Cheese Grits & Sausage Casserole with Spinach (vegan/plant-based)

This luscious casserole would be just as at home at a Southern style dinner on the grounds as it would on a fancy brunch or dinner party table. It just depends on how you serve it: disposable foil pan or fine china with a garnish.

2 cups unsweetened soy milk

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup stone ground grits

4 tablespoons plant-based butter, divided (I like Miyoko’s)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Amimos

1 1/2 cups grated plant-based cheddar

1 small onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 pound plant-based sausage, crumbled or diced depending on type (I like Gimme Lean for this)

3 to 4 cups loosely packed baby spinach

Optional garnish: chopped parsley, pecans, and tiny or diced tomatoes

*Preheat oven to 350゚. Spray an 8 or 9 inch casserole dish with nonstick spray. In a medium saucepan, bring unsweetened soy milk and vegetable stock to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in grits and 1 tablespoon butter along with salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper and Liquid Aminos. Cook, stirring frequently, using a whisk if necessary to break up lumps, for 15 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to keep at a very low simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter, add onion, bell pepper, and a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring frequently until soft. Lower heat if necessary. Add sausage, breaking up as needed, and cook a few minutes, stirring very frequently, until sausage begins to brown. Turn off heat.

Stir cheese and spinach into grits mixture. Cover to facilitate wilting and melting. Pour grits mixture over sausage mixture and stir well to combine. Transfer to prepared pan, smooth top, sprinkle with remaining half cup cheese, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Garnish if desired and serve immediately or cool, cover, and refrigerate.

*If you prefer, you can stir all of cheese into grits and not bake casserole.

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Best White Bean and Kale Soup (vegan, plant-based, low-calorie, & low fat)

Yield: 4 servings

White Bean and Kale soup sounds so ho-hum, right? But this is the best I have ever had, much less made. And I find myself craving it. It is rivaled by its inspiration created by my dear friend, Sharon Clohessy, and enjoyed by her Solo Stove in front of her charming yellow beach cottage.

I started feeling poorly on the drive over to her house on a recent fall evening and, apologetically declined food and definitely wine. After a bit, though, I asked to try just a little soup. The warm, mildly fragrant silkiness of it was like good medicine. And when I finished that, I asked for a little more.

Sharon used 2 cans of Northern White Beans, one pureed for the base. I used pureed cooked cauliflower instead to produce a silky base that is still luscious but even lower in calorie. And its flavor is sweet and earthy. I actually used a bag of cauliflower hash mix which includes a modest amount of carrot and celery and lends subtle layers of earthy flavor.

For seasoning, Sharon cleverly used pesto. I only had olive tapenade on hand, and 2 tablespoons was all the added flavor this soup needed.

Previously, I tended to use the baby variety of kale for any recioe requiring greens, but it cooks away to almost nothing. Massaging the more sustantial curly kale leaves, as she did, takes just a few minutes, and is well worth the smidgen of extra effort before tearing the leaves into small pieces.

Best White Bean and Kale Soup

Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced or minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
16 ounces chopped cauliflower or cauliflower hash mix which also contains carrots and celery
1 cup water
4 cups vegetable stock
1-15 ounce can drained Northern White Beans
1 small bunch curly kale, leaves massaged with your fingers as you rinse them, and torn into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons vegan pesto or olive tapenade

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and salt, and saute, stirring frequently, until slightly softened; adjust heat as necessary. Add cauliower and do the same. Add water and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft, just a few minutes. Puree in large food processor, return to pot, stir in remaining ingredients, and simmer over medium heat until kale is tender. Adjust seasoning with salt. Serve in mugs (my choice) or bowls.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #plantbasedwhitebeanandkalesoup #veganwhitebeanandkalesoup #plantbasedsoup #vegansoup
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Vegan Smoked Cheese Grits
(with the topping of your choice)

cheese-gritsYield: approximately 4 modest servings

The last couple of months finds me joyfully experimenting with vegan dishes my new partner, Bob–a meatatarian–and I can share. There are some dishes, like these grits, with which we enjoy tinkering together; and they were a hit, though Bob topped his with something we will not mention on this site. 😉

Bob is very into balanced flavors and it was his idea to drizzle the dish with the maple syrup even though this is a savory dish. His suggestion was genius.

As for cheese, use any you prefer for a total of 8 to 9 ounces.  I love the smoky flavor, but it’s not necessary for a delectable finished dish.

Vegan Cheesy Grits (with the topping of your choice)

4 cups water
1 cup stone ground yellow grits
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large cloves garlic, minced
*2 ounces grated vegan Parmesan
*3 ounces vegan cheddar
*4 ounces vegan smoked gouda
1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos
2 to 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Accompaniment: Sauteed vegetables of your choice (I sauteed shredded zucchini and yellow squash and a little kale in olive oil with minced garlic)

Garnishes: maple syrup and roasted and lightly salted nuts or seeds, e.g. pumpkin seeds

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring lightly salted water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and stir in grits and garlic. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. During the last 5 minutes or so, stir in remaining ingredients except sauteed veggies and garnishes. Serve topped with those veggies and the optional drizzle of maple syrup plus a sprinkle of roasted nuts or seeds.

Note: I purchase the cheeses at Whole Foods.

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Vegan Potato Chip-Encrusted Baked “Chicken” Salad Sandwich–Think Vegan Chicken Casserole in Sandwich Form

Potato Chip-Crusted Chicken Salad SandwichesYield: 8 sandwich halves

You can take the girl out of the Deep South, but you can’t take the Deep South out of the girl…

This crunchy-creamy cleaned-up community cookbook classic is a delectable vegan chicken casserole in sandwich form It telescopes me right back to my teen years in Mississippi where my dear Mama’s culinary curiosity–though a different style than mine and not vegan–inspired my love of the kitchen while producing some seriously good eats like this sandwich that is as pretty as it is yummy.

For the recipe and more of the back story, click HERE to visit One Green Planet, who generously published it just this week!

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Vegan Chocolate Nayo Cake–My Version of Your Grandma’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Takes the Cake!

Slice of CakeYield:  one 8- or 9- inch layer cake

“Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake???” you may be thinking.  “Ick!,” right?
Wrong!  Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is a long-standing classic for a reason.   But this is one time when I felt that an old standby needed a little boost.  Hence, my Vegan Chocolate Nayo Cake was born.  Click on the link to go straight to my recipe on the Nasoya website, or keep reading for the backstory.
Very generously, Nasoya recently sent me a jar each of their newly reformulated Nayonaise and NayoWhipped sandwich spreads to review.  So, since I had three jars of mayo in my fridge (those two plus my jar of Vegenaise), I decided I should make something that called for a lot of it to use some of it up before it spoiled.
I remembered a very “old-skool” recipe called “Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake,” so I Googled it and got busy with some research.  Many of the recipes I found call for a couple of eggs along with the mayonnaise, but I found one that was naturally vegan except for the mayo, so I started there, substituting NayoWhipped, as it is the sweeter of the two varieties that I was sent.
But I wasn’t completely sold on the cake.  Since vegan mayo contains no eggs, I felt the cake needed more lift.  But more than that, it need more flavor!  I had scanned through the comments on the recipe before I made it and the responses were 180 degrees apart: from the best cake folks had ever eaten to are-you-kidding-I’ll-never-make-this-again.   And, I can see how different palates would interpret the flavor so differently.  It needed work.

More searching turned up a vegan recipe, but it called for applesauce along with the mayo, and I don’t keep applesauce around.  What I really wanted was a recipe that could be made from a standard baker’s pantry.

So, since, unfortunately, our epileptic Great Dane, Minnie, had a seizure in the wee hours of the morning a little while back—time to up her phenobarbital!—I was WIDE awake and decided to hit the kitchen, creating my own version of Vegan Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake that I had been working out in my mind for the couple of days since my first test.
One of the people who commented on that first recipe I found recommended making it with coffee, so that was one of my substitutions, which dramatically helped in the flavor department.  But I punched up the flavor even more with Creme de Cacao (it’s vegan!). I just happened to have some on-hand after creating a Vegan Grasshopper Pie for St. Patty’s Day and, boy, am I glad I did!
Besides the coffee and Creme de Cacao, what really did the trick was some additional natural sugar and some apple cider vinegar, which is not as astringent as white vinegar, and adds very subtle complexity.  I upped the amount of baking soda from 1 1/2 teaspoons to 2, whisking it into the vinegar for some serious fizzing action.  This seems to give a little extra “oomph” to the leavening power of the baking soda.  But I also added just a teaspoon of baking powder for good measure.
The finishing touches were a layer of spiked Chocolate Ganache and spiked Vegan Sour Cream Fudge Frosting.
I am so happy with the end result and just as happy to share it with you and other visitors to the Nasoya website (if you haven’t tried their tofu, I recommend it too!)!

Whole Cake


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Vegan Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

DSCN0801Yield: 6 to 8 servings

This is one of those recipes that any old-fashioned, self-respecting small town church cookbook would not be without!

I discovered the dish on a recent trip to visit my family in Mississippi following my mother’s serious surgery and long hospital stay.  Their refrigerator was stuffed full of soups and casseroles from friends and neighbors, prepared with love and delivered with best wishes for a speedy recovery.

One of those casseroles, Poppy Seed Chicken, smelled delicious, though it wasn’t vegan, so I couldn’t partake.  But, once home, I set about to recreate it.

And recreate it, I did!  Go Dairy Free generously published my brand new recipe for Vegan Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole and you can access it with a simple click right HERE.

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Vegan Tempeh with Pecans and Grape Tomatoes in a Sherry Wine Sauce

Yield: 2 lunch/brunch servings or 2 dinner servings with a side dish or salad

I am working with a personal trainer on Saturdays to achieve some specific results in about 5 weeks in preparation for an upcoming event. (More on this later!) In addition to cutting some calories to lose about 4 lbs., he wants me to consume more protein. So, after we worked out and stretched today, I came home and whipped together this very fast–and very tasty–lunch. It is absolutely packed with protein and quite gentle on the calorie count (truth to tell, I ate the entire recipe). Plus it is pretty to look at and, because of the sauce, feels special enough to serve to guests.

For this recipe and some 170+ more,
I invite you to purchase my first cookbook:

The Blooming Platter:
A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes

Vegan Heritage Press
Spring 2011

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Vegan "Pulled" Spaghetti Squash Barbecue with Vegan Cole Slaw on Vegan Creamed Corn and Chive Cakes

Yield: 4-8 servings (depending on how hungry you are)

My pal, Katherine Jackson, requested a veg version of pulled pork barbecue. When I told her she had me stumped (because I wasn’t sure how I could shred something like seitan in a home kitchen), she suggested spaghetti squash. I thought that was a brilliant idea. And I hope you agree.

But, for me, no barbecue meal is complete without the counterpoints of crispy-creamy cole slaw and tender “buttery” corn cakes, so I added those to the mix. I think you’ll love this trifecta of tastes. Here’s to you, Katherine, for providing great inspiration!

Vegan “Pulled” Spaghetti Squash Barbecue

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 spaghetti squash, roasted (see recipe below)
Bloomin’ Barbecue Sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high just until simmering and carefully swirl to coat the bottom. Stir a few spoonfuls of sauce into the squash until well-coated, but not not saturated. Add squash to heated pan and gently press into one layer, filling the skillet. Cook for approximately 3-5 minutes. You want it to char just slightly in some places on the bottom but not stick and burn. Stir or loosen from bottom if necessary. Turn the squash over one spoon- or spatula-full at a time and cook for another 3-5 minutes to achieve the same light char in places. Serve with additional sauce, heated, with Vegan Cole Slaw on warm Vegan Creamed Corn Cakes. (All recipes follow.)

Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a baking pan. Split spaghetti squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds and stringy pulp and discard (compost!). Place squash halves face down on the baking pan and roast in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack, let sit until cool enough to handle and then scrape flesh out of shell in a flaking motion using a fork creating “shreds.”

Bloomin’ Barbecue Sauce

Optional, but recommended: 1 small onion, finely diced and sauteed in a little olive oil over medium-high heat until golden and slightly caramelized
1-15 ounce can tomato puree
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Amino Acids
5 tablespoons sweetener (I like 1 tablespoon each of the following, but use what you have: maple syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, brown sugar)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1-3 teaspoons prepared mustard
pinch of coarse sea or kosher salt to taste
pinch of freshly ground black pepper to taste
a dash or two of Liquid Smoke to taste

Stir all together and heat gently until simmering. Simmer for just a few minutes to let flavors combine. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

For the Vegan Cole Slaw recipe and some 170+ more,

I invite you to purchase my first cookbook:

The Blooming Platter:

A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes

Vegan Heritage Press

Spring 2011

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Vegan Snap Bean "Stew" with Vegan Double Corn Finger and Faux Ham Stacks

Yield: 4 Servings

A gift of snap beans from my friend Becky’s recent CSA haul partially inspired this updated southern-style recipe. Recalling that my kinfolk scarcely know how to cook snap beans without ham hock, I knew I wanted to include an oinkless substitute. And since my veganized version of my mom, Sallie’s, Double Corn Fingers are a mandatory side with southern veggies, I could suddenly picture little corn finger sandwiches or “stacks” filled with faux ham and nestled in a slightly thickened snap bean stew. I decided to fleck the latter with carrot for added color and nutritional value and with celery, onion and garlic for flavor. A tiny bit of flour thickens the veggie broth just enough and a smidgen of nutritional yeast imparts a toasty, rich taste and aroma. The presentation is very cute and easy to eat because you want a little of everything in each bite, so its fine if it all comingles. Incidentally, though, all of the components are delicious by themselves.

Before beginning, prep all of the ingredients for each of the three components of the dish so that it goes together quickly.

Vegan Double Corn Fingers:
generous 1/4 cup vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons self-rising flour (plus extra for dusting work surface)
1/2 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
1/2 cup creamed corn

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place butter an 8-inch square metal baking pan and slide into oven just until butter melts. Remove pan and set aside. Meanwhile, in a medium size mixing bowl, combine self-rising flour and cornmeal. Make a well in the center and pour in creamed corn and about half of the melted butter. Stir together with a fork until completely combined. Dough will be a little sticky. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and turn ball of dough once or twice to make sure surface won’t stick. (Too much flour will toughen and dry out the corn fingers.) With lightly floured fingers, pat dough into about a 6-inch square. Cut in half crosswise, and then cut each half vertically into four fingers. Swirl butter around pan and then, working with one corn finger at a time, place it into the butter and then gently flip it over to coat both sides. Place corn fingers close together in two rows in pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden on top. For extra decadence, you can brush a little vegan butter on the tops while they are still hot. While fingers bake, make Faux Ham.

Faux Ham:
1 cup water
2 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon Amino Acids or vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup (or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (you may substitute garlic salt; just omit sea or kosher salt)
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon dried sage
8 ounces tempeh, sliced crosswise into 4 pieces

Combine all ingredients except tempeh in a large skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. While stock heats, stand each piece of tempeh on one of its long sides and, with a sharp knife, carefully slice it in half through the middle to make two thinner pieces. Place the 8 pieces of tempeh into the stock and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until almost all of the moisture is evaporated, being careful not to let it scorch. Add a little bit more water, if needed, to prevent stock from evaporating too quickly. While Faux Ham simmers, make Snap Bean “Stew.”

Stock Source: Adapted from La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer

For the stew recipe and some 170+ more,

I invite you to purchase my first cookbook:

The Blooming Platter:

A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes

Vegan Heritage Press

Spring 2011

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