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

Porter Portabella Stew

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In preparation for my Northwoods Lumberjack themed birthday party, I did a test run on this scrumptious stew. I reviewed a few beef & porter stew recipes and created a vegan version. The stew would pair nicely with some hearty bread or a wild rice pilaf. I will likely serve mine with chunks of crusty white bread. Yum! Also, feel free to add in more mushrooms. I only had 2 portabella caps on hand, but extra mushrooms, such as crimini’s would be really nice here. And in regards to the herbs I used, again you can use whatever you have on hand. This recipe is extremely versatile so have fun with it!

Ingredients

– Butter (use Earth Balance to make it vegan)

– Olive oil

– 1 large onion, diced

– 4 carrots, diced

– 4 yellow potatoes, peeled, diced

– 2 celery stalks, chopped

– 1/2 tsp rosemary

– 1 tsp Dynamite Herbs (by http://www.goldenfig.com)

– 2 cloves roasted garlic

– 1 can whole tomatoes (28 oz) + 1 1/2 cans of water

– 1 bottle of porter beer (I used Third Street’s Sugar Shack)

– 1-2 Tbls veg base

– 2 portabella caps, diced in large pieces

– 3-4 Tbls flour

– Salt and Pepper

1. Melt butter in a large pot (about 1-2 Tbls). Once melted, add the diced onion. Cook until fragrant and soft

2. Next, add the carrots, celery, garlic, herbs and potatoes. As the butter is absorbed by the veggies, add the beer, tomatoes and water. Bring to a slow simmer and add the veg base

3. In a seperate pan, saute the mushrooms in olive oil. Salt and pepper to season. Once tender, transfer to the large pot

4. In the mushroom pan, melt 2 Tbls of butter and add 3-4 Tbls flour to create a roux. Cook until flour begins to brown. With a whisk, transfer the roux into the stew mixture. Whisk until everything is incorporated and simmer until veggies are tender

Cranberry Citrus Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon and Cardamom

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With winter settling in, I was in the mood for a hearty cookie. I absolutely love these oatmeal cookies. I used ground flax as a substitute for the eggs. Flax is a fabulous ingredient that is jam-packed with nutrients such as omegas and fiber. If you aren’t keen on cranberries, feel free to use raisins or chocolate chips!

Ingredients

– 1/3 c almond milk
– 2 Tbls ground flax
– 2/3 c light brown sugar
– 1/3 c canola oil
– 3/4 c flour
– 1/4 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp cardamom
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 1/2 c oats (I only had old-fashioned oats, which worked alright, but use quick-cooking if possible)
– 1/2 c cranberries
– zest of one orange

1. Combine the milk and flax in a small bowl and set aside
2. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, canola and vanilla. Next, pour in the thickened flax mix. Whisk until it’s well combined
3. Sift in the flour, and add the cardamom, cinnamon, baking soda, zest and salt
4. Stir ingredients until flour mix becomes incorporated. Fold in the oats and cranberries
5. Cook in a preheated oven (350) for 10-12 minutes

Red Quinoa Salad with Spiced Roasted Squash, Black Beans, Maple Toasted Pepitas and a Chipotle Dressing

This post is half recipe, half product review. I must admit, I was never a fan of mayo or miracle whip growing up. However, after transitioning to a plant based diet, I fell in love with Vegenaise (a vegan version of miracle whip). Recently a new company, Just Mayo, released a vegan mayo. We brought some into the deli and I played around with it, but wasn’t in love with it. Two new products from Just Mayo happened to catch my eye – Chipotle and Garlic infused. I am a fan of spice, so I gave the Chipotle a try. Turns out, it’s pretty great. I had it on a veggie sandwich yesterday and today I made a fabulous quinoa salad. The flavored mayos are definitely versatile and can be utilized in different ways. It would be fun making a pasta salad or mashed chickpea (faux chicken) salad as well!!

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Ingredients

– 1/2 kabocha squash, seeded, peeled and diced
– Arizona spice mix from Penzey’s
– 2 c cooked quinoa
– 1 c cooked black beans
– a handful of maple toasted pepitas (recipe follows)
– 2 Tbls Maple Syrup
– 1 Tbls melted coconut oil
– Cayenne
– Cinnamon
– salt
– olive oil
– Just Mayo Chipotle style
– Apple cider vinegar

1. First, preheat the oven to 400F. Coat the squash in olive oil and toss with Arizona spice mix and salt. Roast until soft
2. Next, make the dressing by mixing together Just Mayo chipotle, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, chipotle, olive oil and salt
3. For the pepitas, I only use a handful – but I make a large batch because they’re fun to snack on and always disappear quickly. I toss 2 c of raw pepitas with maple syrup, olive oil, cayenne, cinnamon and salt. I roast at 400F for a few minutes then set outside to cool
4. Assemble the salad by adding quinoa, beans, squash, pepitas and dressing. Salt and pepper to taste

Warm Spinach Salad with Sautéed Garlic, Butter Beans, Goat Cheese and Roasted Beets

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After a 5 days on the road, indulging on a variety of food and spirits, my body needed a detox. I knew once I got home, did a mound of laundry, put things back in their places; I would not be enthused to spend a large amount of time in the kitchen. I made a quick and practical meal which utilized elements I had on hand. You can apply this concept to other ingredients you have. No spinach? How about bok choy, cabbage, kale or swiss chard? Not a fan of beets? Try a different root veggie, perhaps a carrot or roasted sweet potato. To make it vegan, omit the goat cheese, or make a delicious vegan parmesan topping! Whichever you choose, I am confident you can use a minimal amount of ingredients for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Ingredients
– 1 16oz package organic spinach
– 1 12oz can butter beans
– 1 clove garlic
– olive oil
– salt
– 1 medium beet
– goat cheese
– lemon infused olive oil for garnish
– salt/pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat the beet with some oil. You can leave the skin on. Roast the beet until it can be easily pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven, cool, peel, then cut into diced pieces
2. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium. While it’s warming, slice a clove of garlic very thin. Add the garlic to the oil, cook until fragrant
3. Add the butter beans to the garlic. Cook for a few minutes, then slowly add in the spinach. Cook the spinach until just wilted
4. Dress the salad with some goat cheese, serve with beets on the side (for presentation purposes only, prevents the salad from becoming discolored)

Vegan Portobello Ramen with Kelp Noodles

Every so often a product comes in that throws me through a loop. Kelp noodles were such a product. I assumed that the noodles would have a strong seaweed taste. Well, you know what they say about people who assume?… Right. So, it turns out, the kelp noodles have zero flavor.

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Another surprise was that they were mildly crunchy and a little chewy, giving them a great dimension of texture. How cool is that!?

Realizing I now had a blank canvas to work with, I decided to stick with the Asian theme. I made a Thai peanut salad with kelp noodles which took the place of soba noodles. It was delicious. Later that night, I came across a recipe for Kelp Noodle Ramen. I was sold. When I got to the deli the next morning, I played around with the recipe, eventually settling on what I have below. It is absolutely delicious. And, if you would like softer noodles, try soaking them in water overnight. Otherwise you can simmer them for an hour on the stove.

Ingredients
– 2 pkg kelp noodles
– 2 large portobello caps, peeled, destemmed, and chopped
– 1/4 c oil (I used olive oil)
– 1″ ginger, grated
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 tsp tamari
– 8-10 c water
– 1-2 Tbls veg base
– 1 Tbls vegan fish sauce
– 2 eggs, whisked (optional)
– cilantro for garnish
– sriracha for garnish

1. In a large soup pot, pour in olive oil. Turn the heat on and add the diced mushrooms. After 5 minutes, or when the mushrooms are turning tender, add the ginger, garlic and tamari. Cook for 1-2 minutes
2. Next, add the fish sauce, water and veg base. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer
3. If you soaked your noodles overnight, add them now along with the whisked egg. Once the egg is cooked, taste and add any additional seasonings or spices.
4. If you did not soak your noodles, let noodles simmer in the broth for about an hour. Right before you remove the ramen from the heat, add the whisked egg. Keep the pot on the heat until the egg is cooked
5. Top your ramen with cilantro and sriracha!

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