Veggie Cabbage Rolls

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I had never made, let alone eaten, cabbage rolls prior to this recipe. A minor challenge in making this is that I have nothing to compare them to.

This meal was made at the request of my partner who grew up eating this dish. Traditionally it is made with rice and ground beef. I found a recipe via Connoisseurus Veg that contains lentils and quinoa, which sounded delicious to me!

I liked this recipe, but I didn’t love it. It felt a little bland. I would like to try making it with veggie crumbles, and incorporate different herbs and seasoning. This recipe is still worth trying out. Like I said, I am not as familiar with this dish and am open to exploring it!

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 3/4 c brown lentils
  • 3 c water
  • 1/2 c uncooked quinoa
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Tbls oil
  • 1 Tbls red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbls tamari
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 jar pasta sauce

1. Boil the cabbage in water until outer leaves are tender

2. Cook the lentils in 3 cups of water; cook the quinoa in 1/2 cup broth

3. Saute onion in oil. Once the lentils and quinoa is cooked, add to the onion and stir in vinegar, tamari, and paprika. Let the mix cool

4. In a pan, add a layer of pasta sauce (I used my favorite jarred pasta brand)

5. Add lentil/quinoa mix to the roll, roll up like a burrito, place on top of pasta sauce. Once all rolls are in the pan, add another layer of sauce.

6. Bake, covered, at 350 for one hour

 

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Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Patties and Cashew Parmesan

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What a fun twist on the classic spaghetti and meatballs! I really enjoy working with traditional recipes and finding ways to get creative with them. This meal is completely plant based and is very easy to make.

First, I roasted a spaghetti squash at 400F until it was tender. Then, I set this aside to cool.

Then, I made the sauce – I used a jar of my favorite sauce and added some mushrooms that were sautéed in red wine and garlic, mmm!

For the lentil patties and parmesan, see the recipe below…

Lentil Patties

  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbls flax plus 3 Tbls water)
  • 1 1/2 c lentils, cooked
  • 1 Tbls Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbls tomato paste
  • 5 Tbls cashew parmesan (see below)
  • bread crumbs
  1. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients together until ingredients reach a dough-like consistency. I had to use about 1/4 c of breadcrumbs because my mixture was too wet
  2. Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture and form into a patty. Add oil to a skillet and fry each side of the patty
  3. Once the patties have slightly browned, put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 15 minutes

Cashew Parmesan

  •  3/4 c raw cashews
  • 3 Tbls nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  1. Pulse everything in a food processor until you reach a desired texture.

“Chick Seitan” with Asian Peanut BBQ Sauce

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Upton’s Naturals makes some seriously delicious plant based protein. I had yet to try their “chick seitan” style and I thought it would go great with an Asian inspired stir-fry. I referred to Isa’s BBQ sauce, but was short on a few ingredients so I jazzed it up in my own way. I was also reluctant to put peanut butter in a BBQ sauce – but by thinking Asian-fusion, I was able to balance some of the flavors out. This is a meal you could easily make in 30 minutes – the most time consuming part was simmering the sauce down.

Asian Peanut BBQ Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbls pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbls agave
  • 2 Tbls tomato paste
  • 1 Tbls peanut butter
  • 1 Tbls tamari or Bragg’s Aminos
  • 1 Tbls apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbls dijon
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp-1 tsp fresh or powdered ginger
  1. Simmer the above ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Reduce down until the sauce has reached a thick, saucy consistency.

 

Garlic Balsamic Glazed Tempeh

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I’ve been working on a cooking class that features plant based protein. This Garlic Balsamic Glazed Tempeh was awesome! I served it with a side of couscous which is topped with oven-roasted green beans and mushrooms. I then dressed the dish with truffle infused balsamic. I may have gone a bit overboard with balsamic. You can definitely substitute other flavors and sauces, such as barbecue or ketchup.

Now, I ask you friendly viewers, what are your favorite plant based proteins? Some of mine include marinated tempeh, tofu (scrambles and eggless salads), chickpea sloppy joes, and desserts using soft tofu as the filling.. I would love to hear some ideas from you that I could incorporate into my upcoming class!

 

Garlic Balsamic Glazed Tempeh

  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/3 c balsamic vinegar (start with less, unless you are really looking for that balsamic flavor)
  • 3 tsp tamari or Bragg’s Aminos
  • 1 Tbls maple syrup
  • 1 Tbls olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  1. Steam the 8 oz block of tempeh in a skillet until water is evaporated (I fill enough water in the pan to cover 1/3 to 1/2 of the block of tempeh)- this takes about 10 minutes. I like to steam my tempeh before cooking with it because it opens up the protein which helps the marinade process. Tempeh can also have a strong, fermented taste, and steaming can help soften that flavor
  2. Let the tempeh cool until you are able to handle it, then cut it into desired shapes. To make the small triangles, I cut the 8 oz square into 4 triangles. I then cut those triangles in half (width wise) and then in half lengthwise.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together garlic, vinegar, tamari, maple syrup, olive oil and pepper
  4. Add the tempeh in a pan/dish where you can lay them all flat – I fit them easily into an 8×6 Pyrex. Cover the tempeh with your marinade. Let this sit overnight, then flip them in the morning
  5. In the evening – or whenever you’re ready to bake these, preheat your oven to 350F. Cover your pan/dish with foil, bake for 15 minutes; uncover and bake for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

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This recipe comes from Alon Shaya, courtesy of Food52. While I did not make the whipped goat cheese that is supposed to accompany the cauliflower, I did make a sun-dried tomato sauce that I wanted to eat with a soup spoon. I simply simmered some sun-dried tomatoes in some fresh cream. Once the cream went down in size by a third, I puréed the cream and tomatoes and added some garlic, salt and pepper. You could easily make this meal vegan by using a non-dairy creamer in place of the fresh cream.

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I absolutely love the idea of roasting a whole head of cauliflower. This is such a beautiful dish that is so satisfying, you won’t be able to resist seconds.

Two Wonderful Raw Meals


I have moved, yet again, hence another long hiatus with posting. I do have some good recipes though to make up for the delay!

I helped out recently with a raw catering gig and forgot how much I enjoy preparing raw food. For the catering, I made (raw) veggie burgers, falafels, crackers, and dips: ketchup, mustard, and lemon aioli. Unfortunately, it was so busy I was only able to get one shot of the food above. I had my partner (who’s never had a raw meal before) try both and he liked them! 

I used the following recipes, pretty much to a T:

Falafel and Aioli: http://uncooking101.com/site/raw-food-recipe/super-easy-falafel/

Burger: http://www.eatingvibrantly.com/raw-veggie-burgers/

Crackers: http://rawmazing.com/recipe/rosemary-almond-crackers-two-ways/

The ketchup and mustard were very easy…

Ketchup:

  • 1 c sun dried tomato, soaked in water, and reserve 1 c of this water!
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. Blend everything in a high speed blender until you reach the desired consistency

Mustard:

  • 1 c mustard seeds, soaked in water for 6 hours
  • 1/2 to 1 c apple cider vinegar 
  • Water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. Blend everything in a high speed blender, add water until you reach a desired consistency 

Rogan Josh Lentil Stew

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First post of 2016! Happy New Year to you. Honoring that New Year tradition, I wanted to focus on an ingredient that brings hope for the year ahead: lentils! These mini-“coin-like” legumes are amazing and delicious. I am glad to create a recipe that includes them.

I ran across the spice, Rogan Josh, a few years ago. It was in a meat dish, so it wasn’t really my thing, but the spice aroma smelled amazing. So, I saught it out and bought a small jar.  Rogan Josh is a Persian spice that has cinnamon, paprika, garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, and cardamom; very curry-esque. I absolutely love it in this lentil stew. Feel free to sub other veggies in here as desired. I stuck with carrots and sweet potato.

Ingredients

  • Coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeeled, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 Tbls and 1 tsp rogan josh spice
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 can whole fat coconut milk
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c red lentils
  1. Sauté the onion, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper in coconut oil for 5-10 minutes
  2. Add the diced sweet potato and rogan josh spice
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, coconut milk and lentils
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and then cover. Stir frequently and add water as needed (I added about 1 cup)
  5. Cook for 45 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked
  6. Optional, top with wilted spinach

Acorn Squash Stuffed With Curried Fried Rice

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Today had me feeling out of sorts and I was in the mood for some healthy comfort food. My acorn squash was going from green to orange, so I knew I had to use it up.  First, I halved the squash and scooped the seeds out. Then I oiled and seasoned the halves. I baked them at 400 F for about 20 minutes.

While the squash was baking, I cooked some brown rice. In a separate pan I sautéed onion, carrot, celery, kale and garlic in sunflower oil. I added Maharajah curry, salt and pepper to the mix. Once the veggies were tender, I added golden raisins and some white wine. When the rice was ready, I added it to the skillet of curried veggies, covered it and left the heat on low.

Once the squash is tender, remove from the oven. Take advantage of the heat and roast some cashews coated in coconut oil, salt and curry powder for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the roasted cashews to the curried rice. Scoop generous portions into the squash.

Enjoy!!

Portobello stuffed with Hummus, Caramelized Onion, and Swiss Cheese

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I fully believe that learning how to cook is one of the most empowering journeys that one can embark on. I have gone from frozen meals to this – a restaurant worthy dish. And, the best part is, this particular recipe is super easy.

Step one: Make or buy your hummus. I make mine, it’s different every time. This time, I soaked dry beans overnight, strain and rinse in the morning, then simmered them for an hour or two, until they were very soft. I reserve some of the liquid and puree the chickpeas while they are still piping hot. I added roasted garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin and olive oil.

Step two: Caramelize the onion. In a cast iron skillet, I melted 2 Tbls of butter and thinly sliced my onion. Slowly cook your onions, this whole process took me about 30 minutes. Towards the end, I added a splash of white wine, just because. Make sure to salt/pepper this as well.

Step three: While onion is cooking, pre-heat oven to 400F and prep the mushroom. Remove the stem and clean the mushroom however you see fit. Sometimes I rinse them if they’re really dirty, otherwise I use a clean, damp cloth. Once clean, season with salt and pepper and put a good layer of hummus inside the cap.

Step four: Add the onion mixture to the portobello. I used about half the onion mix. Cook for 10 minutes.

Step five: Wilt the kale, use the same pan you sautéed the onion and cook until just soft.

Step six: For the balsamic reduction, I used the same pan, again. I used about 1/2c balsamic which reduced to 1-2 tsp. Keep it at a simmer and watch it so it doesn’t burn.

Step seven: Add the cheese (if desired) to the mushroom, cook for another 10 minutes.

Step eight: Plate! Kale-Mushroom-Balsamic.

Enjoy!

Chipotle Corn Chowder

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Nothing like coming back from a blogging hiatus with a smoky soup to awaken your senses. Life certainly has a way of interfering with fun hobbies. The past two months have been occupied with job interviews, relocating and embarking in a new career. So far, so good. The only downside is getting used to my new shift and schedule. And so it goes.

Here I am now though and let me tell you, this soup is pretty amazing. I first made a batch this weekend, taking the ingredients from this recipe and just winging it. I do that a lot with soup and somehow it works. The downside is that when I come on here to blog about it and tell you how delicious it was…I am out a recipe. For me, soups are one of the best dishes to play around with. Not a fan of heat? Sub in a mild curry or cumin or paprika. Mix it up. See what happens! You can almost always (I say almost because some cooking catastrophes cannot be resurrected), balance a soup out by adding herbs, oil, salt, vinegar, starch, etc.

Ok, so with this outstanding soup, the first time I made it, I followed the recipe pretty closely. And by closely I mean I used 90% ingredients with 0% measurement accuracy. The second time I created a recipe similar to this:

  • Olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 5 small potatoes, I used red and yellow, peeled and diced
  • 1 c of corn
  • Dashes of chipotle powder and paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsp veg base
  • 1-2 c plain almond milk
  1. Saute the onion and celery in oil until soft, add the diced potatoes
  2. Sprinkle in your seasoning, start off light, you will taste as you go and adjust as needed
  3. After a few minutes of marrying the seasoning with veggies, add the corn, bay leaf, veg base and almond milk
  4. You want enough liquid so the veggies are comfortable and have some room, with about an inch of liquid above them. If 2 c almond milk isn’t enough, add more or you can add water (*note using full fat coconut milk is really the way to go here)
  5. Simmer everything until potatoes are tender. You can either leave as is or take half out and puree