Monday, November 1, 2010

End of An Era

Please note that as of yesterday, I will no longer be adding new posts to this blog.  The archive remains, with nearly 1,000 vegan recipes for you to enjoy, and I hope you will continue to do so!  In the meantime, I'll be blogging in a slightly new format and style over www.veganchronicle.blogspot.com  I look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vegetarian Cashew Chili

This hearty chili feeds a crowd - cashews stand in as the main source of protein instead of meat, for a novel alternative.

In a bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon molasses, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. black pepper and 1 bay leaf; set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add 3 cups chopped onion, 2 and 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper, 1 and 1/2 cups chopped celery, and 3 minced garlic cloves; saute for 8 minutes.

Add the vinegar mixture, along with 2 undrained (15-ounce) cans of kidney beans, 1 undrained (28-ounce) can of whole tomatoes, and 1 undrained (15-ounce) can of pinto beans; break up the tomatoes with a spoon, and continue to cook for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Note: I actually only had 1 can of kidney beans on hand, not 2, so my chili was a little less bean-y!  I also was a tad shy on the red wine vinegar (closer to 1/4 cup) so thinned it the rest of the way with water.

At the end of twenty minutes, discard the bay leaf and stir in 2/3 cup coarsely chopped cashews.  Ladle 1 and 1/2 cups of chili into each of 7 bowls for 7 servings of 350 calories each.

Although I made this dish at home, it also can easily be made outdoors, on these last few weekends warm enough for camping.  Simply pack the vinegar mixture in one zip-top plastic bag, and the chopped vegetables in another.  At the campsite, prepare the soup according to the directions above, in a cast-iron Dutch oven over hot coals.

Cost:
onion $2.75
red bell pepper $3.95
celery $3.39
canned kidney beans $1.99
canned whole tomatoes 3.39
canned pinto beans $1.99

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Potato-Dill Bread

Mashed potatoes lend a nice moistness to this sandwich bread.  Build yummy sandwiches using vegan deli turkey slices, cucumber, and vegan mayo!

To start, combine 1/2 cup warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees) in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon raw sugar, 1 tablespoon dried dill, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 package yeast (about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons).  Let stand for 5 minutes, then add 2/3 cup mashed potato and 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil.

Lightly spoon 2 cups all-purpose flour into measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Add the flour to the potato mixture and stir to form a dough, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic - about 8 to 10 minutes.  You can add up to 1/4 cup more flour as needed to prevent the dough form sticking to your hands, but I found that I only needed to add another tablespoon.  My kneading reminder is this: push the dough down with the palm of your hand, fold it in half, turn it a quarter turn, and repeat!

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning so the top of the dough is coated as well, then cover and let rise for 55 minutes.  My favorite rising spot is an unheated oven, which will be about 85 degrees and free from drafts.  At the end of rising, punch the dough down and let it rest 5 minutes, then roll into a 14x7-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface.


Roll up the rectangle jelly-roll style, pressing to eliminate any air pockets, and pinching the seams and ends to seal.  Place the loaf, seam-side down, in an 8x4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Coat the top of the bread with cooking spray as well, then cover and let rise for 35 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes - the loaf will be lightly browned on top by the end, and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

This loaf makes enough for 10 slices of 150 calories each.

Cost:
baking potato $0.89

Friday, October 29, 2010

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Tarragon

This soup has some sneaky enhancers, like dried mushrooms for flavor and breadcrumbs to add body.

To start, melt 2 teaspoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add 1 and 3/4 cups chopped onion, 1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms, 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon, 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf; saute for 10 minutes - the onions should be lightly browned by the end.

Add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup vegan dry white wine of your choice, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 8 ounces chopped button mushrooms, and 8 ounces chopped cremini mushrooms; cook for 10 minutes.

Place 1 (1-ounce) slice of wheat bread in a food processor and pulse until you have crumbs.  Add to the pot, along with 5 and 1/2 cups water and 1 vegetable bouillon cube.  For the bread, I like the organic whole wheat from the Vermont Bread Company.  Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, then discard the bay leaf at the end.

Working in batches of about 2 and 1/2 cups, transfer the mushroom soup into a blender and process until smooth.  Transfer the pureed soup to a bowl, and stir in 1/4 tsp. salt and 2/3 cup plain soy creamer (such as Silk).

Ladle 1 and 1/3 cups of soup into each of 6 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives.  Each serving is 150 calories.

Cost:
onion $1.31
fresh tarragon $2.49
fresh thyme $2.49
button mushrooms $2.79
cremini mushrooms $1.96
vegetable bouillon $2.99
fresh chives $2.49

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Udon Noodles with Sesame and Tofu

This is a great one-dish meal with a little bit of everything - grains, vegetables, and protein.

Cook 8 ounces of udon noodles according to package directions, then drain and set aside.

For the base of the dressing, the original recipe called for either seasoned rice vinegar or cider vinegar; since I had the latter at home, that's what I used.  If you use seasoned rice vinegar, make sure to read labels as you shop, since most varieties will include sugar.

Whisk together the vinegar of your choice with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper; set aside.

Combine the cooked noodles with 1 and 1/2 cups diced cucumber, 1 cup shredded carrot, 1/4 cup (1-inch) pieces of green onion, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (which you can toast first, if you like), and 1 diced (8-ounce) package of Asian-style baked tofu.  Although the original recipe also called for 1/4 tsp. salt, I left it out to keep overall sodium levels down.

Drizzle the vinegar mixture over the the noodles, and toss to coat.  2 cups makes a serving of 350 calories.

Note: for the tofu, I used the certified vegan Tofu Lin from SoyBoy (their version of Asian-flavored baked tofu).  Whatever brand you choose, make sure to check ingredients - some Asian-style varieties will contain honey!

Cost:
bottled minced garlic $2.69
ginger $1.92
cucumber $1.78
carrot $1.11
green onions $0.99
Asian-style baked tofu $2.79

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baked Oatmeal

Baking oatmeal in the oven is a fun alternative to the stovetop.  Even better, you can save any leftovers in the fridge, and reheat in individual portions, making weekday breakfasts a snap!

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups regular oats with 1/2 cup organic brown sugar, 1/3 cup raisins, 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts, and 1 teaspoon baking powder; set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1/2 cup applesauce, 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), and the equivalent of 1 egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G).  Add the soy milk mixture to the oat mixture, stirring to combine.

Pour the oatmeal into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray, and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  2/3 a cup makes a serving of 290 calories.

Cost:
brown sugar $4.39
plain soy milk $2.49
applesauce $4.49

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Walnut-Stuffed Slow-Cooked Apples

I dusted off my slow cooker to make this yummy dessert tonight!  By the time I was home from evening graduate school classes, it was ready to go...

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons dried currants, 2 and 1/2 tablespoons organic brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon; stir to combine.

Core 4 granny smith apples and peel them about one-third of the way down, then stuff evenly with the walnut mixture.  Place the apples in a slow cooker, and set aside.

Note: I don't have an apple corer, so had to get a little creative here - my solution was to slice the apples in half, cut out the cores, then arrange the walnut mixture between the halves of each apple.  Luckily this seemed to work!  I did forget to peel the top third of the apples, but it hardly seems to have mattered.

In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 cup organic brown sugar, and 3/4 cup apple cider; stir with a whisk to combine.  Pour evenly over the apples, then cover and cook on LOW for 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Remove the apples with a slotted spoon, and place 1 apple on each of 4 dessert plates.  Top each with 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.  Each dessert is 310 calories.  This is great with some non-dairy vanilla ice cream on the side!

Cost:
dried currants $3.39

Monday, October 25, 2010

Broccoli Rabe and White Bean Soup

Here's a soup to warm you up in fall weather!

Cut the stems from 8 ounces of broccoli rabe, then coarsely chop the broccoli rabe; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add 2 cups coarsely chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes.  Add 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper; cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the broccoli rabe and 1/4 tsp. salt; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add 5 cups water; bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Note: I got a little impatient waiting for the soup to boil at medium-high, so confess to turning the heat briefly up a notch.  Also, the original recipe called to add a 3-inch piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind here; I omitted it, since I was unable to think of a substitute; however, there is vegan Parmesan sprinkled on top at the end, which I think lent enough Parmesan flavor to the overall effect.

But to get back to the recipe...rinse and drain a 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, then add to the soup and simmer a final 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast 5 (1-ounce) slices of whole wheat bread - I used the organic wheat from the Vermont Bread company.  Cut a garlic clove in half, and rub the cut sides of the garlic evenly over both sides of the toast.  Tear the toast into bite-sized pieces, then divide evenly among 4 bowls.

Ladle 1 and 1/2 cups soup into each bowl over the toast pieces.  Sprinkle each serving with 1 to 2 tablespoons grated vegan Parmesan topping (such as Galaxy Foods), according to taste.  Each serving is 270 calories.

Cost:
broccoli rabe $2.99
onion $1.53
canned cannellini beans $2.19
whole wheat bread $4.39

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sweet Potato and 'Canadian Bacon' Hash

Try the vegan Canadian bacon slices from Yves Veggie to make this dish!  You can serve the hash as a side, or as the centerpiece of a hearty weekend brunch.

Place 4 cups diced and peeled sweet potato and 2 cups diced red potato in a saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes; drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 cup chopped vegan Canadian bacon and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add 1 cup chopped green bell pepper and 2/3 cup chopped green onions; cook for 2 minutes.

Add the cooked potatoes, along with 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. celery seed, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg; cook for 4 minutes.

(Note: I realized I had celery salt instead of celery seeds, so I used 1/2 teaspoon of that but omitted the 1/4 tsp. salt in the step above).

Finally, stir in 1/4 cup broth and 1 tablespoon cider vinegar; stir or toss gently until the liquid is absorbed.

You'll have 6 servings of 1 cup and 210 calories each.

Cost:
sweet potato
red potato
green bell pepper
green onions

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chocolate Spiderweb Cookies

These fun cookies are the perfect treat to make in the days leading up to Halloween!

Lightly spoon 1 cup all-purpose flour into a measuring cup, and level with a knife.  Combine the flour with 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1/8 tsp. salt; set aside.

Place 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (such as Earth Balance) in a stand mixer and beat until the shortening is fluffy.  I probably should have let it soften a bit ahead of time, since mine never quite reached the fluffy stage, so I recommend removing the shortening from the fridge a little before you plan to make the cookies.

Add 2/3 cup vegan sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat after each addition.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and the equivalent of 1 egg white made with egg replacer (such as Ener-G); beat until combined.  Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.  I found it helpful to use my hands as well as a wooden spoon, kneading the batter together into a dough more than I was actually stirring it.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of wax paper and shape into a 6-inch log, then wrap in the wax paper and freeze for 2 hours - you want it to be very firm.

Slice the log into 24 (1/4-inch thick) cookies.  Place the cookies on baking sheets coated with cooking spray, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Once cool, make the frosting: combine 2 cups organic powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons plain soy milk (such as Silk) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth.  Transfer to a zip-top plastic bag and seal, then snip a tiny hole in one corner of the bag.  On each cookie, pipe 3 concentric circles.  Starting at the center circle, pull a toothpick through the other circles at regular intervals so you have a "web."

Each cookie is 110 calories.  Happy early Halloween!

Cost:
vegetable shortening $3.49

Friday, October 22, 2010

Garlicky Lemon Broccoli


Here's a quick, flavorful side dish for a busy night!

The one bit of the recipe that struck me as odd was the very first step: to peel the stems of 1 and 1/2 pounds broccoli spears with a vegetable peeler. Having never seen such an instruction before, I looked it up online, where it seems that broccoli stems can be quite bitter, so peeling them leads to a sweeter overall dish.

Once you've completed that step, combine the broccoli spears in a large skillet with 1/2 cup water; cover and cook over medium-high heat for 6 minutes. Remove the broccoli from pan, and wipe the pan down with a paper towel.

Reduce the heat to medium, and melt 2 teaspoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in the pan; add 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and 2 chopped garlic cloves; cook for 2 minutes.

Return the broccoli to the pan and toss to coat, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind and drizzle with 2 teaspoons lemon juice.

1 cup of broccoli makes a side serving of 70 calories.

Cost:
broccoli $9.92
lemon $0.89

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall Pear Galette


Last night I made pear crumble, and tonight I'm making another dessert with pears, perfect to finish off an autumn meal. My galette didn't come out quite as elegantly as I hoped, since I was using pre-made (vegan!) pie dough from Wholly Wholesome. The dough comes fitted into a pie plate; however, if you thaw it, you can roll it out and shape as desired. It was more my impatience than anything else that meant my rolling was a tad uneven, resulting on a rather jagged crust. Normally, however, the process should work just fine, or, if you prefer, you can make pie dough at home with your favorite vegan recipe, then follow the instructions below:

Roll 1 (9-ounce) pie dough into an 11-inch circle. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat the foil with cooking spray; place the dough on the foil, then set aside.

Next, the original recipe called for 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar, so I used the sharp cheddar Sheese, available online at veganessentials.com. Sprinkle the 'cheese' evenly over the crust, leaving about a 1-inch border.

Next, peel and core 5 ripe pears, and cut into 1-inch slices. The original recipe suggested either Bartlett or D'Anjou pears, so I actually used a mixture - 3 of the latter and 2 of the former. In a large bowl, combine the pear slices with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg; toss well to coat. Add 1/4 cup organic brown sugar and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, then toss gently to combine.

Arrange the pear mixture evenly over the crust, leaving about a 2-inch border - your pears will be piled quite high, but don't worry! They will shrink down during cooking. Fold the edges of the pie crust toward the center, forming a rim around the pears.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

Soon before serving, place 1/3 cup vegan sugar (such as Wholesome Sweeteners) in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook until the sugar dissolves, stirring as needed so it dissolves evenly - it should take about 4 minutes. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 1 minute, until the mixture turns golden. Drizzle this 'caramel' sauce over the galette.











Divide the galette into 8 wedges for 8 desserts of 300 calories each.

Cost:
frozen pie shell $4.39
Bartlett pears $3.64
D'Anjou pears $2.84

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pear-Amaretti Crumble

I loved the contrast between the warm pears and the cold vanilla 'ice cream' in this easy dessert!

In a large bowl, combine 2 and 3/4 cups thinly sliced pear, 2 tablespoons organic brown sugar, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind and 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice; toss to coat.  The original recipe didn't specify which type of pear to use, so I chose bartlett, but I imagine any variety would do.

Divide the mixture evenly among 4 (8-ounce) ramekins.  Next, the original recipe said to drizzle 1 tablespoon Marsala over each serving, and to sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon crumbled amaretti cookie crumbs.  Marsala is one of those alcoholic products I can never quite get a vegan confirmation on - nothing I find online says it isn't vegan, and plenty of my fellow vegan bloggers use it in recipes, so I assume it is okay.  As for the amaretti cookies, most store-bought varieties contain eggs, but the closest alternative I know are the almond cookies from Joseph's Lite Cookies.

Bake the crumbles at 500 degrees for 8 minutes.  Top each serving with 1/3 cup non-dairy vanilla 'ice cream' of your choice - my favorite is the vanilla from Soy Delicious - and serve!  Each crumble is 230 calories.

Cost:
pears $4.28
lemon $0.89
vanilla soy ice cream $4.19

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Barley Pilaf with Artichoke Hearts

The original recipe I was following tonight called for quick-cooking barley; however, I have regular pearled barley at home, which can be made into a quick-cooking version with only a little prep work, so that seemed to make more sense than buying a whole new product.  Simply combine 1 cup pearled barley and 2 cups water in the afternoon, and let stand for 5 to 8 hours, then drain.  Voila!  Quick-cooking barley.

To make the actual recipe, combine the drained barley with 2 cups warm water and 1/4 tsp. salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook at a boil for 3 minutes, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the liquid is all absorbed - although not quite as fast as actual quick-cooking barley (which takes about 8 minutes), my barley was ready in 18 minutes - far faster than the usual hour required.

While the barley cooks, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 (14-ounce) drained and rinsed can of quartered artichoke hearts and 1 teaspoon minced garlic; cook for 3 minutes.

Once the barley is finished cooking, stir in 2 tablespoons pesto, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 (15-ounce) drained and rinsed can of garbanzo beans.  Pesto can be a tricky item to buy since so many varieties contain cheese - I find it safer to buy pesto paste (which comes in a tube), since it is more likely to be vegan.

Spoon 1 cup of the barley mixture onto each of 4 plates or bowls.  Top each serving with about 1/4 cup of the artichoke mixture and 2 tablespoons shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (I used the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods).  Each serving is 410 calories.

Cost:
canned quartered artichoke hearts $3.39
canned chickpeas $1.99
vegan cheese $3.69

Monday, October 18, 2010

'Chicken' Cacciatore "Pronto"

Not only does this recipe make standard chicken cacciatore vegan, but it also makes it much faster!  I used 8 'chick'n filets' from Gardein for this recipe, in place of 8 chicken thighs.  You can also try shaping chicken thighs from Match meat vegan chicken, if you prefer!

To start, place 1/2 an ounce of dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl; pour 1 cup hot water over the mushrooms and let stand for 30 minutes.  Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and finely chop, then set aside.  Line a sieve with cheesecloth, and filter the soaking liquid into a new bowl; discard the cheesecloth and any solids, and set the remaining liquid aside.

Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. black pepper evenly over the 'chicken'; I omitted the salt in the original recipe, since Gardein chicken already has salt in it.  Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the 'chicken' and cook for 4 minutes on each side - it should be nicely browned by the end.

Remove the 'chicken' from the pan, and reduce the heat to medium.  Add 3 minced garlic cloves to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add 2 tablespoons minced parsley and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the chopped porcini mushrooms, and cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in the reserved mushroom liquid, 3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup vegetable broth, and 1/2 cup water; bring the mixture to a simmer, then return the 'chicken' to the pan.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan a final time; increase the heat to medium-high, and cook the sauce until it is reduced to 1 cup (about 5 to 10 minutes).

Arrange 2 pieces of 'chicken' plus 1/4 cup sauce on each of 4 plates, and sprinkle an additional tablespoon of minced parsley evenly over all the servings.  Each serving is 270 calories.  I liked this with some jasmine rice and green beans to round out the meal!

Cost:
dried porcini mushrooms $4.99
vegan chicken $8.98
canned crushed tomatoes $2.50

Sunday, October 17, 2010

'Cheddar' Grit Cakes with Roasted Peppers

This make-ahead dish is great for entertaining!

To start, combine 1 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk) and 14 ounces vegetable broth in a saucepan; bring to a boil, then stir in 3/4 cup uncooked grits and 2 teaspoons minced jalapeno; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheddar and stir until the cheese melts, then transfer to a 9-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours - the mixture should be set by the end.

Since the original recipe actually called for sharp cheddar, this dish is a great opportunity to use the vegan sharp cheddar from Sheese!  You can order it online at veganessentials.com.

To prepare the pepper topping, cut 3 medium-sized bell peppers in half lengthwise and discard the seeds and membranes.  Use a mixture of orange and red peppers, for the prettiest color contrast to the yellow grits.  Since I had a particularly large red bell pepper, I only ended up using 1 red and 1 orange, instead of 3 peppers total.

Place the peppers, skin-sides up, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and flatten with the palm of your hand.  Broil for 15 minutes, then transfer to a zip-top plastic bag and let stand for 15 minutes.  Peel and cut into 1-inch strips.

Combine the peppers with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. ground coriander, and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Note: if you want to make the pepper mixture ahead of time, you can do so as far as a day before.  Just microwave for about 30 seconds before serving!

When you're ready to serve, cut the grits into 4 squares.  Cut each square into 2 diagonal triangles, so you have 8 triangles total.  Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat and cook the triangles for 4 minutes on each side.

Serve 2 grit cakes with 1/2 cup of the pepper mixture on each of 4 plates, for 4 servings of 250 calories each.

Cost:
vegetable broth $2.49
jalapeno pepper $0.08
red bell pepper $1.82
orange bell pepper $1.66

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

These hearty, main-dish peppers should please even meat-eaters!

To start, cut the tops from 3 medium-sized red bell peppers; discard the seeds and membranes, leaving the pepper shells intact.  Cook the peppers in a large pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Heat 1/2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 6 tablespoons finely chopped shallots and saute for 3 minutes.  Add 2 cups chopped mushrooms; saute for 4 minutes.  Any type of mushroom ought to work, but I used regular button mushrooms.

Stir in 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons slivered almonds (which you can toast first, if you like), 1 and 1/2 tablespoons sherry (I always use the unfiltered Fino en Rama from Alvear), and 3/4 tsp. chile powder; saute for 3 minutes.  The original recipe actually called for ancho chile powder, but since I couldn't find that particular variety, I used the regular chile powder in my spice cabinet.

Next, stir in 1 and 1/4 cups cooked brown rice, 1/2 cup tomato juice (such as R.W. Knudsen), 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, and a pinch of salt; cook for a final 3 minutes.

Spoon about 3/4 cup of the rice mixture into each pepper, and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon vegan grated Parmesan (such as Galaxy Foods).  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Each stuffed pepper is 240 calories.

Cost:
It's the final night of groceries from my trip to the store without a receipt!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Stir-Fried Potatoes with Vinegar and Hot Peppers

Here's a fun way to make potatoes with an Asian-flavored twist!

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon dry sherry, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vegan sugar (such as Wholesome Sweeteners), 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce, and 1/4 tsp. salt; set aside.  Note: my favorite sherry to use is the unfiltered Fino en Rama from Alvear, so I can be sure it is vegan!

Peel and julienne-cut 4 cups of potato (the pieces should be about 1 inch long).  Place in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry.

Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions, 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 2 thinly sliced Thai chiles; saute for 30 seconds, then add the potatoes and stir-fry for 4 minutes.

Note: Thai chiles are small, thin, red ones, and they are quite spicy.  If you prefer, you can only use one, but I decided to go for the full spicy effect and use two.

Add the soy sauce mixture and stir-fry a final minute, then divide the mixture into 4 side serving of 1 cup and 210 calories each.  This dish is best when eaten immediately.

Cost:
It's another night of groceries from my trip to the store without a receipt!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chai-'Buttermilk' Spice Cake

This very un-vegan cake can be made vegan with a few tweaks.

First, pour 1/2 cup boiling water over 6 black chai tea bags in a bowl; let steep for 5 minutes, then discard the tea bags and let the liquid cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, lightly spoon 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour into measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flour in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/3 cup vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti) with 1/4 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance); beat until well combined - about 2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup vegan sugar and 1/2 cup organic brown sugar (for both, I like Wholesome Sweeteners); beat until combined.

Add the brewed tea liquid, along with 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil; beat to combine.

Next, make the equivalent of 1 cup vegan buttermilk: pour 1 tablespoon lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, and fill with plain soy milk (such as Silk) to equal 1 cup; let stand for 5 minutes to clabber (sour) the mixture.

Add the flour mixture and the 'buttermilk' alternately to the rest of the batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture, and beating after each addition.

Now it's time to whip up some vegan egg whites!  The original recipe called for two egg whites, beaten into stiff peaks.  To make that vegan, make the equivalent of 2 eggs with Ener-G egg replacer (I do not recommend other vegan egg substitutes for this particular step) and place in a large bowl.  Beat for 12 minutes - yes 12! - to get the full effect of 'stiff peaks'.  After about 2 minutes of beating, add 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar.  About half way through the 12 minutes, start adding 1/4 cup vegan sugar (1 tablespoon at a time), beating well between each addition.  By the end, you'll have lovely, foamy 'egg whites'.

Gently stir one-third of the 'egg whites' into the rest of the batter, then fold in the remaining 'egg whites'.  Spoon the batter into a 9-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  The original recipe said 35 minutes, but I've learned that vegan 'egg whites' take a bit longer to set than the real thing, so I baked my cake for 40 minutes - at which point it was so perfect I could hardly believe it!

Cool the cake, still in the pan, on a wire rack, then dust with 1/4 cup powdered sugar once cooled.  Here's a photo of the cook just before dusting with the powdered sugar (where, again, I recommend Wholesome Sweeteners).  Divide into 12 squares of 270 calories each.  This cake is perfect with - of course- a cup of tea!

Cost:
Alas, these groceries were bought the day my cashier did not hand me my receipt!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Potato Gnocchi in Mushroom Broth

Every bit of this hearty fall meal is homemade, from the broth to the adorable potato dumplings.

To make the broth, combine 6 cups water, 3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms, 2 cups thinly sliced carrot, 2 cups thinly sliced leek, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, and 5 thyme sprigs in a Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a bowl through a sieve, and discard the solids.  Stir 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce into the broth; set aside.  (Note: you can make the broth up to a day ahead, if you like, to save time on the night of actual preparation).

To make the gnocchi, pierce 1 and 3/4 pounds baking potatoes (about 2) with a fork several times, then bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.  Let cool slightly before peeling and mashing the potatoes.  The skins will have crisped around the edges and should peel right off in your fingers, with no need for a vegetable peeler!

Combine the potato with 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and the equivalent of 1 egg yolk using egg replacer (such as Ener-G), which is 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of the powder whisked into 1 tablespoon warm water.  Stir until you form a dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.  I actually found my dough was perfect without any extra flour at all.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, and shape each into a 15-inch rope.  Cut each rope into 15 pieces (so you now have 60 pieces of gnocchi total).  Roll each piece into a small ball, then press with the tines of a fork.  Place the gnocchi on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, cover, and set aside while you bring 12 cups of water to a boil in a Dutch oven.

Add half of the gnocchi to the water; cook until they float - about 2 minutes - then remove with a slotted spoon and place in a colander.  Repeat with the remaining half of the gnocchi.  Here's the gnocchi before covering it with the mushroom broth:



Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms, 1 cup julienne-cut leek, and 1 cup julienne-cut carrot.  Cook for 10 minutes, then set aside.



Return the mushroom both to a boil.  Stir the cooked mushroom/leek/carrot mixture into the broth.

Place 10 gnocchi in the bottom of each of 6 bowls, and ladle 1 cup of the broth mixture into each bowl.  You'll have 6 servings of 270 calories each - just add some hearty bread to round out the meal!

Cost:
I wish I could let you know!  Unfortunately, the cashier at Whole Foods did not give me my receipt, so looks like I'm unable to report for the first time since starting this blog!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup with Seared Radicchio

I've always liked butternut squash soup, but this may be the yummiest variation I've ever had!

To start, cut a small (1 and 1/2 pound) butternut squash in half legnthwise; discard the seeds. Place the squash halves, cut-sides down, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray; bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly so you don't burn your hands, then scoop out the pulp and set aside; discard the skins.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 and 1/4 cups chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (use 1/4 tsp. dried sage, if you prefer), and 1/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or just a dash of dried thyme); cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the squash pulp, 2 and 1/4 cups water, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, and 1 minced garlic clove; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth; set aside.

Note: I actually forgot to add the minced garlic before cooking, but added it at the end after pureeing. Doing so meant that my soup had a more garlicky bite to it than it otherwise would have, but I found it delicious! I also didn't have fresh parsley at home, but decided I could forgo the small amount called for. Finally, I added too much black pepper above (a full 1/4 tsp.), so I omitted the black pepper in the step below...

...which is to make the radicchio topping. First, thinly slice 3 cups of radicchio. Heat 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add the radicchio, along with 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and drizzle with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar.

Ladle 1 and 1/3 cups of the soup into each of 3 bowls. Top each serving with about 1/3 cup of the radicchio, and sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon vegan grated Parmesan (such as Galaxy Foods). Each bowl of soup is 220 calories.

Cost:
onion $1.45
fresh sage $2.49
radicchio $3.44

Monday, October 11, 2010

Breakfast Soft Tacos with Persimmon Salsa

These tacos make a hearty breakfast to get you going in the morning! Or, try serving them for brunch or an easy dinner. The recipe called for pepper jack cheese, and believe it or not, a vegan version exists, from Cheezly - you can find it online at vegan stores such as veganessentials.com

To make the persimmon salsa, peel and chop 1 and 3/4 cups ripe persimmon (about 2 to 3 persimmons, depending on size). Combine the persimmon in a bowl with 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion, 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1 diced and seeded jalapeno pepper; set aside.

Next, peel and cube 3 and 1/4 cups baking potato. To speed up preparation, place the potato in a microwave-safe bowl, then cover and microwave for about 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave - the potato should be tender by the end.

Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat; add the potato, and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup shredded vegan pepper jack and 1 (14-ounce) package of firm tofu, crumbled to look like scrambled eggs; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. I also added 1/2 tsp. turmeric for scrambled egg color, although you don't need to.

Meanwhile, warm 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas according to package directions. I prefer whole wheat tortillas to regular white, but either will work for this recipe. Spoon 2/3 cup of the potato mixture down the center of each tortilla, and top each with about 1/3 cup of the persimmon salsa, then roll up.

Here's a picture of the taco just before rolling:


Each tortilla is 340 calories.

Cost:
red onion $0.42
cilantro $1.69
lime $0.50
jalapeno $0.08
baking potato $1.79
vegan pepper jack $4.49
firm tofu $2.39
flour tortillas $1.69

Sunday, October 10, 2010

'Pork Loin Chops' with Cinnamon Apples

Tonight, I was finally brave enough to the try the vegan ground pork from Match meats - and boy am I glad I did!

This versatile product can be shaped any way you like - into a full 'tenderloin', into pork medallions, or into individual cutlets or burgers. However you want to prepare it, thaw the product the night before in the fridge, so it is ready to be shaped when you put your recipe together (note: Match meats can also be re-frozen, if you don't use a whole package). For this recipe, thaw 1 (1-pound) package of Match pork.

Divide the Match pork into 4 equal portions, and shape each into about a 1/2-inch thick "chop". In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper; sprinkle evenly over the 'pork'.

Heat 1/2 tsp. vegetable or canola oil in a medium skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add the 'pork' and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

In the same pan, melt 1 teaspoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance). Add 4 cups (1/2-inch) slices of peeled Granny Smith apple, along with 1 tablespoon organic brown sugar, 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt; cook for 5 minutes - the apples should be tender by the end.

Serve 1 pork chop with about 3/4 cup of the apple mixture for 4 servings of 260 calories. All you need are some green peas or broccoli on the side to round out the meal!

Cost:
Match pork $7.50
Granny smith apples $4.36

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Dip

This easy and scrumptious dip is a great way to give kids sweets without junk food!

In a bowl, combine 6 ounces vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti), 1/2 cup organic brown sugar, and 1/2 cup canned pumpkin; beat with a mixer until blended. Add 2 teaspoons maple syrup and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon; beat until smooth.

Cover and chill for 30 minutes before serving, then serve with apple slices. About 2 tablespoons dip and 2 apple slices makes a nosh of 110 calories. The original recipe didn't specify how many apples to use or how large the slices should be, so I decided to cut 2 apples into 12 wedges each. It also didn't mention what variety of apple would go well with the dip, but I found that Braeburn apples were particularly delicious.

Note: I very nearly forgot the maple syrup and cinnamon, I was so distracted as I made the dip tonight! Luckily I remembered to stir them in just before serving.

Cost:
canned pumpkin $2.99
apples $2.99

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chickpea Stew Scented with Lemon and Cumin

This one-dish meal is perfect for busy nights!

Heat 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 3/4 tsp. minced garlic, and saute for 3 minutes.

Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 (15-ounce) rinsed and drained can of chickpeas, and 1 (14.5-ounce) undrained can of diced tomatoes; bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes. At the end, stir in 1/4 cup chopped green onions.

Note: I had to omit the black pepper tonight, because I was all out! I guess even staples run out sometimes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; add 1/2 cup dry polenta, stirring with a whisk. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then remove from heat. Stir in 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance - which I forgot!), then cover and let stand until the stew is finished cooking.

Serve 1 and 1/3 cups stew over 2/3 cup polenta in each of 3 bowls. Dollop each serving with 2 tablespoons vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti). Each serving is 400 calories.

Cost:
canned chickpeas $1.99
canned diced tomatoes $1.99

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ziti with Chard

This quick pasta dish was a great way to use up leftovers in my kitchen!

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 8 cups chopped Swiss chard and 4 minced garlic cloves; saute for 2 minutes.

Note: although I know the chard is supposed to wilt down in those two minutes, I'm worried mine wilted a little too much - I had actually chopped it and frozen it in advance, so by the time I added it to the skillet tonight, it was already fairly wilted down - alas!

After sauteeing, combine the chard mixture in a large bowl with 4 cups cooked ziti pasta, 2 cups halved grape tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped and pitted kalamata olives, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper; toss to combine, then sprinkle 1/4 cup shaved vegan cheese in place of Romano over the top - I used the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods.

Divide into 4 equal servings of about 2 cups and 340 calories each.

Cost:
grape tomatoes $2.99

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crisp Polenta Rounds with Fresh Figs, Raspberries, and Maple Syrup

This recipe makes an elegant little dessert!

To start, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat; add 1/4 cup finely chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 1 cup dry polenta, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt; continue to stir with a whisk for about 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. The liquid should all be absorbed by the end, and I actually briefly increased the heat back to medium when it looked like the polenta wasn't absorbing water quite fast enough.

Transfer the polenta to an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, then refrigerate - uncovered - for 30 minutes to cool.

Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut 8 rounds from the polenta, and place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. The original recipe said to discard the leftovers, but I found that to be an extravagant waste - nearly 2/3 of the polenta remained! Since polenta can easily be savory as well as sweet, I recommend saving the leftovers for dinner tomorrow night, perhaps in a commercial pasta sauce for a quick meal.

Meanwhile, bake the 8 polenta rounds at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, turning over half-way through - they will be beautifully crisp by the end. Cool completely on a wire rack.

When it comes time to assemble dessert, place 2 polenta rounds on each of 4 plates. Slice 6 fresh figs each in half. Arrange 3 fig halves and 5 raspberries over each dessert plate, and drizzle each serving with 2 tablespoons maple syrup.

Finally, combine 2 tablespoons vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti) with 2 tablespoons plain soy yogurt (such as Silk); top each serving with 1 tablespoon of the 'sour cream' mixture. Each dessert is 380 calories - garnish with some fresh rosemary sprigs for a pretty presentation, if you like!

Cost:
raspberries $3.99
fresh figs $3.99

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Orange-Ginger Skillet 'Chicken'

The 'chicken' in the frozen vegan buffalo wings from Gardein is the perfect stand in for chicken breast tenders in this recipe - simply discard the sauce that comes packaged separately, or save it for another use.

I faced the same dilemma tonight as I did with my Beef Curry with Toasted Spices a few weeks back - that is, whether or not it is safe to thaw Gardein and marinate ahead of time. To play it safe, I skipped the marinating step, and simply combined the still-frozen 'chicken' with the marinating ingredients just before cooking.

To make the marinade, combine 1/2 cup chopped orange sections, 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar (in place of honey), 1 teaspoon grated and peeled fresh ginger, and 1/2 tsp. ground coriander in a large bowl.

Add 12 ounces of Gardein 'buffalo wing' chicken - about 16 chicken pieces; toss to combine, then add to a large skillet heated over medium-high heat. Cook for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook 8 ounces of rotini pasta according to package directions. Tonight I opted for the spelt rotini from VitaSpelt for an extra nutrition boost over wheat pasta.

Add 4 cups of the cooked rotini to the skillet and cook a final 5 minutes. You'll have 3 servings of about 2 cups and 480 calories each.

Note: although you can make this recipe at home, as I did, it also was recommended for camping! Bring the marinade ingredients along in a zip-top plastic bag, and pack the frozen 'chicken' and the cooked pasta separately. Cook according to the same directions as above, in a cast-iron skillet over hot coals at the campsite!

Cost:
orange $1.18
green onions $0.99
lemon juice $2.99
agave nectar $4.99
ginger $0.40
rotini $2.00

Monday, October 4, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto

Winter squashes have hit the market! My first squash recipe of the season is this savory risotto. You can make it a side dish or main dish, depending on portion size.

In a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water and 14 ounces vegetable broth; bring to a simmer but do not boil, then keep warm over low heat.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion and cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently - the onion should be golden by the end.

Add 1/4 cup water, 1 and 1/2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 3/4-inch pieces), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper; cook for 10 minutes.

Add 3/4 cup Arborio rice, and stir to combine. Add 1/4 cup of the broth mixture, and cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue adding the remaining broth mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly as each portion is absorbed before adding the next - it will take about 30 minutes total.

At the end, stir in 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (I used the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods), 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

2/3 cup makes a side serving of 280 calories, but as I mentioned, double that to make this risotto the centerpiece of the meal.

Cost:
vegetable broth $2.49
butternut squash $1.88
Arborio rice $0.74

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Simple Roasted Fingerlings

This dish is precisely what it sounds like from the title - a quick, simple side dish of roasted potatoes to round out a fall dinner. You can use either red or yellow fingerling potatoes, or a combination of the two - I used all yellow.

Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 and 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. coarse salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper, tossing to combine.

Bake at 400 degrees until tender - about 20 to 25 minutes, then divide into 4 equal servings of 200 calories each.

Cost:
fingerling potatoes $5.99

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lentil Soup with Chard

It's October, and my palate is officially craving soups for fall! Tonight's post will probably be the first of many soup dishes in the weeks to come.

To start, combine 1 and 3/4 cups dried lentils, 2 quarts (8 cups) water, 1 cup diced carrot, 1/2 tsp. salt, a dash of dried thyme, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 2 parsley sprigs, and 2 bay leaves in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Note: although the original recipe called for brown lentils, I had a green at home, which are just fine are nearly interchangeable as a substitute.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 cups chopped onion and 1 teaspoon ground cumin; saute for 10 minutes - the onion should be browned by the end.

Stir the onion mixture into the lentil soup once the soup has finished simmering; discard the bay leaves and parsley sprigs. Stir in 6 cups torn Swiss chard, then simmer the soup, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Ladle 1 and 1/3 cups soup into each of 6 bowls. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon plain soy yogurt (such as Silk). Each serving of soup is 290 calories.

Cost:
carrot $0.77
Swiss chard $1.99

Friday, October 1, 2010

Caesar Salad

A few easy switches are all it takes to make the very un-vegan Caesar into a vegan-friendly salad.

Ahead of time, make homemade Crisp Croutons for the salad - place 6 cups of (1/2-inch) cubed sourdough bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon onion powder; toss to coat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. You'll have more croutons than you need for this recipe, so use the rest in lunchtime salads in the week ahead!

To make the dressing, place 3 tablespoons silken tofu, 1 tablespoon water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a bowl; whisk until smooth. Gradually add 3 tablespoons olive oil, whisking constantly. Add 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sun-dried tomato paste (in place of anchovy paste), 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (such as Annie's), 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 2 minced garlic cloves.

Place 18 cups of torn romaine lettuce in a large bowl, along with 2 cups Crisp Croutons, and 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (I used the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods). Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and toss to coat.

You'll have 12 servings of about 1 and 1/2 cups and 80 calories each. Serve alongside bowls of a hearty veggie stew for a great start-to-autumn supper!

Cost:
silken tofu $2.39
sun-dried tomato paste $4.99
romaine lettuce $2.79
sourdough bread $2.79
vegan cheese

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Orange Banana-Nut Bread

Here's another variation on banana bread to try, following my Molasses-Oat Banana Bread and Cardamom Banana Bread with Pistachios. It's probably the last time I'll make banana bread for awhile, but keep experimenting with different ingredients and flavor combinations if you like! This particular variety is delicious for breakfast - try it with a thin layer of vegan cream cheese on top, or topping it with strawberry, peach, or kiwi slices!

Lightly spoon 2 cups all-purpose flour into measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour in a large bowl with 3/4 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup raw sugar and 1/4 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance); beat for about 1 minute, until well blended. Add the equivalent of 2 eggs made with egg replacer (such as Ener-G), one at a time, beating between each addition.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons grated orange rind, and 3 tablespoons orange juice; beat to combine. Add the flour mixture, and beat just until blended.

Stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, then spoon the batter into an 8x4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes - a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Cool the bread for 10 minutes, in the pan, on a wire rack, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. You'll have 16 slices of 180 calories each.

Cost:
banana $1.26
orange $1.23

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Gorgonzola'-Walnut Fettuccine with Toasted Breadcrumbs

This elegant pasta dish works great for company! As with the Crostini with 'Gorgonzola', Caramelized Onions, and Fig Jam that I made last night, try the soy blue cheese from Sunergia in this recipe.

To start, tear 1 slice of white bread into pieces, and place in a food processor; process until you have coarse breadcrumbs. Place the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees until dry - the original recipe said 30 minutes, but I only gave mine 20 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 4 minced garlic cloves and saute for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then add the breadcrumbs - return the pan to the heat and cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.

Cook 8 ounces of fettuccine according to package directions, then drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the breadcrumb mixture, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/4 cup crumbled soy blue cheese, 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts (which you can toast first, if you like), 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper; toss to combine.

This dish is best served immediately. You'll have 4 servings of 1 and 1/2 cups and 330 calories each.

Cost:
parsley $1.69
walnuts $5.49

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Crostini with 'Gorgonzola', Caramelized Onions, and Fig Jam

These tasty little crostini make a great appetizer! In place of gorgonzola, I used the soy blue cheese from Sunergia. You'll have more fig jam than you need for this recipe, so use leftovers on breakfast toast!

To make the jam, place 1 cup dried figs and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Transfer the figs to a saucepan, along with 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thick. Use your judgment on this step - the original recipe said it would take about 25 minutes, but mine wasn't like jam until about 45 minutes - perhaps I wasn't simmering over high enough heat.

Let the jam cool completely before making the rest of the recipe (I made mine early in the afternoon).

To make the onions, heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add 2 cups sliced yellow onion, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. chopped thyme, and 1/4 tsp. salt; cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 20 minutes - the onions should be a deep golden brown by the end. Add up to 1/2 cup water to the pan as needed to keep the onions from sticking to the pan.

Meanwhile, slice 24 (1-inch) slices of French bread baguette; toast for a couple of minutes on each side under the broiler.

Crumble 3 ounces of soy blue cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the 'cheese' on each baguette slice. Top each slice with 1 teaspoon of the fig jam and 1 teaspoon of the caramelized onions. Sprinkle the crostini evenly with an additional teaspoon of chopped thyme.

2 crostini make an appetizer nosh of 110 calories.

Cost:
dried figs $5.49
yellow onion $1.18
French bread baguette $2.29

Monday, September 27, 2010

Curried Cauliflower

I made a slightly milder curry powder for this Indian-spiced side dish, that marries will with vegetables, but you can use store-bought curry powder if you like.

To make the Mild Curry Powder, simply combine: 1 and 1/2 tablespoons ground paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric, 1/2 tsp. ground coriander, 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom, and 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper - that will make more than you need for this recipe, but use leftovers in the coming weeks over other curried vegetable dishes!


To prepare the cauliflower, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup thinly sliced onion and 1 tablespoon finely chopped and peeled ginger; cover and cook for 3 minutes, stirring at regular intervals.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon of the Mild Curry Powder, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic; cook for 30 seconds.

Add 5 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 head), 1/2 cup chopped, seeded, and peeled tomato, 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt (such as Whole Soy), 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro stems, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

1 cup of the cauliflower is 90 calories. Serve with rice and a protein dish (such as lentils or chickpeas) to round out the meal!

Note: this is one of those recipes that moves fast, so have all your prep work done in advance. That includes peeling the tomato - simply mark an X in the bottom of 1 tomato, then place in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process - the skin will slip right off. Finally, seed and chop to equal 1/2 cup.

Cost:
ginger $1.53
cauliflower head $3.99
tomato $1.80
cilantro $1.69

Sunday, September 26, 2010

'Chicken' with Fennel, Tomato, and Tarragon Vinegar

The vegan chick'n cutlets from Gardein were the perfect product to use in this recipe, which originally called for 8 chicken thighs. Each package of Gardein has 4 cutlets, so you'll need 2 packages for the recipe below.

The recipe also called for chopped, seeded, and peeled tomatoes, which takes a bit of prep work, but is worth the extra effort. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water boils, slit a shallow X on the bottom of 3 tomatoes. Boil for 1 minute, then transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water. The peels will slip off easily. Seed and chop the tomatoes to equal 2 cups; set aside.

Now on to the rest of the recipe!

Sprinkle 1/8 tsp. black pepper evenly over the 'chicken' cutlets. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; dd the 'chicken' and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, then remove from the pan. Cut 2 fennel bulbs into quarters; add the fennel quarters to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, turning so they brown evenly on all sides. Remove the fennel from the pan, and add 3 minced garlic cloves; saute for 30 seconds.

Add 14 ounces vegetable broth, 1/3 cup tarragon vinegar, and 2 fresh tarragon sprigs to the skillet; scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the browned bits that have accumulated, then bring the mixture to a boil. Return the fennel to the pan, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 7 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, cover, and continue to simmer on low for a final 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken and fennel from the pan a final time. Add 1/8 tsp. black pepper, the chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon plain soy creamer (such as Silk), and 1/2 tsp. raw sugar to the broth mixture. Bring to a boil, then cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 10 to 15 minutes) ,stirring frequently.

Serve 2 'chicken' pieces with 2 fennel quarters and 1/4 cup of the sauce for 4 servings of 230 calories each. This hearty dish is almost like a stew, and would be great served over cooked rice to soak up the extra juices.

Cost:
fennel $3.08
vegetable broth $2.49
tomato $4.00

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Swiss Fruit and 'Yogurt' Muesli

This quick breakfast cereal is a great way to start you day!

In a bowl, combine 1 cup regular oats, 1 cup plain soy yogurt (such as Whole Soy), 1/3 cup orange juice, and 2 tablespoons packed organic brown sugar. Add 1 cup shredded Red Delicious apple, 1/2 cup sliced bannana, and 1/4 cup blueberries; stir gently to combine.

This recipe makes enough for 2 servings of 1 and 1/4 cups and 380 calories each, but double or triple the recipe as needed, so everyone in the house gets to enjoy! You can also try varying the fruits in the recipe, according to season, or add almonds on top for a nice crunch.

Cost:
Red Delicious apple $2.14
banana $0.56
blueberries $3.99

Friday, September 24, 2010

'Shrimp' Salad with 'Buttermilk' and Tarragon Vinaigrette

Try the vegan shrimp from Vegetarian Plus for this main dish salad!

Ahead of time, you'll need to thaw 20 ounces (2 packages) of the vegan shrimp, whether in the fridge for about 12 hours, or in the microwave on the 'fish' setting.

Next, make 1 cup vegan buttermilk; place 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a measuring cup, and fill with plain soy milk (such as Silk) to equal 1 cup; let stand for 5 minutes to clabber (sour) the mixture.

Pour 1/4 cup of the 'buttermilk' into a shallow bowl or zip-top plastic bag; set the rest aside for now. Add 2 tablespoons minced Anaheim chile (a mild, green chile), 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon, 1 teaspoon grated lime rind, 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and 1 minced garlic clove. Add the thawed 'shrimp'. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours; stir the mixture occasionally, if in a bowl, or turn the zip-top bag over a few times, if in a bag.

To make the dressing, pour 1/3 cup of the prepared 'buttermilk' into a small bowl - you can discard the remainder, or save for another use. Add 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar, 4 teaspoons finely chopped shallots, 1 teaspoon minced tarragon, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/8 tsp. raw sugar, and 1/2 tsp. grated lime rind; stir with a whisk to combine, and chill until ready to use.

After 2 hours, discard the marinade. Transfer the 'shrimp' to a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat; grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, until thoroughly heated.

To put together the salad, separate the leaves from 1 head of lettuce - the original recipe called for Bibb, but I used Boston lettuce, which is a very similar variety of butterhead; either works just fine.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving platter, along with 12 romaine lettuce leaves. Cut 2 tomatoes into wedges. Arrange the tomato wedges and the grilled 'shrimp' over the lettuce, then drizzle with the vinaigrette.

You'll have 4 salad servings of about 2 cups salad and 5 ounces 'shrimp' (about 8 or 9 pieces). Each serving is 250 calories.

Cost:
Anaheim chile $0.32
fresh tarragon $2.49
lime $0.50
romaine lettuce $3.99

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Greek 'Steak' Pitas with Dill Sauce

I actually wanted to use the vegan steak strips from Yves Veggie for this recipe, which I think are the best, but LightLife makes a version too that worked in a pinch, since the grocery store was out of the former.

First, however, make the sauce: whisk together 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt (such as Whole Soy), 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and 1 minced garlic clove; set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 2 minced garlic cloves, and place in a shallow bowl or zip-top plastic bag. Add 12 ounces vegan steak strips and marinate in the fridge for 10 minutes; turn the bag over once if you have the 'steak' in a plastic bag, and stir once if you have it in a bowl. After 10 minutes, remove the steak with a slotted spoon, and discard the marinade.

Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat and grill the 'steak' for 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, split 4 (6-inch) pitas in half. Cut 4 romaine lettuce leaves in half. Line each pita half with one piece of lettuce. Divide the 'steak' evenly among the pita halves (about 1/3 cup per half), and spoon 1 tablespoon sauce into each half. Finally, crumble 1 ounce of vegan feta (such as Sunergia), and divide evenly among the pitas (about 1 teaspoon per half).

2 stuffed pita halves makes an entree serving of 390 calories. These easy sandwiches would be great with a simple cherry tomato salad on the side to round out the meal.

Cost:
dill $1.99
vegan steak strips $6.98
pitas $1.99
romaine lettuce $3.99

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Open-Faced Mushroom, Tomato, and Goat-Cheese Sandwich

The original recipe for this decadent sandwich called for a spreadable goat cheese. To mimic that, I used a combination of vegan feta (from Sunergia) and vegan cream cheese (from Tofutti). The result was perfect!

To start, heat 1/2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add 1 cup thinly sliced onion and 1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper; cook for 4 minutes. Add 1 (6-ounce) package of sliced portobello mushroom caps and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat, and stir in 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon capers, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper; set aside.

In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese with 2 ounces crumbled vegan feta. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir to combine - the mixture will be wonderfully spreadable!

Place 1 (2-ounce) slice of sourdough bread on each of 3 plates. I actually had sliced sourdough from Rudi's Organic Bakery at home, but as I was assembling the sandwiches I realized hearty, fresh sourdough might have been even better! Use whichever you prefer.

Spread about 2 tablespoons of the 'goat cheese' over each bread slice. Top each slice with 3 (1/8-inch thick) slices of tomato, and about 2/3 cup of the mushroom mixture. Here's what the 'goat cheese' looks like before the rest of the topping go on:


Each open-faced sandwich is 410 calories. I recommend eating with a fork and a knife, or you'll have a big mess on your hands!

Cost:
red bell pepper $1.73
portobello mushrooms $3.49
tomato $4.34

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sugar-Roasted Plums with Balsamic and Rosemary Syrup

This easy dessert would be an elegant finish to your next dinner party!

Place 12 small plums (about 3 pounds total) in a 13x9-inch baking dish. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons raw sugar, and 10 black peppercorns; stir with a whisk until the sugar dissolves. Split open 1 vanilla bean, and scrape the seeds out with a knife. Add the seeds and the bean to the vinegar mixture, then pour evenly over the plums. Arrange 2 rosemary sprigs in the dish, and sprinkle the plums evenly with an additional 2 tablespoons raw sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes - their skin should be starting to split away.

Remove the plums from the dish with a slotted spoon and place 2 plums on each of 6 dessert plates; set aside. Pour the vinegar mixture through a sieve into a saucepan, and discard the solids. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high and cook until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 5 minutes). Drizzle 2 tablespoons of syrup evenly over the plums on each dessert plate, and garnish each plate with an additional sprig of rosemary.

Each serving (2 plums and 2 tablespoons sauce) makes a dessert of 150 calories.

Cost:
balsamic vinegar $4.99
plums $4.01
fresh rosemary $2.49

Monday, September 20, 2010

'Chicken' Marsala

There were two questions I had going into tonight's recipe. First: is it necessary (or even possible) to clarify vegan butter as you would regular butter? Second: can you pound vegan chicken with a meat mallet, as you would real chicken?

The answer to the first is, well, not really. Melt 3 tablespoons vegan butter in a microwave (about 30 seconds), then let stand for 1 minute. If this was real butter, you were supposed to strain it through a fine sieve over a bowl, and discard the milk solids. I did pour my melted vegan butter (from Earth Balance) through a sieve, and while a fleck or two seems to have been left behind, for the most part I think there was nothing to discard. Regardless, I used this melted 'butter' in the recipe below.

The answer to the second question, however, was a resounding yes! (Although I did feel funny, as a vegan, purchasing a meat mallet at the grocery store). I used Gardein Tuscan chicken breasts (without the accompanying sauce) for my version, but I have a feeling Match Meat's chicken would work just as well. Whichever brand you choose, place 4 (4-ounce) 'chicken' breasts between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound with a meat mallet to about 1/4-inch thick; set aside.



Meanwhile, cook 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine according to package directions.

While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (which you can buy pre-sliced, if you like, to save prep time), 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots, and 1 tablespoon minced garlic; cook for 3 minutes, then remove the mushroom mixture from the pan and set aside.

Sprinkle the pounded 'chicken' breasts with 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Place 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the 'chicken' in the flour. Add the 'clarified' vegan butter to the skillet, then add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Remove the 'chicken' from the pan, and return the mushroom mixture to the pan. Add 3/4 cup vegetable broth, along with 1/2 cup Marsala wine; scrape the pan to release any browned bits that accumulated while cooking the 'chicken'.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes (it should be reduced to about 1 cup). Stir in 1/2 cup frozen green peas and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 additional tablespoon vegan butter, 2 tablespoons plain soy creamer (such as Silk), and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Return the chicken to the pan, and cook a final minute or two.

Serve 1 'chicken breast' over 1 cup of cooked fettuccine and drizzled with about 1/4 cup of the sauce for 4 servings of 590 calories each.

Cost:
mushrooms $2.79
vegan chicken breasts $7.98
frozen green peas $2.99
plain soy creamer $1.99
fettuccine $1.99

The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
  • Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html