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.
I love to eat like it’s happy hour even when it’s not. That is, I love appetizers. They are always the most enticing items on restaurant menus and, Even before the pandemic, I loved My own versions even more. The same goes for this brand new black bean dip with its Chinese flavors. It is sure to make any hour and every guest happy!
I recommend starting with the amounts of ingredients listed and then intensifying any of the flavors that you choose. Be careful with the ginger, as it can be overpowering and quite spicy.
1 15.5 ounce can unseasoned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 thinly sliced green onions, save a little for garnish
Garnish: 1 teaspoon Everything Bagel seasoning or white and black sesame seeds (Everything Bagel seasoning may seem out of place, but I love it because it contains sesame seeds along with dried garlic and onion)
Prepared vegan chili sauce and a few roasted and lightly salted cashews or peanuts
Baked Wonton Chips (recipe follows )
place everything except green onions, garnishes, and accompaniments in food processor and blend and tell smooth. Stir in green onions, reserving some for garnish, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with reserved green onions and everything bagel seasoning. Serve with chili sauce for drizzling and Baked Wonton Chips for scooping.
Baked Wonton Chips
10 -3″ vegan wonton wrapper squares (I use Nasoya brand, halved diagonally)
Non-stick vegetable oil spray
Preheat oven to 350°. Place triangles of dough close together on baking sheet, spray very lightly with vegetable oil, and sprinkle with just the barest hint of sea salt. Bake for approximately 5 minutes or until golden.
As much as I love to bake cakes and cheesecakes, that is just a lot to deal with and there are only two of us here, one of whom eats a dramatically different diet than I do.
So, my latest passion is to try to take all of the flavors that I would have put in a cake or cheesecake and put them into a cookie with far less calories than a slice of cake, far less mess, and ease of tucking into a friend’s purse or hand as a little love gift.
I wanted to make these super simple by rolling them into logs, chilling, and slicing before baking. I learned the hard way that there are too many delicious chunks in the dough for them to slice without breaking apart, so I don’t advise trying it!
1/2 cup vegan butter 1/2 cup powdered sugar 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon almond extract Zest of 1 medium blood orange or regular orange Juice of 1/2 medium blood orange or regular orange 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds, broken or roughly chopped 1/4 cup dried cherries 1/4 cup vegan white chocolate chips Cherry Glaze (recipe follows) Garnishes: orange zest, dried cherries, and/or slivered or sliced almonds
Cream together butter and both sugars. Beat in extracts, zest, orange juice, and cocoa powder. With mixer on low, beat in flour about 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down sides as necessary. Stir in nuts, cherries, and white chocolate chips. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, place two inches apart on cookie sheet, and press to about 1/2 in thick with the bottom of a sturdy glass. You may need to use a spatula to remove, but you can coat the bottom of the glass with a little cocoa powder.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. Slice cookies 1/4-inch thick with a sharp knife and place 2-inches apart on lined baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set and just starting to brown. Transfer to wire rack, cool completely, and ice with Cherry-Orange Glaze. Garnish as desired.
I used to continually irk my late mother by “messing” with what she considered perfection: carefully selected and notated recipes that she made exactly as written.
Perhaps she will forgive me in this case because she was a big fan of anything citrusy and these are just so pretty. They remind me of her.
To arrive here, I altered my paternal grandmother’s Russian Almond Cookie recipe, a perennial Christmas favorite that she mailed to us in wax paper lined tins in a cardboard box if we were with our other grandmother for the holidays.
1 cup vegan butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar or powdered sugar (I like the combination of sugars for texture)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of 1 small lemon (You can zest first and include the zest as well or save to sprinkle on top)
Cream together better and sugar until fluffy. Beat in extracts and lemon juice. With mixer on low speed, beat in flour about 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time, including culinary lavender with the last addition; avoid over mixing. There should be soft, but hold together well. Add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, if necessary. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll cookies to a scant one quarter inch thick. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutter, rerolling and recutting scraps as necessary. Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or just until lightly golden brown. Cool on baking sheet on wire rack. When completely cool ice and garnish.
Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
1 tablespoon vegan butter, softened
1 tablespoon vegan cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Tiny pinch turmeric, if desired, for yellow color
Whisk together first three ingredients until smooth. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until virtually no lumps remain.
Yield: serves four as a side dish, two as a main dish
I love anything creamy, particularly if it also has a little bit of texture and layers of flavor. But I am quite a calorie counter and avid exerciser, so the wide availability of riced cauliflower and the fairly new availability in our area of Silk brand half-and-half inspired this dish. That and a powerful appetite on this Father’s Day Sunday at midday. This dish is filling, but light and bright, quick, easy, and so pretty,. Just perfection.
2 cups water, divided
1 small onion finely chopped
1 vegetable bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon vegetable base
1 bulb roasted garlic or two to three cloves raw garlic, minced
10 ounces riced cauliflower
Zest of 1 small lemon
1/4 cup Silk brand vegan unsweetened half-and-half (Ripple brand is nice too, but if you can’t find either or another brand of unsweetened vegan half and half, use coconut milk)
1/4 cup shredded vegan mozzarella
2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan
Garnishes: minced parsley, slivered almonds, toasted or not, a few nutritional yeast flakes or vegan parmesan shreds, fresh lemon slices, wedges, or more zest (in the photo, I used nutritional yeast flakes, parsley, and toasted slivered almonds)
In a large iron skillet over medium-high, bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer, add onion, and sauté/simmer until virtually all water is evaporated. Add remaining water, bouillon cube, garlic, and cauliflower, and simmer, stirring frequently, until virtually all of water is once again evaporated. Add remaining ingredients, lower heat if necessary, and stir until cheeses are melted and all ingredients are fully incorporated. Serve immediately topped with the garnishes of your choice.
I created this addicting dish out of what I had in the refrigerator, but feel free to substitute leeks for onions, kale or chard for spinach, bell peppers or mushrooms for carrots, and so forth.
I use an indoor grill pan, but you can just “griddle” sausages and celery over medium to medium-high heat in a skillet sprayed with non-stick spray for a couple of minutes until they develop color on both sides.
1 medium onion, cut into slivers and caramelized (I saute until most of moisture has been absorbed in 1 cup water with 2 tablespoons liquid aminos, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons monk fruit or brown sugar, 1 teaspoon dark molasses, and 1 teaspoon sea salt) 1 to 2 large cloves garlic, mincef 6 cups loosely packed baby spinach 4 vegan Andouille sausages, halved, grilled on both sides, and sliced 3/4-inch thick 3/4 cup roasted baby tri-color carrots (mushrooms or bell pepper would be fine substitute) 2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise, sprinkled with sea salt, grilled on both sides, and sliced on the diagonal about 3/4-inch thick 1 cup vegetable stock 1/2 cup white wine (I use de-alcoholized Chardonnay) 1 cup vegan half-and-half (I like Silk or Ripple brand) 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
In a large skillet, add to caramelized onions All remaining ingredients and simmer over medium to medium high until a thick sauce develops and luxuriously coats all the other ingredients.
Serve over rice or over my easy, no filler, rice cakes.
I just discovered Nasoya brand vegan wonton wrappers in Harris Teeter! They are cut into perfect little squares that make the cutest cups for the Asian salad of your choice.
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Layer 2 wonton wrappers on top of each other with one turned 45° to create eight points. Press into cups. Bake 10 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool.
The trick with vegan or plant-based skillet-fried cakes, fritters, and even burgers, is how to get them to hold together without a lot of breading or filler.
These rice cakes, made with leftover cooked rice, hold together beautifully with just a flax egg and cornstarch.
They are ready to devour in minutes with the topping of your choice or by themselves because they are quite tasty.
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup leftover cooked rice
1 green onion, green part only, thinly sliced or snipped with scissors
In a medium bowl, whisk together flaxseed meal and water. Set aside for just a few minutes until it thickens, whisking occasionally. Whisk in cornstarch, sea salt, and onion powder. Then stir in rice and green onion with a fork. Heat a skillet sprayed with non-stick spray over medium to medium high heat. Divide mixture into four even mounds, pressing into a disc about 1/4-inch thick. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side or until golden brown, adjusting heat if necessary. Serve alone or topped as desired.
Yield: 1 6-inch layer cake (double recipe for an 8-in layer cake)
I finally created a plant-based Black Forest Cake with which I am completely delighted!
Unless you are a recipe developer–professional or amateur counts–you cannot imagine the research, the brainstorming, and the trial and error–mental and actual–to arrive here. I spent many wee hours on Pinterest obsessing.
There were certain things that I wanted from this special cake and certain things I didn’t. For instance, I didn’t want a buttercream frosting, but I also didn’t want pure whipped cream. A favorite dessert from childhood that combined cream cheese, powdered sugar, and whipped cream topped with a layer of cherry pie filling proved to be the inspiration. My recent discovery of Silk brand whipping cream made this luscious filling and frosting possible.
Wanting a deeply chocolate, very moist, and somewhat subtly complex flavored cake, I experimented quite a bit. I wanted the rich fudgyness of a brownie, but more of a cake like consistency. And ultimately, though I love cherry liqueur, I didn’t want the cake to taste too boozy. You can certainly brush the layers with cherry liqueur if you choose But I put a small amount in the batter along with some concentrated coffee and “buttermilk” because cakes made only with coffee, water or other thin liquids, line soda, don’t quite have the structure that I desired. The cake is sturdy, yet moist.
For decoration, I love chocolate shavings and chocolate curls, which are traditional on Black Forest Cake, but I didn’t want this to be fussy, so I used simple chocolate-dipped fresh cherries and toasted slivered almonds.
What can I obsess about now In the wee hours of the morning?
Cake 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup non-dairy milk curdled with 1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons concentrated coffee 2 tablespoons cherry liqueur or more concentrated coffee 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract Whipped Cream & Cream Cheese Filling/ Frosting (recipe follows) Approximately 3/4 cup canned cherry pie filling 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds 6 fresh cherries, pitted and halved 4 cherries with stems intact, dipped in about 2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips melted for 1 minute in microwave
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 6-inch cake pan or spray with baking spray. Place metal mixing bowl and whip attachment in freezer for preparing filling.
In large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Make a well in center, add wet ingredients, and whisk together for about 50 strokes until smooth. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake approximately 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack and then invert. Cool completely covered with a dish towel. Using a serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on serving platter, spread with half of filling, and top with half of cherry pie filling. Place second layer on top and repeat. Decorate with cherry halves, toasted slivered almonds, and chocolate dipped cherries. Store in refrigerator.
Whipped Cream & Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour or so 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup Silk brand whipping cream
Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla and well-chilled mixing bowl and cream together until smooth. With mixer on medium-high, slowly drizzle in whipping cream. Filling should be sick, but it will likely not be stiff enough to pipe through a pastry bag.
I think of these cookies as deeply southern and deeply satisfying with their bourbon and pecans. And anyone who has had a chocolate bourbon pecan pie knows that those three flavors are a trifecta. The molasses and maple syrup are not enough to make the cookies taste like molasses or maple cookies, only enough to give them rich deep caramel notes. And the macadamia nuts strike another buttery note. My super simple method for shaping the cookies will yield that sought-after bakery look.
1/2 cup softened vegan butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup pecan butter (you may substitute almond butter, but nothing replicates the flavor of pecan butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup natural sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teadpoon baking soda 1 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour or white whole wheat
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup broken pecans
1/2 cup halved macadamia nuts
18 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. In large bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter, pecan butter, vegetable shortening, both sugars, molasses, maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla extract. With mixer on low, beat in baking soda and flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
Using a small scoop (2 tablespoon), make nine mounds of dough on each cookie sheet, using half of dough. To get that bakery look, place another scoop of dough right on top of first scoop pressing down slightly. Repeat for all 18. You will have a scoop or mound nestled inside another. Press a pecan half firmly into the center of each double mound, pressing down slightly. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet on wire rack and then store in an airtight container.