Veggie Tostadas

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Veggie tostadas are great for evenings where you want a satisfying meal without a lot of work.

For these tostadas, I took a can of black beans, drained and rinsed them; then pulsed them in a food processor with water, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt until I got a smooth consistency. You could also buy ready made refried beans.

For the tortillas, I fried these in a little oil and let them dry on a towel.

In a separate pan, I sautéed veggies that I had on hand: onion, mushrooms, tomato, zucchini and corn. I added spices such as chipotle with a dash of salt. Once the veggies were cooked, I layered the tortilla – bean, veggies, cheese; then baked it at 400 F until crispy!

 

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit

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Veganizing recipes can be a frustrating and arduous process. When successful attempts come along, it’s cause for a celebration! I came across this recipe today and thought, “mmm.. that looks good, but how can I make it better?”

The answer: Jackfruit. If you don’t know what jackfruit is, I suggest you buy some, preferably canned as it’s easier to work with. As jackfruit becomes more mainstream, you should be able to find it nearby. I just spotted cans of jackfruit at Trader Joe’s last weekend.

You can incorporate jackfruit into most shredded beef/chicken/pork recipes (think: burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, rice bowls, tacos, and sandwiches!)

Within minutes I was sautéing some onion and green pepper. When the veggies were tender, I added them along shredded jackfruit to a slow cooker. The special sauce follows in the recipe below. Together, the ingredients simmered low and slow for several hours.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbls brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 c ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 Tbls apple cider vinegar
  • pepper to taste
  • water
  • 1 can of jackfruit in brine (approximately 10 oz drained)
  1. Sauté the onion and green pepper in olive oil until tender (5-10 minutes)
  2. Mix the spices and liquids (water as needed) together to make a sauce
  3. Drain and rinse the jackfruit and shred the jackfruit with your hands or a fork
  4. Add the sautéed veggies and jackfruit to you slow cooker*, add BBQ marinade
  5. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for about 4 hours, then reduce to warm and eat when ready. You will likely want to add water along the way to  make sure the jackfruit stays saucy

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6. Serve on a bun or over rice and top with your favorite barbecue sauce!

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*Don’t have a slow cooker? No worries, follow this recipe and simmer all ingredients on the stove for at least an hour – making sure the veggies are tender and the jackfruit has absorbed some of the sauce.

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.

Classic Tomato Soup with Pepper Relish

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There is nothing better than a hot bowl of tomato soup. On occasion, I will buy cans or cartons of tomato soup from the store and am usually disappointed with the product. While making your own can take a few more minutes, if you have the energy, it’s totally worth it.

Once you get everything into the pot, you simply let it simmer until the veggies are tender. There is very little labor necessary for this recipe. With most soup/stew recipes, feel free to get creative – add cream or fresh herbs, or incorporate a fun spice like berbere!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 6 Tbls butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbls flour (optional, it just helps thicken the soup a bit)
  • salt, pepper, thyme, paprika to taste
  • 1/2 c tomato sauce (optional, I just happened to have some leftover that I wanted to use)
  • 3 small sweet peppers
  • olive oil and balsamic

 

  1. Melt the butter in a pan – please feel free to reduce this amount as I went a little stir crazy with the amount… although if you keep it at 6 Tbls, you won’t be disappointed
  2. Sauté the onion and carrot for 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic. Once this becomes fragrant after a few minutes, add the flour, spices, herbs, and tomatoes. Make sure to crush the whole tomatoes with your spoon. Bring so a simmer, then cover
  3. While the soup is simmering, roast some sweet peppers at 400F until charred. Once they cool, peel the skins and slice them. Dress them with a little olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper
  4. When the soup is ready, garnish with sweet pepper relish

Red Curry Soup

Winters in Minnesota are brutal. Soups and stews are my go to meals for the next 4 months. I was inspired by a recipe from Budget Bytes. Feel free to omit the fish sauce or make a vegan fish sauce. You can also try subbing in Worcestershire for the fish sauce as well.

I particularly like this Red Curry Soup – it has some heat and is loaded with veggies and protein.

I layered my soup with what I had on hand – basmati rice, spinach and tofu:

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The tofu was marinated in a mix of grated ginger, minced garlic, mirin, shoyu/tamari, curry paste and some maple syrup. Then I fried the tofu cubes in coconut oil.

My soup had a few different veggies. Here is the recipe I followed:

  • coconut oil
  • 3 small sweet peppers, diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • grated ginger
  • minced garlic
  • red curry paste, approximately 1 Tbls
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • spinach
  • tofu
  1. Saute diced peppers, sweet potato, and onion for 5-7 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and curry paste, cooking for another 1-3 minutes
  2. Once spices are fragrant, add the coconut milk and 2 cups of veggie broth. Cover and simmer until veggies are fork tender
  3. In a separate pan, fry the marinated tofu. If using spinach, saute in the same pan as the tofu
  4. Layer ingredients in a bowl and top with the soup

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“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.

 

Parmesan Fried Polenta with Roasted Broccolini

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The past few weeks have been unbelievably busy. The first week of March I was diagnosed with melanoma and 8 days later said melanoma was removed and I am officially cancer free. I was very fortunate to have caught this early and highly encourage everyone to go in for yearly skin checks! Also, wear your SPF!

Disclaimer over. Onto delicious food. The dish above was a quick and easy meal with most ingredients premade. I used a healthy pasta sauce with no added sugar or funky ingredients. I also used a premade tube of organic polenta.

To prepare the broccolini: cut the ends, if needed, and then rinse. In a bowl toss the broccolini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400F for 10-15 minutes.

To prepare the polenta: Heat some olive oil in a pan and add some thinly shaved garlic to the oil which will infuse it with flavor. Slice the polenta and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and freshly shaved Parmesan. Fry the polenta slices until light brown.

For extra texture and flavor, we also sautéed some mushrooms in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Top the polenta with pasta sauce and fresh Parmesan. Enjoy!!

 

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!!

Baked Parmesan Pesto Portobello with Gnocchi

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I question whether certain food photos do more harm than good… While this baked portobello looks like something out of a horror film, it tasted delicious, and received a big “wow!” from my dining companion. I whipped up a pesto recipe a few days ago and froze it. When I came up with a meal idea, I let the pesto thaw at room temperature and it was good to go!

And, the gnocchi was from Whole Foods. Sometimes you need an easy out for a meal. Here is mine.

Walnut-Spinach Pesto:

  • 1/4 c walnuts
  • 1/4 c fresh parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 c sunflower or olive oil
  • 5 c fresh spinach (I probably used closer to 6 c)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  1. Blend everything together in a vitamin or food processor, freeze or use right away

For the Baked Parmesan Pesto Portobello

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Lightly drizzle baking dish with olive oil
  3. Remove the caps and gils from two large portobello caps
  4. Season with salt and pepper, spread pesto over cap
  5. Bake for 15 minutes
  6. Remove, top with parmesan, bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese has melted

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