Vegan Red Curry Popcorn with Cashews and Cabbage
(I know this sounds a bit odd,
but it is outrageously declicious)

Yield: 2 servings.

This recipe defies both description and categorization; hence, I didn’t know whether to tag it as a vegetable side dish, snack, slaw, or ???  I suppose it could even be a main dish.

But, no matter.  Whatever you call it or whenever you eat it–I was starved, so I invented it on the fly and devoured it for “brunch” today, as I am home on Spring Break with a bit more time to experiment–you will love it, odd as it sounds.

Be sure to serve it in a pretty Asian bowl with chopsticks to make a mouthwatering presentation that is as fun to eat as it is pretty.

1 tablespoon vegan butter

3 tablespoons vegan sour cream (you could use mayo or the thick part of coconut milk that separates in the can, but I wanted less calories)

1/4 teaspoon prepared Thai Red Curry Paste (feel free to add a bit more if you desire a more pronounced flavor and more heat)

1-2 tablesoon vegan fish sauce (sold as vegetarian in Asian markets), lime juice or half of each

6 cups popped kettle corn (slightly sweet and salty)

1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage (I buy it shredded in the bag; the type with some shredded carrot mixed in would be delicious too)

1/4 cup lightly roasted and salted cashew halves or peanuts + a couple for garnish

1 tablespoon pinched fresh cilantro leaves (feel free to chop but I was to impatient) + 2 sprigs for garnish

In a medium-large bowl, melt butter with sour cream in microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.whisk in curry paste and fish sauce.  Fold in remaining ingredients, except garnishes.  Pile into two small Asian-style bowls, garnish with cilantro sprigs and cashew halves, and serve immediately with chopsticks so that popcorn doesn’t become soggy.

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Vegan Chili-“Cheese” Dog–A Thai-Influenced Tofutti Exclusive!

Chili-Cheese Dog with Bandana on RightYield: 4 “dogs”

I created this recipe as a Tofutti Brands exclusive in honor of National Dog Day!

These are not your mama’s Chili-Cheese Dogs!  The chili refers to the red chili peppers in Thai Red Curry Paste (readily available at Asian markets and the international aisle of many grocery stores).  And the “cheese” refers to Tofutti’s delectable Better than Cream Cheese.

These two ingredients combine with a  very few others to make a knock out “sauce” for you dog, while juicy crunch is provided by a Fresh Cucumber-Carrot Slaw.  

You will want these Thai-American top dogs to “sit” and “stay” at all your picnics, indoors or out!

Cucumber-Carrot Slaw (recipe follows)–make first and set aside

4 lightly oiled and grilled or toasted hot dog buns (I chose potato rolls)

4 grilled or broiled vegan “hot dogs” (widely available on the organic aisles in grocery stores)

Thai Chili-“Cheese” Sauce (recipe follows)

Garnish:  4 teaspoons lightly roasted, salted and chopped cashews or peanuts plus 4 fresh Thai basil sprigs (widely available in Asian markets)

To assemble each dog, squirt or spread about 1/8th of sauce onto a grilled or toasted bun.  Layer with 1/4 of the slaw, and top with a grilled dog.  Then zig-zag about another 1/8th of the sauce over the top–squirting or drizzling–and garnish with about a teaspoon of chopped nuts and a Thai basil sprig.  Serve immediately.

 

Fresh Cucumber-Carrot Slaw:

*1 medium cucumber, seeded, but not peeled, and julienned or shredded

*1 medium carrot, julienned or shredded

**2 tablespoons finely chopped Thai basil

2 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a  medium non-reactive bowl and allow to sit for 5 or so minutes.  Transfer mixture to a strainer or sieve, and place over the same bowl.  Allow to drain while you continue with recipe.  Gently press on the vegetables with the back of a spoon before using.  Save the juice for another purpose because even though the sauce calls for the same ingredients, here they are diluted with vegetable juice and, hence, not potent enough for the sauce.  *I use a food processor with a grater attachment for these tasks.  **Note, you may use Italian basil, but it will not have the pronounced anise-like flavor of Thai basil.  

Thai Chili-“Cheese” Sauce:

3 tablespoons Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, softened

3 tablespoons Tofutti Better than Sour Cream

2 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste

In a small non-reactive bowl, whish together all ingredients until very smooth.  I like to transfer to a plastic squirt bottle from the dollar store for dispensing.

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Vegan Thai Buddha Spring Roll Bowl

Thai Buddha Spring Roll BowlYield: 4 servings

A spring roll wrapper crisped and perfectly puffed in the microwave forms the adorable edible bowl for this delectable Thai-influenced layering of fresh ingredients: limas cooked in coconut water; onion, eggplant, and garlic in a creamy peanut butter-red curry paste sauce with a hint of Thai basil; Cucumber-Carrot Slaw; and, if you’re feeling really decadent, Chili-Mayo, chopped cashews or peanuts, and a sprig of Thai Basil.  Buddha would certianly bless this bowl!

 

1 cup fresh lima beans cooked about 20 minutes or until tender in simmering coconut water to cover, cooled, and drained (reserve water for another use)

1 cup julienned or grated cucumber and carrot, combined in any proportion (I use one medium cucumber and one medium carrot and a food processor for this task)

Sea salt

3 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce, divided into 2 and 1 tablespoons (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil or peanut oil

1 medium red onion, diced

3/4 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large clove garlic

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (I use Kroger brand “natural”)

1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (widely available in Asian markets and the international aisles of grocery stores)

1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai basil (also widely available at Asian markets; you can substitute regular basil, but it won’t have that distinctive anise-like flavor)

4 spring roll wrappers

Chili Mayo (optional; recipe follows)

Garnishes: 4 teaspoons chopped lightly salted and roasted cashews or peanuts and fresh Thai basil sprigs

 

While lima beans cook, make Asian Cucumber-Carrot Slaw:  in a small, non-reactive bowl, combine julienned or grated cucumber and carrot with a pinch of sea salt, 1 tablespoon fish sauce and 1/2 teaspon rice wine vinegar and set aside.  Make eggplant filling: heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high.  Saute onion with a pinch of sea salt for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until softened.  Add eggplant and garlic and saute, stirring frequently and lowering heat if necessary, for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Stir in water, and allow to simmer while you whisk together in a small cup the peanut butter, the remaining 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, the remaining 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, and the red curry paste.  Drizzle over eggplant mixture, stir to combine, and heat through.  Stir in Thai basil.  Lower heat and keep warm while you prepare spring roll bowls.  Microwave each spring roll wrapper for about 40 seconds on full power or until puffed with no slick, shiny areas.  Check after 20 to 30 seconds.  To serve: place each puffed spring roll wrapper on a plate or in a shallow bowl.  Spoon 1/4th of eggplant mixture in the center, followed by 1/4 of beans and 1/4th of slaw.  Drizzle with Chili Mayo if desired, and garnish each with 1 teaspoon chopped nuts and a sprig of fresh Thai basil.  Serve immediately.

 

Thai Chili Mayo:

6 tablespoonsvegan mayo

2 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste

In a small non-reactive bowl, whish together all ingredients until very smooth.  I like to transfer to a plastic squirt bottle from the dollar store for dispensing.

 

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Vegan Thai Coconut Milk and Vegetable Soup

Thai Coconut Milk and Vegetable Soup 1Yield: 4 servings

This soup is as delicious as it is nutritious and lovely. Thicker than most Thai restaurant soups (due to the starch in the squash), it is very filling, yet still light.

It was inspired by my love of all things Thai, but also by an over-zealous trip to the farmer’s market this week considering I am leaving town on Sunday.  In a little bit of a panic about not wasting food, I created this soup brimming over with vegetables like red bell pepper, fresh chili pepper, pattypan squash, grape tomatoes and Swiss Chard.

I had purchased 2 bunches of the chard–what was I thinking–so I created a really tasty Swissh Chard and Pumpkin Seed Pesto out of the remainder, which will freeze nicely.

I used the vegetables I had on hand, but feel free to substitute other veggies, keeping flavor, texture and color contrast in mind. In addition to the onion and bell pepper, you will want about 4 cups of vegetables. Precokl firmer vegetables like squash and carrots, and simply heat softer ones like tomatoes and mushrooms.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, thinly sliced
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced red or green mild chili pepper
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-15 ounce can coconut milk or lite coconut milk
2 cups water
2 regular or 1 large vegetable bouillon cube (enough for 2 cups of water)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 pounds pattypan squash (unpeeled and unseeded weight), baked, roasted or grilled until tender, peeled, and cut into wedges [you may substitute eggplant, zucchini and/or yellow squash]; approximately 2 cups cooked chunks
1 cup (approximately) red or gold grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup finely chopped Swiss chard (I use a food processor for this task)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, rough chopped
Zest of 1 large lime
1/4 cup basil leaves, preferably Thai basil
4 teaspoons vegan fish sauce (sold a “vegetarian” in Asian markets) or rice wine vinegar
Garnish: 1/4 cup chopped roasted and lightly salted cashews and peanuts and sprigs of basil or cilantro

In a large (4-quart) saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onion, bell pepper, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, and a pinch of sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, water, bouillon cube, and soy sauce, and heat until barely simmering. Add squash, tomatoes, and Swiss chard, and return to a gently simmer. Avoid boiling. Stir in cilantro, lime zest, and basil leaves and heat through. Serve in large bowls with 1 teaspoon of vegan fish sauce or rice wine vinegar stirred into each. Garnish with chopped nuts and a sprig of basil or cilantro.

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Vegan Potato Salad with Cilantro-Mint-Chili Mayo and Carrot-Cashew Topping

Potato Salad with Cilantro-Mint Mayo and Carrot-Cashew Topping 1This recipe is a two-fer: my delicious Cilantro-Mint-Chili Pesto is tasty enough to eat with a spoon, never mind the potato salad!  Use this versatile pesto, which can be nudged in a more Indian or Thai direction, in noodle dishes, rice dishes, soups, sandwiches, appetizers like crostini, and more.

Make it first so that you have it on hand to quickly stir into my potato salad whose topping puts it right over the top!  I pulse together carrots and cashews in a food processor, seasoning them only with a pinch of black salt for that inimitable, slightly sulfur-y “boiled egg” flavor, so perfect for potato salad.

 

Cilantro-Mint-Chili Pesto

Yield: approximately 3/4 to 1 cup

 

4 ounces cilantro leaves and tender stems, rinsed and dried

1 ounce mint leaves and tender stems, rinsed and dried

1 serrano chili, seeded

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

Juice of 1/2 of a large lime

2-3 tablespoons natural sugar or agave nectar

1/4 cup olive oil

Pinch sea salt to taste

Place cilantro, mint, chile, and coconut in a food process and pulse to finely chop (this took about 30-35 pulses in my processor).  Add lime juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar or agave nectar, and pulse to fully incorporate.  Taste and add another tablespoon of sugar or agave nectar, if desired.  With motor running, stream in olive oil.  Season with a pinch of salt.  Adjust seasoning if desired and store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

 

Potato Salad with Cilantro-Mint-Chili Mayo with Carrot-Cashew Topping

Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (or whatever kind you have on hand, even sweet potatoes), cubed (I leave the skin on for nutrition and color contrast)

5 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

2 to 3 tablespoons Cilantro-Mint-Chili Pesto

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup raw, peeled carrot, cut into 1 inch chunks

1/4 cup lightly salted and roasted cashews (halves and pieces are fine)

Pinch black salt or to taste

Garnish: Additional pesto and cashews

Simmer potatoes in salted boiling water over medium-high heat, loosely covered, until tender, approximately 10 minutes.  Rinse under cold water and drain. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, pesto, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Add potatoes and fold together with mayo-pesto mixture until well-combined.  Taste and correct seasoning as desired.   In a food processor, pulse together carrots, cashews, and black salt until finely chopped (not mashed).  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Serve potato salad topped with Carrot-Curry mixture and garnish each serving with a dollop of the pesto and a cashew.

 

 

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Vegan Grilled Pattypan Squash with Thai Basil Pesto–Included on WHRO’s “Let’s Eat”

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I am THRILLED to be one of a dozen invited contributors to participate in “Let’s Eat,” a new initiative of Eastern Virginia’s public TV and radio station, WHRO!

I had no more created this recipe than I received the invitation.

Since it is sponsored by Whole Foods, VA Beach, and our local chapter of Buy Fresh, Buy Local, a recipe that featured local produce seemed in order.  At the time I submitted it, pattypan squash was in season, but the site was just launched and, alas, pattypan squash is no longer in season, at least not in Coastal Virginia.  But the pesto would be luscious on grilled pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and much more.  And my basil is still in full bloom!

Stay tuned for more tasty treats ready for their close-up.  I will be posting regularly on “Let’s Eat” and will direct you from here to there!

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Vegan Thai Sloppy Joes on Toasted Rice Cakes

Thai Sloppy Joes 1Yield: 4 servings

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)

Sea salt

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.

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Vegan Charred Corn on the Cob with Thai Chili-Lime Mayo, Coconut, Cilantro and Chopped Peanuts

Yield: 4 servings

Find this unique and uniquely delicious recipe inspired by my Thai Not Dogs and Mexican street food on One Green Planet!

Just click HERE for the back story, ingredients and simple instructions…

Quick before the beautiful summer corn is a fading memory!

 

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French-Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps from “Happy Birthday, Julia Child!” Party

Somehow, our third annual Happy Birthday, Julia Child’s potluck dinner party came and went in August without my ever having posted any of the recipes.

It’s a little tricky to shoot nice images because, by the time the guests arrive with their beautiful food–made according to or adapted from Julia’s recipes or just very French–the light isn’t very cooperative.  But, I remembered to stage this photograph with the small amount of leftovers we had of this scrumptious dish.  I just never remembered to post it.

Called Thai Lettuce Wraps by their creator, Diane Stobo, we changed the name to “French Vietnamese” to fit our theme.  Made by Amelia, aka “Little Chef,” the young niece of two of our guests, the dish was a hit with everyone.   She is absolutely adorable and wanted to contribute something to the dinner, meet me–and our dogs–and have me sign a couple of copies of The Blooming Platter Cookbook. I was truly touched.

Amelia and her aunt recommend a few more walnuts in the filling.  And, to veganize the sauce, simply substitute agave nectar for the honey.  Also, since it’s now fall, use whatever tender lettuce leaves you can find in season.

For 150 original mouthwatering seasonal recipes, I invite you to check out my new cookbook, The Blooming Platter:  A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

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