Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chocolate Fudge Snack Cake

A slice of this cake makes the perfect snack with a cup of tea or coffee!

Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour; set aside.

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

Place 5 tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a bowl and beat with a mixer until smooth (note: I used my stand mixer, which made this cake even easier!) Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and beat well. Add 1 and 1/4 cups raw sugar, a quarter-cup at a time, beating between each addition. Continue to beat at medium-high speed for 3 minutes, then add the equivalent of 2 eggs using egg replacer (such as Ener-G), one at a time, beating after each addition.

Make 2/3 cup vegan 'buttermilk' by pouring 2 teaspoons lemon juice into a measuring cup, then filling with plain soy milk (such as Silk) to equal 2/3 cup. Let stand 5 minutes to clabber (sour) the mixture.

With the mixer (or beater) on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the 'buttermilk', starting and ending with the flour mixture; beat just until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - the original recipe said 32 minutes, but I gave mine 35.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After this, the original recipe said to remove the cake from the pan, and cool completely on the wire rack. I was afraid removal would make the cake fall apart, however, so I let it cool entirely in the pan.

Divide into 9 squares. Each serving is 260 calories. You could also dust the top with 1/2 tsp. powdered sugar, if you like, as a pretty garnish.

vegan butter $3.29

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bean, 'Bacon', and 'Blue Cheese' Dip

I couldn't wait to try this combination, since I love both vegan Smart Bacon (from LightLife) and vegan soy blue cheese (from Sunergia)!

The dip is super-easy to prepare. In a blender, combine 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1/4 tsp. dried thyme (use 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, if you prefer), 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 drained (15-ounce) can of navy beans, and 1 chopped garlic clove; process until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup crumbled vegan blue cheese and 3 vegan bacon slices (previously cooked and crumbled).

2 tablespoons of dip are 80 calories. This is delicious with pita wedges - warm up the pitas for a few minutes in the oven first, and it's even tastier! You could also try the dip smeared over toasted baguette slices.

parsley $1.69
canned navy beans $2.19
soy blue cheese $4.49

Monday, March 29, 2010

Caramelized Onions

A slow cooker does all the work for you here, so I almost hesitate to call it cooking, but the end result is delicious.

Peel 4 medium sweet onions, such as Vidalia (about 3 pounds total). Place the onions in a slow cooker with 1/2 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance). Cover, set to LOW and cook for 24 hours - yes 24! You could cook them less, but the full 24 hours ensures maximum flavor - although I confess to taking mine out at the 23 hour mark.

Remove the onions with a slotted spoon. They are delicious as an earthy side dish in their own right (alongside stuffed baked potatoes or a hearty bowl of soup, for example), but they are also be great cut up as a pizza topping, chopped and tossed with pasta and herbs, or used in a risotto.

1 onion is 180 calories.

Note: don't throw out the melted 'butter'! Transfer it from the slow cooker to a bowl; cover and chill. Skim the layer of fat from the surface, then use in an variety of ways - drizzled over steamed veggies or as a dipping sauce for bread!

Vidalia onions $3.55

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Asparagus with Black Pepper, 'Bacon', and 'Goat Cheese' Sauce

To replace the bacon in the original recipe, it's an easy vegan substitute - the Smart Bacon from LightLife. For the goat cheese, however, I was torn between using vegan feta (which I use for crumbly-type goat cheeses) or vegan cream cheese (which works well for creamy goat cheeses), since the original recipe didn't specify. I decided to go with the vegan feta, but you could try it both ways, and see which one you think fits this sauce better!

First, bring 1 gallon (16 cups) of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add 2 pounds trimmed asparagus spears and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels and chill.

Note: don't fret about the large quantity of salt; using so much helps the asparagus stay a nice bright green, but most of it will be rinsed down the drain after cooking.

Just before serving, combine 3/4 cup vegan feta (such as Sunergia) or vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti) with 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I like the canola mayo from Spectrum Foods), 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and 2 cooked and crumbled vegan bacon slices. Add 1/4 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Arrange the chilled asparagus on a platter and drizzle with the sauce. Divide into 8 equal servings of 70 calories each.

asparagus $6.55
vegan feta $3.69
vegan bacon $3.39
plain soy milk $2.99

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cilantro-Pumpkinseed Sauce

The original recipe suggested serving this easy sauce over chicken - I had mine over the vegan cluck-phrey patties from Food for Life - delicious!

In a blender, combine 3/4 cup cilantro leaves (I gave mine a light chop, but you don't need to), 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons unsalted pumpkinseeds (toast them first, if you like), 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 peeled garlic cloves (which I also chopped without needing to!), 2 mint sprigs, and 7 ounces of salsa verde; process until well blended.

Note: you can use sunflower seeds instead of pumpkinseeds, although then you'll have to change the recipe title! Salsa verde is sold alongside regular salsa in the supermarket; it's green because it is made with tomatillos instead of tomatoes. It will most likely be vegan, whatever brand you choose, but I recommend a quick skim of the ingredients nonetheless - I saw one brand that used chicken stock!

You'll have 1 and 1/4 cups of sauce - 1 tablespoon is 30 calories.

onion $0.36
jalapeno $0.29
mint $1.99
salsa verde $4.69

Friday, March 26, 2010

Orzo with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and 'Goat Cheese'

In place of the goat cheese in the title, crumbled vegan feta (such as Sunergia) works well here. But I was so distracted while cooking that I actually forgot to stir it in! Luckily, I remembered before serving, so sprinkled it on top.

To start, however, cook 16 ounces of orzo according to package directions (I used Whole Foods' house brand). Drain, and toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil; set aside.

Cut 2 medium-sized zucchini into quarters lengthwise, then thinly slice them. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add the zucchini and cook for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 minced garlic clove and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano (use 1/4 tsp. dried oregano if you prefer), 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/ 4 tsp. black pepper, 1 (14-ounce) can of diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano, and 1 (7-ounce) jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained and diced in advance. Cook for 5 minutes.

Note: you'll probably find that the canned diced tomatoes come with garlic, oregano and basil - I assumed that this was what the original recipe had in mind.

Here's where you stir in the 'cheese' - 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (I used the rice vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods) and 1/2 cup crumbled vegan feta in place of goat cheese... and here's where I forgot the 'goat cheese'! Doh.

You'll have 6 servings of 1 and 1/3 cups and 430 calories each. If you want this to be a make-ahead dish, assemble it all the way, and then transfer to a 2 and 1/2 quart casserole dish; refrigerate up to a day ahead of time. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes just before serving.

orzo $1.99
zucchini $1.87
fresh oregano $2.49
canned diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano $1.19
roasted red bell peppers $2.79
rice vegan mozzarella $
vegan feta $3.69

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spinach, White Bean, and 'Bacon' Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing

When most people think of vegans, they think of salads. For that reason, on the rare occasion that I venture out to a restaurant, salad is generally all that they have to offer me. My boyfriend and I could only laugh recently, while ordering takeout, that a puny pile of lettuce is what a restaurant deemed suitable for a "salad."

What a shame! Because as you may have noticed on this blog, in nearly two years of recipes, I have only made 24 salads. And when I do, they are not a pitiful clump of lettuce leaves, as in the photo below, but are full of interesting dressings, beans, various vegetables, and vegan protein. Let this be a lesson to restaurants who still can't seem to figure out how to feed a vegan.

To make this hearty vegan salad, combine 1/4 cup maple syrup, 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute; set aside.

Drain and rinse one (15-ounce) can of Great Northern beans, and place in a microwave safe bowl; microwave for 1 minute and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper, 5 cooked and crumbled vegan bacon slices (such as LightLife) and 2 (7-ounce) packages of fresh baby spinach. Pour the maple syrup dressing and the beans over the salad, and toss to combine.

You'll have 8 side salads of 1 and 3/4 cups and 130 calories each. Or, simply divide the salad in two for 2 entree portions. The salad is best served immediately so the spinach doesn't become soggy.

Note: to make the vegan bacon crisp and easy to crumble, cook for a few minutes longer than package directions - about 6 minutes total, turning halfway through.

canned Great Northern beans $1.33
red bell pepper $0.98
vegan bacon $3.39
fresh spinach $5.00

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Warm Apple-'Buttermilk' Custard Pie

I made a couple mistakes with this dessert, but luckily they were aesthetic ones, not ones that spoiled the yummy effect on the taste buds!

Namely, the original recipe called for fitting a 9-ounce pre-made pie crust into a deep-dish pie plate, a fact which my eyes skimmed right over. So when using the pre-made crust from Wholly Wholesome (certified vegan and available in the freezer section), I left it in its original 9-inch pie tin - which is not deep-dish. That meant that when it came time to assemble the pie, mine overflowed! I'll tell you more later on how I dealt with it... But basically, what you'll want to do, is let 1 Wholly Wholesome pie crust thaw to room temperature (they come 2 to a package so save the second crust for another use). Remove the thawed crust from its original tin-foil pan, and roll out on a work surface so that it forms a 14-inch circle; transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate; fold the edges under and flute, then return to the fridge until ready to use.

Next, make the streusel topping: lightly spoon 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into a measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine the flour with 1/3 cup packed organic brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Cut 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) into small pieces; cut into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, or, I find that the back of a fork works just fine if you don't have a pastry blender; the mixture should look like coarse meal by the end. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Next make the filling: peel and slice 5 cups of Granny Smith apple (about 4 apples). Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add the apples, 1/4 cup raw sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spoon the apple mixture into the prepared crust and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine 3/4 cup raw sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1/4 tsp. salt and the equivalent of 3 eggs using egg replacer (such as Ener-G).

Make 2 cups vegan buttermilk by pouring 2 tablespoons lemon juice into a measuring cup, then filling with plain soy milk (such as Silk) to equal 2 cups. Let stand 5 minutes to clabber (sour) the mixture. Pour 1 and 3/4 cups of the 'buttermilk' into the sugar mixture - you can discard the extra 1/4 cup - along with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Pour this custard over the apple mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees; sprinkle the streusel over the pie and bake for an additional 40 minutes. Although the original recipe said to sprinkle on the streusel without removing the pie from the oven, I found this next-to-impossible without burning my hands on the top rack, so I confess to snatching the pie out for a moment.

After baking, let the pie stand for 1 hour before serving. Slice into 10 wedges of 320 calories each.

Okay, so it came to my attention that my pie plate wasn't deep enough when it came time to pour on the custard! I poured in as much as I could, but since my pie pan wasclose to overflowing, I decided to play it safe and place the pie plate on a baking sheet, to avoid spills on the bottom of the oven floor. There was still about 1/2 cup custard leftover, which I found dissatisfying, so when it came time to sprinkle on the streusel, I poured in the rest of the custard rather recklessly - this resulted in some spilling onto the baking sheet below my pie tin, but most of it managed to cover the apples! Basically, I made a mess :) But sometimes, that's what baking is all about, and like I said, all of these mistakes were purely aesthetic - my pie still tasted delicious, even if it looked a little sloppy. Again, these problems can be avoided if you use a deep-dish pie plate to start.

Here's a photo of the mess on my baking sheet!

But here it is after it's cooked and set...

Granny Smith apple $3.22

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

This yummy sauce is great over any vegan ice cream of your choice, whether soy, rice, or coconut milk-based. It's also great for dipping fruit! I particularly liked with with strawberries.

The original recipe called for a mere 2 tablespoons of evaporated milk. If you're not vegan, that's easy to get from a can, but since as a vegan you need to evaporate your own soy milk, I'm tempted to tell you to skip it - just use 2 tablespoons regular soy milk. However, I went the extra step because I admit I find the process rather fun - and leftovers work well in any number of dessert recipes, or make a great 'creamer' for coffee!

To evaporate soy milk: place 3 cups plain soy milk (such as Silk) in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until reduced to 1 and 1/2 cups, stirring constantly (it will take about an hour and a half). If you're not up for that long haul, then just use regular soy milk below.

To make the sauce: in a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup (try the one from Wholesome Sweeteners), 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons raw sugar, 2 tablespoons evaporated soy milk, and just a dash of salt (I probably added a tinge too much - closer to 1/8 teaspoon).

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then turn down the heat just a notch and continue to simmer for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Cover and chill - the sauce will be thin when you remove it from the burner, but will thicken considerably as it cools.

This sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge. 2 tablespoons are 80 calories. Double the quantities above to make a bigger batch!

Everything was in my pantry - I love it when that happens.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Florentine Rice Noodle Gratin

In culinary terms, Florentine dishes (i.e., characteristic of the region around Florence, in Tuscany) feature spinach and creamy-style sauces - this dish definitely fits that bill! According to one story, the origin of the term comes from Catherine de Medici, who dubbed any dish containing spinach 'Florentine' to honor her roots, when she came to the French court.

The original recipe for this gratin called for Swiss cheese, but alas, no vegan version exists that I know of; Galaxy Foods makes a soy Swiss, but it contains a milk protein! Instead, I used the vegan Gouda from Sheese.

Cook 8 ounces of wide rice stick noodles (also called banh pho) in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and then drain again. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a blender combine 1 and 1/4 cups plain soy milk (such as Silk) with 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Swiss, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 2 vegetable bouillon cubes (the Rapunzel brand is certified vegan), and 1 (8-ounce) package of vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti's Better than Cream Cheese); process until smooth.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 and 1/2 cups chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cooked rice noodles, the soy milk mixture, and 1 (10-ounce) package of spinach - thawed in advance and squeezed dry; stir to combine.

Note: if, like me, you have a tendency to forget to thaw frozen veggies in advance, here's a quick trick: place the frozen vegetables in a colander and run under warm water from the tap for a moment or two - the veggies will thaw to room temperature in no time!

Transfer the noodle mixture to an 8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray and sprinkle with an additional 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (again, I used the Gouda from Sheese). Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

You'll have 6 servings of 1 and 1/4 cups and 310 calories each.

wide rice stick noodles $2.99
fresh rosemary $2.49
vegetable bouillon cubes $2.00
vegan cream cheese $2.29
onion $0.51
frozen spinach $2.99

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Roasted Garlic and Shallot Potato Soup with 'Cheesy' Croutons

This soup is perfect for the tail-end of winter, when you've run out of ideas for all those root vegetables, but spring produce hasn't quite hit the shelves yet!

Remove the white papery outer skin from 2 large heads of garlic, but don't peel or separate the cloves. Chop off the tops of the garlic heads, but leave their roots intact. Place in a roasting pan or baking dish, drizzle with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil , and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Add 5 unpeeled shallots to the pan. Drizzle with an additional 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, and sprinkle with an additional 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Re-cover with the foil and return to the oven for 25 more minutes.

Let cool, before squeezing the pulp from the garlic (discard the skins) and peeling the shallots. Set the garlic pulp and the peeled shallots aside.

Meanwhile, heat 2 and 1/4 teaspoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 cup chopped onion; cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally - the onion should be browned by the end. Add the garlic pulp, the peeled shallots, and 1/2 cup dry white wine (I chose an organic, unfiltered Sancerre); reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed and peeled baking potato, and 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Cool slightly before transferring to a blender; process until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan. Stir in 1/2 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper; cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

While the soup is in its last few minutes of cooking, make the croutons: slice 8 (1/2-inch thick) slices of French bread baguette. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet, and lightly coat the tops of the bread with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.

Combine 6 tablespoons crumbled soy blue cheese (such as Sunergia) and 1 tablespoon shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (I used the vegan Gouda from Sheese). Sprinkle the 'cheese' blend over the toast slices. (The original recipe said to turn the bread over and sprinkle the cheese on both sides, but it seemed to me that doing so would only make the cheese fall off onto the baking sheet, so I sprinkled one side only). Bake for a final 3 minutes.

Ladle 1 cup of soup into each of 4 bowls, and serve each bowl with 2 croutons (preferably when they are warm from the oven!). Each serving is 290 calories. Because this soup is so pungent and flavorful, I recommend serving it with a good stout (like Sierra Nevada stout), rather than wine!

Note: Sheese is available online at

garlic $0.99
shallots $1.08
onion $1.00
dry white wine $19.99
vegetable broth $3.49
baking potato $0.57
baguette $1.29

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Seasoned Spinach

This spinach side dish comes from Korea - I enjoyed eating it cold, since it was a more novel taste for my American palate, but it can also be served at room temperature.

Steam 2 (10-ounce) packages of fresh spinach in two separate batches, for 5 minutes each. I do not have a vegetable steamer, but I heated about 1/4 cup water in the bottom of a large saucepan, added 1 bag of spinach, reduced the heat, covered and cooked for 5 minutes, which works just fine as a steaming method. Repeat with the second package of spinach.

Note: my grocery store sold spinach in 9-ounce packages, which I figured was close enough.

Transfer the steamed spinach to a colander and let cool slightly before you squeeze it dry - otherwise you'll burn your hands!

Combine the spinach in a bowl with 1/4 cup chopped green onions, 1 teaspoons sesame seeds (toast them first, if you like), 2 teaspoons soy sauce (preferably low sodium), 1/2 tsp. dark sesame oil, 1/4 tsp. coarse salt, and 2 minced garlic cloves. As I mentioned, serve chilled or at room temperature. 1/4 cup is 40 calories.

fresh spinach $7.98

Friday, March 19, 2010


Half salsa, half guacamole, this delicious spread is great with tortilla chips, or spread over tacos and burritos!

Peel, seed and mash 1 ripe avocado; set aside.

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 seeded and finely chopped serrano chile.

Stir in the mashed avocado, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and 1 chopped medium-sized tomato.

This is best served immediately. You'll also want to work quickly once you have the avocado mashed, otherwise it will begin to brown in the air! 2 tablespoons of dip is 50 calories.

lime $0.50
serrano chile $0.10
avocado $1.99
tomato $1.35

Thursday, March 18, 2010

'Smoked Gouda' Macaroni and 'Cheese'

I was so excited to try this recipe because I found a vegan gouda on the market. It's made by a UK company called Sheese, which also makes cheddar, blue cheese, and cream-cheese like spreads - all vegan! You can buy it here in the States through

For this recipe, first make some easy fresh breadcrumbs: place 1 (1-ounce) slice of whole wheat bread in a food processor and pulse about 10 times until you have coarse crumbs; set aside. I used the organic whole wheat from the Vermont Bread Company.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions and 2 minced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Gradually pour in 2 cups plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper, stirring whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then continue to cook at a boil for about 2 minutes, until the mixture thickens. I stirred occasionally as the mixture came to a boil so the soy milk didn't burn on the bottom of the pan. Next, stir in 1/2 cup shredded vegan gouda (such as Sheese) and 1/3 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (here, I used the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods); stir until the 'cheeses' melt.

Add 5 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach and 4 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked pasta). Stir until blended, then transfer the mixture to a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Note: I used the spelt macaroni from VitaSpelt. Using pastas from grain other than wheat can pack a nice protein punch - spelt macaroni has 9 grams per serving!

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. You'll have 4 servings of 400 calories and 1 and 1/4 cups each.

whole wheat bread $4.39
green onions $0.99
plain soy milk $2.49
vegan gouda $7.49
vegan mozzarella $3.39
fresh spinach $2.50
elbow macaroni $2.69

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

White Bean and Black Olive Soup

There are nights where I'm definitely in the mood to spend time preparing food - a soup like this, with lots of chopped vegetables, and slow-cooking over the burner, fits the bill perfectly.

Ahead of time, place 1/2 cup dry white beans in a saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above the beans, then bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and set aside. The original recipe did not specify what type of white beans to use, so I chose dried cannellini.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves; saute 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup diced celery, 1/4 cup diced carrot, and 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper; saute for 10 minutes.

Stir in 3 tablespoons tomato paste, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 2 tablespoons dry red wine of your choice, scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits that have accumulated (the Bordeaux from Chateau Laubarit is certified vegan, and has a nice dry finish to it! check out to order).

Note: with regards to the "browned bits," I felt like my mixture was almost beginning to burn along the bottom of the pan, so I turned the heat down a notch to medium and added the wine only halfway through the 5 minutes allotted to cook in the tomato paste. Use your judgment if you think the same is happening to you.

Next, add 1 cup vegetable broth and 1 cup water; stir well. Add the white beans, then bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours.

Stir in 1/2 cup chopped zucchini; cook for 5 minutes. Next add 1 cup sliced escarole (a wonderfully bitter lettuce variety), 6 tablespoons sliced and pitted kalamata olives, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (use 1 teaspoon dried basil if you prefer), 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper.

1 cup of soup is 190 calories. You could double this recipe if you want to feed a crowd, or have leftovers throughout the week for lunch.

dry white beans $0.57
celery $3.39
carrot $0.21
red bell pepper $1.82
tomato paste $2.49
zucchini $1.02
escarole $1.99
kalamata olives $5.99
parsley $1.69
basil $2.99

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Black Bean Burrito Bake

This hearty, quick entree is perfect for weeknights.

Remove one chipotle chile from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce; chop the chile, and stir in to 1/2 cup vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti's Better Than Sour Cream); let stand for 10 minutes.

Note: save the rest of the canned chipotles for another use - they freeze beautifully in individual portions of an ice cube tray. My go-to brand is Casa Fiesta since it does not contain sugar in its adobo sauce.

Rinse and drain one (15-ounce) can of black beans. Place half the beans in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the chopped beans to the 'sour cream' mixture, along with the remaining whole black beans and 1 cup frozen corn (thawed in advance).

Place 4 (8-inch) flour tortillas on a work surface - I prefer whole wheat tortillas, but white flour ones would work fine here as well; mine were from Whole Foods' 365 brand.

Spoon 1/2 a cup of the black bean mixture down the center of each tortilla, then roll them up and place, seam-side down, in an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup salsa over the tortillas (such as Amy's), and sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded vegan Monterey Jack (Follow Your Heart makes this flavor of soy cheese).

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. To make this dish even simpler, it can be made up to 8 hours in advance, and then brought back to room temperature just before you bake it in the oven! 1 burrito is 370 calories.

sour cream $2.49
black beans $1.49
frozen corn $2.99
flour tortillas $1.69
bottled salsa $4.99
vegan Monterey Jack $4.39

Monday, March 15, 2010

Balsamic-Steeped Fruit with Yogurt

This easy dessert comes together in minutes.

Peel and cube 3 cups of ripe mango. Combine the mango pieces in a bowl with 2 cups raspberries, 3 tablespoons organic brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of fruit into each of 8 dessert bowls. Top each serving with 3 tablespoons vanilla soy yogurt (such as Whole Soy). Make this just before serving, as it's best served immediately! Each portion is 110 calories.

Note: Instead of a dessert wine, try serving this dish with a fruity dessert beer, like a lambic. Lindeman's lambic is vegan, according to the company, and I love their framboise flavor!

mango $4.98
raspberries $4.99
vanilla soy yogurt $2.38

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mexican Molcajete Sauce

A molcajete is a stone tool similar to a mortar and pestle; traditionally, this sauce would be made in one, and then even served right from it! Luckily, you can also make it at home by finely mincing with a knife and a cutting board. The trio of veggies in this sauce are the colors of the Mexican flag - red, white, and green!

Cut a small in onion in half, and peel, leaving the root intact. Cut one half of the onion into quarters; save the other half for another use.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion quarters, 3 whole serrano chiles, 2 whole plum tomatoes, and 1 whole peeled garlic clove; cook until blackened, turning frequently. Although the original recipe said this step would take 5 minutes, I gave mine a couple minutes extra.

Let cool, then trim the root from the onion wedges and discard the roots. Core the tomatoes (I also scooped out some of the seeds). I assumed I was also meant to discard the chile stems!

Finely minced the onion, the chiles, and the tomatoes together, going back and forth until you have a mixture that is almost paste-like. The original recipe also neglected to say what to do with the garlic clove, so I included it along with the other veggies. Once fully mashed, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. coarse salt, and stir well.

You'll have about 1 cup of the resulting sauce. Since the original recipe suggested this would be great over chicken, I bought the Cluck-phrey fake chicken patties from Food for Life, which I found quite good. 1/4 cup of sauce is 30 calories.

onion $0.26
serrano chiles $0.25
plum tomatoes $0.62

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Black Bean-Mango Salsa

Rather than serving this 'salsa' like a dip for tortilla chips, the original recipe suggested it as more of a side dish alongside beef. To that end, I decided to try sauteeing up the vegan "steak" strips from LightLife, and serving this salsa on the side! With 14 grams of protein per serving and 0 fat, these fake meat strips are way healthier than real thing, too.

The salsa itself is a snap to prepare. Remove 1 chipotle chile from a can of chiptole chiles in adobo sauce. You only need 2 teaspoons chopped chile for this recipe, so save the rest of the for another use (they freeze beautifully in individual portions of an ice cube tray!).

Combine the 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chile in a bowl with 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper, 1/2 tsp. hot sauce (such as the Hot Stuff from the Wizard), 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 peeled and chopped mango, and 1 drained and rinsed (15-ounce) can of black beans. Toss to combine.

1/2 a cup of salsa is 120 calories - you'll have 5 or 6 servings depending how large your mango is.

red onion $0.58
mango $1.99
canned black beans $1.99

Friday, March 12, 2010

Garden Greens Gazpacho

Cucumbers take the prime place in this lovely, green-tinted gazpacho, instead of the traditional tomatoes.

First, make the equivalent of 2 cups of buttermilk: pour 2 tablespoons lemon juice into a measuring cup, then fill with plain soy milk (such as Silk) to equal two cups. Let stand for 2 minutes to clabber (sour the mixture).

In a blender, combine 1 cup of the 'buttermilk' with 1/2 cup peeled and chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach, 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper, 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper, 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper; process until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and stir in the additional cup of 'buttermilk', an additional 1/2 cup chopped and peeled cucumber, an additional 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper, and 1/4 cup sliced green onions.

Ladle 1 cup of soup into each of 3 bowls. Top each serving with about 2 tablespoons vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti's Better Than Sour Cream). You could also garnish with additional cilantro leaves for a pretty presentation! Each serving is 140 calories. This recipe doubles in a pinch to serve 6 instead. It makes a great light lunch or supper, alongside a vegan sandwich or salad.

cucumber $1.99
spinach $2.50
green bell pepper $1.40
cilantro $1.69
jalapeno $0.24
lime $0.50

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pear, Apple, and Cherry Crumble

This easy dessert is equally yummy warm or at room temperature.

Peel and quarter 1 pound Bosc pears (about 2 pears) and 1/2 pound Braeburn apple (about 1 apple), then cut the pears and the apple into 1/2-inch thick slices crosswise (i.e. horizontally). It works out to about 2 and 1/4 cups pear slices and just over 1 cup apple slices.

Combine the fruit slices in a bowl with 1/4 cup dried tart cherries, 3 tablespoons apricot preserve, 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind, and 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, tossing to combine. Spoon the mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray and set aside.

Lightly spoon 1/2 cup all-purpose flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife. Place in a food processor, along with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. mace. If you can't find the mace, you can omit it, but I highly recommend searching it out; it has a wonderfully rich scent and flavor. I buy mine at an Indian grocer on 1st ave in the East Village.

Pulse about 5 times until combined, then add 3 tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) and pulse another 20 times - the mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Add 1/2 cup regular oats and 1/4 tsp. raw sugar - pulse a final 5 times until combined.

Sprinkle the oat mixture evenly over the pear mixture, then bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour - the topping should be golden and the filling bubbly.

Cool for at least 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving. This makes enough for 5 equal portions of about 310 calories each. You can double the recipe easily to feed a crowd, in which case use an 11x7-inch baking dish instead.

lemon $0.79
Bosc pears $2.11
Braeburn apple $0.77

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Couscous with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Edamame

Between the chickpeas and the edamame, this main dish packs 20 grams of protein per serving! You can use either fresh or frozen shelled edamame, but if you use frozen (as I did), let it thaw in advance.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup edamame, 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, and 4 minced garlic cloves; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup chopped basil, 1 drained and rinsed (16-ounce) can of chickpeas, and 1 undrained (14-ounce) can of diced tomatoes. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add 1 and 3/4 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt; bring to a boil, then gradually stir in 1 cup uncooked couscous. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in 2 cups coarsely chopped green onions and 1 cup crumbled vegan feta (such as Sunergia).

This makes enough for 5 servings, of 1 and 1/3 cups and 460 calories each.

basil $2.99
canned chickpeas $1.99
canned diced tomatoes $1.99
green onions $1.98
vegan feta $3.69

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce hails from Catalonia, and typically includes almonds, olive oil, and red pepper - this version does indeed include all three! Although traditionally served with seafood, the sauce is delicious over pasta. I also really liked it over a well-cooked baked potato. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week, and in the freezer for up to a month, so feel free to double this already-generous recipe!

Combine 4 cups (1-inch) pieces of red bell pepper in a saucepan with 1 cup vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes - the pepper should be very tender by the end.

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup (1-inch) cubed white bread (note: that's about 1, 1-ounce slice of bread!), and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/4 cup slivered almonds and cook an additional minute, stirring constantly.

In a blender, combine the bell pepper mixture, the almond mixture, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and 1 (14-ounce) undrained can of diced tomatoes. Process until smooth. You probably will want to remove the centerpiece from your blender's lid and cover over with a paper towel, since the bell pepper mixture is still hot - that way steam can escape, and won't blow the blender's lid off!

Return the sauce to a saucepan and cook for about 3 minutes more, until thoroughly heated.

You'll have 4 and 1/2 cups of sauce total. 1/4 cup is 30 calories.

red bell pepper $5.56
canned diced tomatoes $1.99

Monday, March 8, 2010

Scalloped Potatoes with Shallots, Mushrooms, Roasted Garlic, and Thyme

This dish takes a while in the oven, so save it for a night where you have time to sit back and relax, preferably with a glass of red wine in hand! The original recipe deemed this a side dish, but I think a double-portion can be the centerpiece of a vegan meal, with a side salad and some crusty bread to round things out.

Start by removing the white papery outer skin from 2 whole heads of garlic (but don't peel the cloves, or separate them). Wrap each head of garlic separately in aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes before separating the cloves and squeezing out the pulp, otherwise you'll burn your fingers! The original recipe said you would wind up with about 2 tablespoons pulp total, but I had double that! It leads me to believe that my garlic heads were bigger than average. If the same happens to you, either discard any extra garlic pulp, or save it for another use.

Combine the 2 tablespoons garlic pulp in a blender with 1 and 1/4 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (use 1 teaspoon dried thyme, if you prefer), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper; process until smooth and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons minced shallot and saute 3 minutes. Add 1 and 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms and saute an additional 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and cook a final minute - the liquid should be nearly all evaporated. Set aside.

Note: the original recipe didn't specify what type of mushroom to use, so I used standard button mushrooms. I would imagine this dish would be yummy with any variety you choose though, so vary it up with cremini, oyster, or shiitake mushrooms instead!

Slice 1 pound of Yukon Gold potatoes into thin slices. Arrange one-third of the potatoes in the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread half the shallot mixture over that layer of potatoes. Repeat the layers - one-third potatoes, the second half of the shallot mixture, the final third of potatoes. Pour the soy milk mixture evenly over the top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the top of the potatoes with 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Pecorino Romano (such as the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods). Bake a final 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving, then divide into 4 equal servings of about 1 cup each. Each serving is 170 calories. Double up the portions, as I mentioned at the beginning, if you're making this your entree instead of a side dish!

An interesting note on the origins of the word 'scalloped'. It originally referred to scallops themselves, creamed and served in the shell. However, over time it came to refer to any creamy casserole dish, and didn't contain seafood at all - and here we are today with scalloped vegan dishes.

garlic heads $1.05
shallots $1.64
plain soy milk $2.49
fresh thyme $2.49
Yukon Gold potatoes $1.50

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Baked Barley with Shiitake Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

This barley dish is full of woodsy flavor from the mushrooms, and sweetness from the onions.

Start by melting 1 tablespoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 and 1/4 cups chopped onion and 1/2 tsp. raw sugar; cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently - the onions should be lightly golden by the end.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups sliced button mushrooms and 1 and 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps; continue to cook for 10 minutes, still stirring frequently. (The original recipe did not specify, but I left the pot uncovered from here on out). Add 3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley and cook a final 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 and 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, and a dash of dried thyme. Because my Dutch oven is not ovenproof, I transferred the mixture from here to a casserole dish, but skip that step if your Dutch oven can go into the stove!

Meanwhile, bring 2 cups vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan. Pour the broth over the barley mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving, then spoon about 1 and 2/3 cup into each of 3 plates. Each serving is 300 calories. This dish also doubles easily! Garnish with some fresh thyme sprigs if you like, for a pretty presentation.

onion $2.15
button mushrooms $2.79
shiitake mushrooms $3.99
vegetable broth $3.49

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Stewed Dried Plums in Marsala

This slow-cooked dessert is made entirely ahead of time, which always makes entertaining easier!

First, make the 'Yogurt Cream' that gets dolloped on top as a garnish. Line a colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth, and place the colander in a large bowl. Spoon 16-ounces of plain soy yogurt into the colander, loosely cover with plastic wrap,and refrigerate for 12 hours. You'll definitely want to use an unsweetened variety, such as Wildwood.

I still am unclear if this method works with soy yogurt as it does with cow's milk yogurt, since I never see any liquid drain away. Still, I always go through the step anyway, just in case! Oddly enough, I am somehow left with 1 cup of soy yogurt, not 2 cups, but I can't fathom where it goes... Perhaps it just seeps into the cheesecloth?

The physics of it aside, spoon the resulting 1 cup of plain soy yogurt into a bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup packed organic brown sugar, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the dried plum mixture, start by carefully peeling the rind from 1 orange and 1 lemon with a vegetable peeler, avoiding the white pithy part. It's okay if your rind comes off in a few strips, rather than one artful long strip. The original recipe said to discard the orange and lemon themselves once peeled, but this seemed such a waste! Have the orange for a snack and cut up the lemon slices for water - just be sure to use them soon, since once citrus doesn't have its rind, it won't keep long, even in the fridge.

Place the orange and lemon rinds in a slow cooker, along with 3 cups pitted dried plums (i.e. pitted prunes, but "dried plums" sounds so much nicer), 2 cups orange juice, 1 cup Marsala wine, and 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick.

Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours. By the end, the dried plums will have plumped up from absorbing much of the liquid, and be nicely tender.

(Note: I was about 1/4 cup short on orange juice, so I added enough cold water to make up the difference. Second note: I haven't yet found reports on whether Marsala is filtered through vegan or un-vegan methods, but I do find a lot of other vegan websites posting recipes that use Marsala, so I work under the assumption that it fits into a vegan diet).

After 4 hours, discard the rinds and the cinnamon stick, and transfer the rest of the mixture to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, and up to overnight, so the dried plums can continue to marinate.

Before serving, bring the dried plum mixture back to room temperature. Serve 1/2 cup of dried plums in each of 8 dessert bowls, and top each serving with 2 tablespoons of the 'Yogurt Cream'. Each serving is 280 calories.

orange $0.48
lemon $0.79
pitted dried plums $10.78
plain soy yogurt $2.99

Friday, March 5, 2010

Butternut Squash Lasagna

As promised, I'm using last night's Smoky Marinara in a more complicated pasta dish tonight. You'll need 3 cups of Smoky Marinara for this lasagna, which is half the yield of the recipe. So set aside the marinara sauce, and then begin the rest of this dish!

Coat a Dutch oven with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat. Add 1 and 1/2 cups chopped onion; saute for 4 minutes. Add 5 cups fresh spinach and saute for 1 and 1/2 minutes, until the spinach wilts. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 6 tablespoons shredded vegan cheese in place of provolone (I used the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods both here, and in place of Parmesan later in the recipe), 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, the equivalent of 1 egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G), and 1 (14-ounce) package of extra-firm tofu, crumbled, in place of ricotta. Set aside.

Dice 1 and 1/2 cups of peeled butternut squash. Place in a microwave save bowl, cover, and microwave for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Now it's time to assemble the lasagna! The original recipe called for 6 no-boil, oven-ready lasagna noodles, but since I don't know of a non-enriched version on the market, I bought Whole Foods' 365 brand lasagna, which does need to be pre-cooked. Since I knew the noodles would be in the oven for a long time, however, I opted to only cook them in boiling water for about 5 minutes (half the cooking time). This hunch seems to have been correct, since the final texture of the noodles came out right. If you do buy oven-ready noodles, skip that step! If you do cook your noodles, drain them in a sieve, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray on the sides and bottom. Spread 1/2 cup of the Smoky Marinara over the bottom. Arrange 2 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Spread half of your 'ricotta' mixture over the noodles (a little more than 1 cup), then arrange the butternut squash over the 'ricotta'. Top that with another 3/4 cup Smoky Marinara.

Arrange 2 more noodles over the sauce; top with the remaining half of the 'ricotta', then with the onion/spinach mixture, then with 3/4 cup Smoky Marinara.

Arrange the final 2 noodles over that, and top with the remaining cup of Smoky Marinara. Sprinkle 1/2 cup more vegan cheese (this time in place of Parmesan) on the top.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Divide the lasagna into 6 equal servings, each of which is about 260 calories.

Note: this recipe doubles beautifully! In that case, assemble two lasagnas, each in its own 8-inch pan. Cook one now, and freeze the other for another night, so you don't have to do double-duty in the kitchen! It will store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just cover the surface of the lasagna with plastic wrap, pressing out as much of the air as possible, then wrap with aluminum foil. When you're ready to prepare the frozen lasagna, let it thaw a full 24 hours in the fridge first. Discard the foil and plastic wrap, and top with a new sheet of aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour, then uncover and bake a final 30 minutes. Voila! A new dinner without any new dishes to wash.

onion $0.41
spinach $2.50
vegan cheese $3.39
flat-leaf parsley $1.69
extra-firm tofu $2.39
butternut squash $2.66
lasagna noodles $2.99

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Smoky Marinara

This easy pasta sauce is great for a quick weeknight supper over any pasta of your choice. It also works well in more complicated recipes like stuffed shells or lasagna, or as a dipping sauce for breadsticks. Interestingly, although marinara means "of the sea", the name does not reflect the inclusion of seafood. To the contrary, because the sauce was simple and meatless, it was often prepared by sailors on ships. So you don't have to change a thing in the original recipe to make marinara vegan!

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 3 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup chopped basil, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, and 2 tablespoons chopped oregano (use 2 teaspoons dried oregano, if you prefer); saute for 1 minute

Add 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, 1 (28-ounce) undrained can of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, and 1 (28-ounce) undrained can of regular crushed tomatoes; reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

For the fire-roasted tomatoes, I used Muir Glen, and for the regular crushed tomatoes I used Eden Organic.

That's it - it's that easy! 1/2 a cup of sauce is 60 calories, and this makes a big batch of 6 cups. But like I mentioned, use half tonight tossed over pasta, and save half for tomorrow, when I plan on making lasagna...

basil $2.99
parsley $1.69
oregano $2.49
canned crushed fire-roasted tomatoes $3.39
canned crushed tomatoes $3.39

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blueberry-Lime Parfaits

I've always thought "parfait" was the most delicious name for a dessert - what could be better than eating something literally "perfect"?

To make these layered desserts, start by placing 1 cup blueberries in a saucepan. Press just a few times with a potato masher until slightly crushed. Add 3 tablespoons organic/vegan Riesling of your choice, 3 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, then continue to cook for 5 minutes, still stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently - the mixture should be thick by the end.

Let cool to room temperature before adding another cup of blueberries. From here, cover and chill the blueberry mixture for at least 2 hours, but if you like, you can make it up to 2 days before serving.

Just before serving, place 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese), in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons organic powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. grated lime rind, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract; beat well until combined. Add 1/2 cup vegan sour cream (Tofutti also makes a Better Than Sour Cream!), and beat until just combined.

Spoon about 2 and 1/2 tablespoons blueberry mixture into the bottom of 3 glasses - you can buy actual parfait glasses, but champagne flutes work in a pinch! Top each serving with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons 'cream cheese' mixture. Repeat the layers again in each glass.

Each of the 3 parfaits is 220 calories - this recipe also doubles easily! Sprinkle the top with some fresh-grated nutmeg if you like, for a pretty presentation.

blueberries $3.99
Riesling $21.99
maple syrup $8.99
lime $0.50

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shallot and Grapefruit Dressing

This homemade dressing is great over any number of salads! I liked it on gourmet greens with some crumbled vegan 'feta' (such as Sunergia). Try adding roasted corn, or even a few segments of fresh grapefruit, leftover from any fruit you didn't squeeze.

For the dressing, squeeze the juice from enough grapefruits to make 2 cups - about 2-3 grapefruits depending on their size. Definitely use white ones here, not the ruby red variety. Set the juice aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup chopped shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the grapefruit juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then continue to cook until the mixture reduces to 1 cup - the original recipe said this step would take about 6 minutes, but mine took twice that long! Perhaps my burner wasn't on quite hot enough.

Let cool, then transfer the mixture to a blender, along with 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 2 teaspoons raw sugar, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.

Process until smooth, then add 2 tablespoons olive oil and continue to process until smooth and incorporated.

You'll have 1 cup of dressing. 1 tablespoon is about 40 calories.

Note: if you prefer, you can buy bottled grapefruit juice instead of squeezing your own, but make sure that it's fresh-squeezed and doesn't contain any added sugar or water.

grapefruits $2.73

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tamarind Sweet Potato Bisque

It's been a while since I last used my slow cooker, so I dusted it off and put it to good use tonight.

This soup calls for an ingredient I've never used before - plum vinegar - which you can find in the Asian section of the grocery store. Don't be alarmed that the ingredients include "beefsteak" leaf. Just like beefsteak tomatoes, this name has nothing to do with actual beef. Beefsteak (also known as shiso) leaf is a member of the mint family, with a taste reminiscent of mint or fennel. In Japanese cuisine, it is frequently eaten with sushi, but we'll skip that application on this blog!

In a slow cooker, combine: 3 and 1/4 cups (1-inch) cubed and peeled sweet potato, 3 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons plum vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce (I prefer low-sodium varieties), 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced and peeled ginger, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, 1 teaspoon tamarind paste, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and 1 lemongrass stalk, cut in half lengthwise.

Cover and set the slow cooker to HIGH - cook for about 5 hours, but don't forget that timing can vary on different models, so your final cook-time may be slightly more or less.

Discard the lemongrass, then transfer the rest of the soup to a blender; process until smooth. (Note: work in two batches if you need to, since you don't want your blender to be filled too high!).

1 cup of soup is 140 calories - this recipe makes enough for about 5 servings.

sweet potato $3.64
vegetable broth $3.79
orange juice $1.99
plum vinegar $2.99
ginger $1.24
lemongrass $0.36

The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance