Posts tagged ‘vegan’

July 1, 2014

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili {Vegan} with slow cooker option

vegan chili

A smokey, hearty chili that lends itself to all kinds of vegetables. Feel free to replace the sweet potato with butternut squash, or add green pepper or zucchini. I like to top it with a grilled corn and cilantro salad or just slices of fresh avocado.

Having a good vegan chili in my arsenal is super important when I’m looking for something warm, bold and comforting. This recipe is a mix of a few recipes I’ve made over the years and what I default to when I have it in my mind to make chili. I like to pack it with at least two types of beans and a combination of vegetables, although I always favor something like sweet potato.

This can also be made in a slow cooker. See below for instructions.

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November 12, 2013

Eggplant Po’Boys

poboy1

This recipe was inspired by Killer Poboys in New Orleans. I was reading their most recent menu (because that’s something I do in my spare time) and was instantly excited by their vegan option. Each individual ingredient was original and all together it sounded like a sandwich I could totally get on board with.

I think that’s what I love about vegan and vegetarian cooking so much – it encourages a different level of creativity, inevitably making vegetables taste more interesting and satisfying.

Now, a po’boy is really just a sandwich. But in New Orleans it’s a sandwich on a fresh pillowy baguette. It’s almost certainly one of those things that people claim cannot be replicated outside of the city due to the water – like bagels in New York or sourdough in San Francisco, I tend to believe these dough-related myths.

October 30, 2013

Sesame Chili Soba Noodles with Kale

soba2

I’ve been a dedicated – and admittedly uncool – brown-bagger for as many years as I’ve been working a full time job. More than just the limited food options nearby, I bring my lunch to eat healthy and stretch my paycheck.

This is the sort of dish that makes it easy to bring your lunch to work. Quick to make, packed with toasty sesame and warm chili flavors, and effortlessly vegan. It’s all about making meals play double duty – you know, cook once, eat twice.

I made this soba noodle dish after a Sunday shopping excursion when I returned home ravenous. I whacked it together in a few hasty minutes and gobbled it up even quicker.

January 25, 2013

Red Lentil Dahl with Kale

voraciousvander -RL dahl

Even in summertime I crave comfort dishes. I’m talking warm, heavily spiced bowls of things that might make you sweat a little when you eat them. I dunno. I’m aware that no one likes to sweat whilst eating, but I’ll take it over eating chilled soup. Gazpacho? I just…can’t. I’m sorry. (Not sorry.)

You know I’m game for a massive minimal-cooking-required salad, but homegirl needs a cooked meal several times a week, regardless of the weather. It’s something about sitting down at night to eat something that has a story. Something that’s been chopped and sautéed and simmered.

I love experimenting with cuisines that I find a little intimidating, it’s like facing your fears in a totally contained and inconsequential way!

Whatta rush.

Since I’ve been cooking, I’ve found Thai and Indian cuisines to be among my favorites to make at home. Mostly because they involve big vats of stew-like concoctions that can be custom-made to involve heaps of vegetables, tons of flavor and spice, and require being mopped up with rice and/or flatbread. (In general, I enjoy mopping my food up with carbs. It’s satisfying and delicious.)

Plus, a good curry paste can’t really let you down.

November 7, 2012

Broccoli and Leek Soup

I’m gearing up to tell some stories. Actually, I’ll just be telling one specific story, multiple times.

This weekend, F’s parents are throwing us our Australian engagement party. It’s going to be a lovely night in the backyard with friends, family, good food and bubbles.

There’s one catch: I’ll be obliged to tell the story of our engagement to many of the guests. While I’ve already had quite a bit of practice in the two months we’ve been engaged, I still haven’t got better at telling it.

Where do I start? One minute, I was on a rooftop in New Orleans’ French Quarter laughing at his pre-proposal speech, not being able to take a compliment and the next I realized what was going on. I think I probably just sound like a jerk when I tell it…I dunno.

It was a perfect night – like, majorly – and we were the happiest couple in NOLA, I just wish I could express the sequence of events better!

It doesn’t really matter though – we’re just excited to celebrate with the people we love.

I wish I had a better story about this soup too, but the truth of the matter is that I found myself on a Monday waiting for my fruit and veg delivery and very hungry. I scraped around the crisper and came out with a head of broccoli and a big leek. Instead of an omelet or some quick stir fry I opted for a simple and silky smooth soup.

Admittedly, you have to be a broccoli fan for this one, but you could try subbing in more potatoes or roasted carrots instead. I like to garnish the whole thing with chives, which add a nice mellow onion-y compliment to the leeks. I also think a little grating of Parmesan or cheddar would go over extremely well in this situation.

The end.

BROCCOLI & LEEK SOUP

  • 1 medium head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts sliced thin
  • 1 small-medium white potato, pealed chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 liter or 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped chives, to serve

In a large pot, heat a glug of olive oil over a medium high heat. Add leak and garlic and sauté until the leek is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cook for another minute.

Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and potato and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes until the broccoli and potatoes are tender.

Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes and purée with a stick blender or in batches in the blender.

Pour back into the pot, bring to a boil and and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Serve with chopped chives and extra black pepper.

October 24, 2012

Pumpkin and White Bean Patties with Rosemary

Is pumpkin the new bacon? Discuss.

The virtues of salty, crispy bacon aside, I’m always and forever all-in for pumpkin. I’ll take it sweet or savory, roasted or pureed, spiced or herb-flecked.

This time of year, there are pumpkin and pumpkin pie-spiced (an entity unto itself) recipes everywhere. I love butternut squash and pumpkin dishes all year round but I lean toward the savory ones most of the time.

Over the next few weeks, you’ll see no shortage of pumpkin or butternut squash recipes here – especially savory ones – because it’s what I’m cooking. Even as we ramp up for summer here in Australia I still have a massive hunger for all things (American) Northeast October and fall-ish. I can’t help it. Luckily the weather in Sydney is accommodating my pumpkin roasting habits.

These pumpkin and white bean patties are a good way to use some pumpkin purée (be it left over or specifically made for this purpose) – they’re simple to make and require only a few pantry things. If you don’t have/don’t like rosemary – I think sage or thyme would be pretty awesome too.

I think these would even go well with some bacon – if we want to be diplomatic about it.

Pumpkin party worldwide.

PUMPKIN & WHITE BEAN WITH ROSEMARY

Makes 8 patties.

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (or 1 15-ounce can)
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of rolled oats
  • a handful of Parmesan cheese (optional)

To make your own pumpkin purée: Place cut and peeled pumpkin on a baking tray with 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water in it. Bake at 400 F/205 C for 20-30 minutes (adding a little more water if needed) until soft. Allow to cool, then purée in a food processor.

In a small pan, heat olive oil over a medium heat. Add garlic and rosemary and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

In a food processor, place white beans and the garlic, rosemary and olive oil mixture. Pulse in the food processor until finely chopped and close to pureed.

Place pumpkin purée, white bean rosemary mixture, egg, oats, Parmesan and a pinch of sea salt in a large bowl and mix with a spoon until well combined. Place in the refrigerator to rest for at least a half an hour (so the oats can soak up the egg and purée).

Heat oven to 400 F/205 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with olive oil or baking spray.

Form the pumpkin white bean mixture into 2 1/2 to 3 inch-wide patties and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes and flip the patties, then bake for another 10. (20 minutes total.) Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2-5 minutes and serve over salad or on a small bun with desired toppings. (Hello, caramelized onions!)

 

(You could also pan-fry these in a large skillet with olive oil over a medium-high heat for about 3 minutes on eat side.)

October 15, 2012

Vegetable Indian Curry

This is what a Monday night looks like in our house.

Lots of vegetables tied together with some bold flavors. It’s about treating yourself right.

The weekend is my favorite time for trying new restaurants, eating ice cream for dessert (or lunch) and having a couple of glasses of wine. All of these wonderful things mean that I sometimes don’t get the ideal amount of vegetables from Friday night to Sunday night. (Or if I do, they’re accompanied by their bffs bacon and cheese.)

On Mondays, I aim for a vegetable top-up. I like to center meals around veggies with things like soups, salads and stir fries.

Curries are one my favorite ways to incorporate a lot of plant life into my Monday (or any day) – you get tons of flavor and spice with a combination of a few pantry items. They’re often vegan too, which is just a bonus. (Or useful, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to feed a vegan!)

With the help of jarred curry paste, my Thai curries are usually a success. But my Indian curries are always a little more…interesting.

I’ve tried a bunch of recipes using dry spice combinations and EVERY TIME I freak out within the first 15 minutes, thinking I’ve screwed it all up somehow. It’s almost always fine by the time everything’s cooked properly. What the heck was I so worried about back there?

I finally realized that Indian curries are just late bloomers. They need a little extra time for all of the flavors to develop and come together in the way they’re supposed to. Let them simmer or sit for a while and they’ll come good – with the warming, complex flavors that you were looking for. No need to freak. Leftovers get even better too. Another bonus!

Feel free to add or substitute whatever vegetables you’d like or toss in some chickpeas, tofu or shrimp for a protein boost. Curries are endlessly adaptable and a great way of making your daily (or weekend) dose of veggies full of flavor.

South Indian Vegetable Curry
adapted from Bon Appetit

- 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
– 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
– 1 2-inch-long 1-inch-diameter piece peeled fresh ginger (about 2 ounces)
– 3 tablespoons grape seed oil
– 1 tablespoon garam masala
– 2 teaspoons ground cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/2 serrano chile, seeded, chopped
– 2 tablespoons tomato paste
– 3 cups vegetable broth
– 2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
– 4 curry leaves
– 2 whole green cardamom pods
– 1/2 cup coconut cream
– 2 medium  russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
– 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
– 3/4 cup diced canned tomatoes, drained
– 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– 2-3 large handfuls of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Puree first 8 ingredients (onion through coriander) in processor until paste forms. Cook in large pot over medium heat until aromatic, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste. Cook until mixture starts to darken and brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes longer.
Add broth, brown sugar, curry leaves, and cardamom. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. (This part can be made 2 days ahead. Cool, cover, and chill. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
Add coconut cream, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peas, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Add spinach, if desired, and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard curry leaves and cardamom.
Serve with steamed rice.
Tip:
If you’re freezing your leftovers, you may want to slightly under-cook your veggies as things like potatoes sometimes get mushy in the thawing process. Try removing the portion you’re freezing 5 minutes early and allowing it to cool completely before freezing.
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