you may substitute lemon zest, but it’s not quite the same)

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (or mace)

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 large Roma tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup thick coconut milk

In a covered 4-quart saucepan, bring water and salt to simmering over medium-high heat.  Add mung beans, turn off heat, let sit for 30 minutes, and then return heat to medium-high, place lid ajar, and simmer beans for about 45 minutes or until almost all of liquid is evaporated, but beans are still very moist.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.  Add kale by handfuls, stirring and sauteeing until slightly wilted before adding the next handful.  Stir in garlic and all remaining ingredients except tomatoes and coconut milk and saute, stirring, until heated through.  Stir this mixture thoroughly into the mung beans followed by tomatoes and coconut milk.  Heat through, stirring often, and serve immediately as is or in the Sweet Potato Stack.


Sweet Potato Stack:

Yield: 4 appetizer servings of 2 stack per person

2 slender sweet potatoes, baked (in a conventional oven or microwaved), cooled enough to handle, skin removed, and each sliced into about 8 1/2-inch slices

Generous 1/2 cup Maharaja Mung Beans and Kale, heated

4 teaspoons maple syrup

Garnish: 4 tablespoons chutney or the topping of your choice (I used 4 teaspoons prepared mint chutney plus 8 teaspoons chopped grilled apples because I had both on hand)

Optional: tiny pinches of sea salt as a “finishing salt”

Place 2 sweet potato slices on each plate.  Top with rounded tablespoons of mung bean mixture and remaining 8 sweet potato slices.  Drizzle each stack with about 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup and then top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of chutney or 1/2 teaspoon of prepared mint chutney and a teaspoon of chopped grilled apples as in the photograph.

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DSCN2075Yield:  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.


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Robin Robertson--portrait

Based on Actor’s Studio host’s James Lipton’s famous “Q & A”–after the Proust Questionnaire–“Vegan Q & A Tuesday” is The Blooming Platter’s  first Tuesday feature on a creative force in the vegan culinary world.  Read more about “Q & A Tuesday” HERE.


Featured Force: 

Robin Robertson

(See below for Robins’s Linguine with Thai Pesto recipe.)

Robin Robertson has written more than twenty cookbooks, including the bestsellers Quick-Fix Vegan, Vegan Planet, Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, Vegan Fire & Spice, Nut Butter Universe, and One-Dish Vegan. A longtime vegan and former restaurant chef, she writes the Global Vegan column for VegNews Magazine and has written for Vegetarian Times, Cooking Light, Natural Health, and other magazines. Robin lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her website is

1. What is your favorite word?

Amuse Bouche.

2. What is your least favorite word?


3. What turns you on?

Preparing a special meal for friends.

4. What turns you off?

Being out of a needed ingredient I can’t find locally — especially when craving a certain recipe.

5. What sound or noise do you love?

“Mmmmmm…..” (when someone eats my food)

6. What sound or noise do you hate?

The crash of a glass or plate falling – especially when full of drink or food.

7. *What makes you curse in the kitchen?

Burning my arm on a hot pan usually does the trick.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I’d like to own a B &B (but only if I didn’t have to do all the work myself!)

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Anything that involves numbers.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

*Lipton’s question #7 is always “What is your favorite curse word?”–and the answers are always colorful– but I reworded it since this is a “family show.”

Good job!

Robin Robertson--Linguine with Thai pesto

Robin’s Linguine with Thai Pesto

Redolent of garlic, lemongrass, and pungent herbs, this Asian-style pesto makes a fabulous fusion dish when combined with linguine. Most of these ingredients, including the slender, hot Thai chile, are available in supermarkets. Thai basil can be found in Asian markets, as can any of the other ingredients that your regular market may not stock. To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta or rice noodles. This recipe is from Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson © 2013.  Used with permission.


Gluten-Free Option

Soy Free

Serves 4


2 large cloves garlic

1 Thai bird chile, halved lengthwise and seeded

1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, chopped

1 teaspoon natural sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup Thai basil leaves

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1/3 cup peanut butter

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

12 ounces linguine

1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts

Combine the garlic, chile, lemongrass, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process to a paste. Add the basil, cilantro, and parsley and process until finely ground. Add the peanut butter, water, and lime juice and blend thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

Cook the linguine in a large pot of salted water just until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the water.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding a little of the hot pasta water, if necessary, to thin the sauce. Garnish with peanuts and serve immediately.


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DSCN1667Baked, rather than steamed OR fried–and seasoned with sage and anise–who knew what a lovely marriage that is?–these simple and sensational spring rolls are like little gifts to your palate!

Find my recipe at One Green Planet.

BTW, they are quick too, as they bake a mere 4 minutes for a texture transformation!

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DSCN2000With fresh Smashed ‘Buttah Beans in the fridge following a trip to the farmer’s market, some of my new homemade goat cheese on hand for another purpose, some freshly made Smoky Nooch-Roasted Pepitas, AND some south’ren salsa that came as a gift, the creation of this super easy quesadilla was all but inevitable.


Yield: 1 serving (easily multiplies)

1/2 teaspoon vegan butter  (I use Earth Balance)

1-6 to 8-inch whole wheat or flour tortilla

1/4 cup smashed butter beans (I whip cooked butter beans with vegan butter, fresh minced sage, and sea salt and pepper to taste)

1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons Vegan Goat “Cheese” (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon salsa, prepared or homemade  (for this recipe I like a southern-inspired variety like Georgia Peach and Vidalia Onion)

2 teaspoons Smoky Nooch-Roasted Pepitas

Garnish: fresh sage sprig

To make each quesadilla, melt 1/2 tablespoon vegan butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high.  Spread half of  tortilla first with 1/4 cup goat cheese then with butter beans.  Fold in half and saute 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Top with remaining 2 teaspoons of goat cheese, salsa, and pepitas.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh sage and serve immediately.  (Note: you may top with 2 teaspoons of vegan sour cream if you prefer.)

Vegan Goat Cheese

14 ounces extra firm tofu

2 tablespoons light miso

2 tablespoons beer

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Sea salt to taste

Process all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until completely combined and creamy-stiff.  Chill, covered, in refrigerator until read to use/serve.  (When serving as an appetizer, may be formed into balls or logs and rolled in finely chopped cashews or parsley.)


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DSCN1204Yield: 6-8 servings

Shame on me…to my knowledge, I have never eaten, much less cooked authentic Brazilian cuisine.  I don’t even know why, as I am naturally curious about all cuisines.
However, recently, my beloved cousin and hiking buddy has had to spend a lot of time in Brazil for work.  So, on a recent Sunday morning, when I was flipping the TV channels around and trying to wake up, an episode of Sara Moulton’s “Weeknight Meals” caught my attention, as her featured guest was Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, a Brazlian chef and cookbook author.  Their theme was “A Trip to Brazil.”
The food they prepared was hardly vegan, but a chicken and shrimp stew called, Xim Xim de Galinha caught my eye;  it  looked mouthwatering and seemed easy to veganize.  It was!  I think it was the ground cashews and peanuts plus the coconut milk that captured my fancy, as I am a sucker for any recipe featuring nuts and coconut milk.  This one held particular appeal because it was different than the Thai and Indian dishes I love to prepare.
If recipe derivation interests you, here are the main alterations that I made to Moreinos Schwartz’s recipe (if you could care less, just click HERE now!):
  1.  Substituted cauliflower florets for shrimp and thawed Morningstar Farms “Meal Starters” Chick’n Strips for Chicken (seasoned seitan would be a fine substitute).  HOWEVER, so that I didn’t have part of a head of cauliflower around, I basically reversed the amount of shrimp and chicken, using only 1/2 pound of faux chicken (that is how it is packaged) and a 3 to 4 pound head of cauliflower (which is an average size head).
  2. I didn’t pat the cauliflower dry as the recipe says to do with the chicken, so I ended up needing to cook it 8 minutes (instead of 6) in order for it to brown nicely.
  3. I used lightly salted instead of unsalted nuts (and still added salt).
  4. I don’t cook with tomato paste much, so instead of using fresh tomatoes, which aren’t in season, and the paste, I just used a can of organic fire roasted diced tomatoes in place of both, which was exactly the 1 1/2 cups called for.
  5. I substituted faux chicken stock for chicken stock.
  6. Because I couldn’t find dende oil here (and the shipping cost to mail order a bottle was exorbitant), which supposedly has a fabulously indescribable taste and orange color, I quadrupled the amount of turmeric and paprika (I used smoked paprika) specified in the recipe for a total of 1 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika.

Thanks to Alisa Fleming and Go Dairy Free for publishing my “Vegan Brazilian ‘Chicken,’ Cauliflower, Peanut, Cashew & Coconut Milk Stew” on her popular website!

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