Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

There is nothing I love more in this food world than Brussels Sprouts.
To prepare mine, I cut the ends off which normally has a chunk of stem remaining. Then, I slice the sprout in half and remove a layer or two. Now they are ready for a rinse. After rinsing, I coat them with oil, salt and pepper.

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Roast them at 400F until they are tender. Eat them as is, or dress them with a vinaigrette. I love pairing roasted sprouts with a sweet honey mustard. I usually make the dressing by putting spoonful of dijon, with a generous amount of honey, a splash of vinegar, and a healthy amount of olive oil… I know what you are thinking, where are the exact measurements!? I fail here. I will do my best to work on one. But, I will tell you this: every time I attempt to measure something, it is never as good as making it off the cuff.

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Vegan Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and gravy must be one of the least photogenic foods out there….

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Case in point. Moving on, it was incredibly simple to make, especially since I used a vegan, ready made biscuit. Do I recommend always doing this? Absolutely not. Ready made vs. homemade, homemade wins hands down every time. However, let’s be real, some of us don’t want to knead out a batch at 9am. We have other things to do, places to be, etc.

For the gravy, I used a package of Trader Joe’s frozen mushrooms. It was all I had on hand, and I wanted the sauce to have some substance. I pulsed the mushrooms in the food processor a few times. Then, in a cast iron skillet, I heated some oil and added the mushrooms. After the mushrooms were cooked, I added 1 Tbls of flour, along with salt, pepper and paprika. I cooked the flour into the mushrooms and slowly whisked in some unflavored almond milk. I let the gravy thicken and removed from the heat. Add a generous portion of gravy to each biscuit. If you’re feeling adventurous, add a tofu scramble or fried egg to the dish.

Ready Made Dinners

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I’m sure most of you can relate, there are some nights where food is the last thing on your mind. While I try and steer clear of frozen meals, sometimes, it’s a must. This meal exceeded my expectations. I found a sweet and spicy ‘chicken’ at Target and paired it with fresh green beans (with a brown butter sauce, topped with toasted almonds) and Trader Joe’s Quinoa Pilaf which had a subtle curry undertone.

We all need meals like this from time to time and I feel these products were great at getting the job done!!

Sweet Curry “Football” Deviled Eggs

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If you follow this blog, you know one of my areas for improvement is presentation. Here is my attempt at a clever and fun presentation for deviled eggs. The laces of the egg football are strips of basil. I recommend using chives, if you have them handy. You could also use spring onion. While the basil pairs nicely with the curry, it quickly looses its bright green color.

For the filling I used yolk, Just Mayo (Chipotle), vegenaise, salt, and Maharaja curry powder. Absolutely delicious!!

Curried Sweet Potato Noodle Salad with Roasted Cauliflower

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I LOVE THIS DISH. A dish which happened to be a very random creation. I had some sweet potatoes to use, so I thought I’d pull out the spiralizer. Other ingredients I had to work with included cauliflower and celery. It didn’t take long for me to think of a curry roasted cauliflower salad, and it seemed fitting to use the sweet potato noodles as a base.

First, I quickly blanched the spiralized noodles. This is optional, it simply removes some of that unpleasant starchyness.

Next, roast the cauliflower (toss florets in coconut oil, salt, pepper and a dusting of curry powder) at 400F until tender.

Then, dice the celery. Soak some golden raisins in boiling water, drain. Toast a handful of blanched slivered almonds. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with the blanched noodles. Add the roasted cauliflower once it has cooled.

Finally, the dressing! I used a specialty curry powder with a little garam masala. To this I added honey and rice vinegar. I mixed this mixture well, and slowly drizzled in olive oil. Taste along the way to determine which flavor you need more or less of. For example, too vinegary? Add more oil. Too bland? Add more spice/salt.

Veggie Pad Thai with Tofu and a Ginger-Almond Butter Sauce

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Before making this dish, I debated whether to use egg or tofu. Since I was making this for my significant other, who has never tried tofu, I was hesitant. However, it wasn’t a long debate. I figured if he didn’t like the tofu – more for me! I was using Trader Joe’s marinated, extra firm tofu, which I find to be absolutely delicious for tofu standards.

For the sauce, I sadly did not measure this. I’ve learned to have fun with sauces, either using recipes as guides or having made so many sauces this summer, I have an understanding of what ingredients you need more/less of. For the ginger-almond butter sauce, I did a generous amount of minced ginger, probably 1″ chunk. I also used two cloves of garlic, a little rice vinegar, almond butter, agave, liquid aminos and water to create the desired consistency. I easily used 1/3-1/2 c almond butter. I probably had 2 tsp- 1 Tbls of aminos (it was a bit salty, my almond butter was raw though; always use less or omit salt if using salted nut butters). And 1-2 Tbls of sweetener. Basically, for my sauces, I prefer a heavier ‘fat’ i.e. oil or butter. Next is vinegar, sweetener, then aminos/soy sauce. Always start small, taste, and add whatever your taste buds want you to add!

In a skillet, I sautéed the tofu, carrots, onion, red pepper and broccoli. To this I added rice noodles and the ginger-almond sauce. I topped the dish with fresh cilantro and sriracha. The only thing that my dining companion did not like was the cilantro…the tofu was a hit! Hoorah!

Chickpea Sloppy Joes

The Splendid Table recently ran a recipe for a vegan sloppy joe which immediately caught my eye. I gratefully had a helper in the kitchen who went to town on mashing the chickpeas. Unfortunately, my instructions, “mash the chickpeas, some chunks are ok” was not very clear. On the plus side, I have a set of hands that can make hummus without a food processor!!

As we got to sautéing the veggies, my helper’s optimism was waning. And when we added the mashed chickpeas, the look on his face was priceless. I even suggested we preheat the oven for a frozen pizza, just in case. But, we carried on. I decided to add some TVP to compensate for the, um, lack of texture with the mashed chickpeas. That was honestly a hit. I also added a few dashes of my secret, go-to ingredients like Dijon and Worcestershire.

Feel free to play around with the recipe!

– 2 cans of chickpeas
– olive oil
– 1/2 medium red onion, diced
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
– 1/4 c tomato paste
– 3 Tbls liquid aminos
– 2 tsp dried oregano
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
– liquid smoke
– 1 tsp Dijon
– 2 tsp Worcestershire
– 2 Tbls barbecue sauce
– 1/2 c TVP
– water
– Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Roughly mash chickpeas
2. Sauté the onion and red pepper over medium heat for about 5 minutes
3. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 15 minutes, adding water if necessary
4. Top with sriracha or barbecue sauce

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Eggs Florentine

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Eggs Benedict has always intimidated me. The perfectly poached egg and the velvety, delicate sauce; seemed like enigmas. With time, practice, and neat kitchen gadgets, I found a recipe which I am proud of.

First, the poached egg. I’ve tried vinegar in boiling water, while swirling, and it all sounds magical. In reality I ended up with a stringy, miserable looking egg. Luckily, my friend took pity on me and gave me some PoachPods. These silicone cups worked very well. You still need to be careful transferring the eggs, which sounds obvious, but I too easily burst a yolk on the first try. The shape is a little awkward as well, it doesn’t stay on the muffin/veggies very well; about long enough to take this photo.

With the sauce, you must be cautious as it can quickly become scrambled eggs (the primary ingredients are eggs and butter). Keep the sauce on a very low heat, or remove from the heat completely until you are ready to serve. Even on the lowest setting, the edges of my sauce were turning from liquid to solid.

Hollandaise sauce is as follows:

– 2 sticks unsalted butter
– 2 yolks
– juice of 1 lemon
– pinch of cayenne
– salt and pepper

1. Melt butter in a small sauce pan
2. Separately, whisk the yolks, lemon juice and water until it begins to froth
3. Remove the melted butter from the heat and very slowly add the frothy yolk mixture. Leave sauce in the pan, removed from the heat. Reheat over low heat, while whisking, if necessary

Once you have the poached egg and sauce, the veggies in-between are your call. I love the pairing of spinach and sun-dried tomato, so I went the florentine route. I sautéed the spinach in olive oil, adding minced garlic, salt and pepper.

I encourage you to get creative and have fun with this recipe!

Roasted Broccoli and Portabella Piccata

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The Veg Way is back up and running! The past few weeks were incredibly transitional for me. There has been a great deal of people coming and going; which has involved traveling and lots of celebrations! Additionally, I started a new job which has, in some ways, negatively impacted my kitchen time. I am happy to say that I still work one day a week at the Green Scene, so I am assured to get my weekly kitchen fix.

Another shift in my culinary journey has been incorporating more vegetarian meals. While my values are still in line with a plant-based diet, I am in a new relationship with someone who has had a more omnivorous diet. Previously, I had no qualms subsiding on a diet of broccoli, avocado and curtido. However, life evolves and changes. I am very happy to be cooking for two now and am excited to share many new recipes in the days ahead.

For the piccata, oh, how I love piccata. I had a piccata dish in November and, I kid you not, my mouth has been salivating ever since. It took some time, but eventually I got around to recreating the dish. Generally I am not a huge fan of pasta, but I must say the egg noodles compliment the dish nicely. If you care to veganize this, simply use a vegan pasta and olive oil instead of butter.

The measurements are ballparked, but it’s pretty close. Here is what I did:

1. Boil water and cook approximately 5oz of egg noodles
2. Heat oven to 400F, cut 1 head of broccoli into florets, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes or until tender
3. Sauté 8oz portabella in olive oil or butter
4. Add the veggies to the pasta
5. In the portabella skillet, melt a stick of butter, add 1-2 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbls capers and lemon juice. Cook until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant (2-3 minutes). Drizzle over pasta and top with fresh parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper