Posts tagged ‘Vegan*’

Simple Potato Soup

This is the soup that my family eats every year on Christmas Eve or sometimes on New Year’s Eve. It’s a super-simple soup with very few ingredients, and part of the fun is adding garnishes to your own bowl at the table. If you want to forego the garnishes, though, it’s still delicious and warming – especially with a bit of green salad and a hunk of crusty bread.

By the way, I’m sorry my posting has been so sporadic this semester. I’m hoping to get back to regular posting now, but we’ll see how this next semester goes!

Simple Potato Soup
Makes 4 – 6 Servings

1 large leek, washed and sliced (white and green parts) – about 1½ cups
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 large baking potatoes, scrubbed and chopped (unpeeled if you like) – about 3 cups
4 cups vegetable broth
½ cup soymilk or cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Optional Garnishes:
shredded cheddar cheese
sliced green onions
fresh (or dried) dill
sour cream or plain yogurt

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the leek, stirring until the green parts are wilted and the white parts are translucent and separated (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add the potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft enough to be mashed easily.
  3. Blend with an immersion blender or potato masher until smooth.
  4. Add cream or milk (if using) and salt and pepper.
  5. Garnish as desired.
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December 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm Leave a comment

Ethiopian Lentils and Crepes

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This week, I solved two of my long-standing culinary dilemmas. First, what to put in dinner crepes besides sauteed veggies and cheese, and second, how to enjoy Ethiopian food at home without the traditional flatbread injera, which is so central to Ethiopian cuisine. When the problems are posed together like that, the answer is simple of course: serve Ethiopian dishes in crepes!

I tried it this week and it was delicious! The crepes stood in beautifully for injera and the lentils made a scrumptious filling for dinner crepes. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making crepes, this particular lentil dish is also really good with couscous or even served on rolls like sloppy joes.

Savoury Crepes
Makes 16 crepes, Serves 8

3 eggs (ener-G egg replacer also works well here)
1½ cups soymilk or milk
2 Tablespoons oil
1½ cups whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt

  1. Using an electric mixer or blender, mix the eggs (or egg replacer) and milk until frothy.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix to combine well.
  3. Let chill for at least 1½ hour before using.
  4. After chilling, lightly grease a medium pan and heat over medium-high heat.
  5. When the pan is heated, pour in about ½ cup of batter and tilt the pan until the batter covers the bottom.
  6. Cook until the edges are solid and the crepe begins to bubble, about 1 minute.
  7. Flip and cook the other side about 30 seconds. Set aside and repeat, greasing the pan between every three crepes or so.

Mesir Wat (Ethiopian Red Lentil Puree)
Makes 8 Servings

¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne powder
½ lb. red lentils
3 cups water

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot (the lentils will expand quite a bit; you need a bigger pot than you might think). Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add spices and stir to coat the onions. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil. When it is boiling, add the lentils and stir to prevent sticking. Simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender and mushy and the water is absorbed.
  4. If desired, you can puree the mixture (an immersion blender works especially well for this).
  5. Place about ½ cup of lentil mixture in each crepe just before eating and roll them up. Serve topped with yogurt and hot sauce, if desired.

October 17, 2009 at 7:13 pm 2 comments

Fiesta Macaroni Bean Salad

IMG_8341We had friends over for dinner last night, and we decided to mark the closing of summer with all of our favourite summer foods. Baked beans were there, along with corn on the cob, and rosemary roasted potatoes shared the oven (and our plates) with fabulously simple roasted asparagus – but this pasta salad was the star of the show.

I love it because it has the creaminess of a mayonnaise-based pasta salad, without either the flavour or the texture of the mayo taking over the dish. The whole wheat pasta, along with generous portions of beans and veggies, add texture and flavour that is sometimes lacking in pasta salads.

I should be up front with you, though: this recipe is not mine. It comes to you (only very slightly modified) from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer (who also co-wrote How it All Vegan and The Garden of Vegan, the books that taught me how to cook and how to be vegan. I still use a lot of those lessons, even as I’ve added some dairy and the occasional egg back into my diet). All three cookbooks are favourites of mine; worth checking out both for their basic recipes and for their more elaborate dishes (like this one). My only complaint is the portion estimation. Every recipe in La Dolce Vegan claims to make “2 large or 4 small servings.” While the recipes vary, I find that most make 6 – 8 servings, but maybe that’s just me.

Fiesta Macaroni Bean Salad

3 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta (macaroni or fusilli work well)
6 cups water
½ teaspoon olive oil
1 large carrot, grated or diced (about ½ cup)
1 small bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cups kidney beans or pinto beans (or 1 – 19oz. can, drained)
1 cup corn kernels
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup mayonnaise (I really like vegan Vegenaise)
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce, or to taste
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

  1. In a large pot, bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, 6 – 8 minutes. Drain pasta and toss with olive oil to avoid sticking. Set aside to cool.
  2. When the pasta is completely cool, toss it together with all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for a few hours first. Keeps well for a few days in the fridge.

September 12, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Artichoke Heart and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

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Heading out on one last picnic before the weather turns cold? Or maybe you need something to munch on at work or school? Wherever you enjoy it, this easy spread makes a nice, healthy treat that works equally well as a sandwich spread or a dip.

The texture of the spread is similar to hummus, thanks to the white beans that provide its base, but the flavour is something else. The artichokes lend a creaminess that balance the rich flavour of the sundried tomatoes, while the garlic steps in with its own unique kick.

I especially liked this as a dip for veggies and pitas, and in veggie sandwiches (with cucumber, tomato, and spinach). I hope that you will enjoy it, too!

Artichoke Heart and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
Makes 1½ cups

1 cup white beans (such as cannellini beans or navy beans)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup artichoke hearts
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until creamy. (I like my Cuisinart immersion blender for things like this. It is a bit of an investment, but I got it as a gift a few years ago and I use it almost every day for blending dips, spreads, smoothies, and soups).
  2. Serve with veggies or crackers, or as a spread in sandwiches.

Adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

September 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

Garlic Grape Gazpacho

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I didn’t mean for this to be a blog recipe; I really didn’t. I had every intention to just follow the recipe in my new issue of Vegetarian Times for a quick, easy (and oven-less!) dinner. Despite my intentions, though, I revised the recipe pretty heavily as I went along – substituting more grapes when my cucumber proved too small, and adding blended arugula to the soup itself. I also amped up the garlic, switched out the almond milk for coconut milk, and well… generally created a new recipe in the process.

I’m sure that the original recipe was excellent, too, but since we enjoyed this revision so much, I thought I ought to share it with you. It was super-simple to whip up and it made a perfect, refreshing (but filling) summer meal. And did I mention that I didn’t have to turn on the oven, or even a burner?

Garlic Grape Gazpacho
Serves 4 – 6

2 cups sliced almonds, divided
1 large cucumber, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 cups green seedless grapes (plus ½ cup for garnish)
½ cup onion, chopped
1 cup baby arugula (plus 2 cups for garnish)
2 – 3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup coconut milk
1 Tablespoon sherry
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil (plus 1 Tablespoon for garnish)

  1. Place almonds in toaster oven and toast 10 minutes at 350F, or until lightly browned. Don’t let them get too dark, because they will continue to cook  a bit, even after you take them off the heat. Set aside to cool. If you don’t have a toaster oven, you can toast nuts in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat until lightly browned.
  2. In a blender or food processor (or using a hand blender), combine 1 cup of almonds, with the cucumber, grapes, onion, garlic, arugula, coconut milk, sherry, vinegar, and oil. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately, or chill 2-3 hours to let the soup get cold.
  4. Garnish each bowl with a small handful of arugula, 4 halved grapes, 2 Tablespoons of toasted almonds, ½ teaspoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with thick slices of crusty bread, if desired.

August 22, 2009 at 10:34 am Leave a comment

Basil-Balsamic Baba Ganoush

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I brought home a bag of baby eggplants the other day to make the eggplant and goat cheese pizza that I posted last week, but it soon became clear that I had too many eggplants for just one culinary project. Falling back on an old standby, I decided to whip up a batch of baba ganoush, a Mediterranean dip similar to hummus that I like to use as a dip for veggies and crackers. It also makes a great addition to sandwiches and wraps.

I roasted my eggplants and then opened my cupboards, and found that I was missing two out of the five ingredients for this extremely simple recipe. Time to improvise! I substituted balsamic vinegar for lemon juice, basil for parsley, and pine nuts… well, those I just threw in for fun. In the end, I had a dip very much like baba ganoush but different enough from the original recipe that I thought I should share it with you. I hope you enjoy it!

Basil-Balsamic Baba Ganoush
Makes about 2 cups

1 lb. eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant or 3 baby eggplants)
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon pine nuts (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and place face down on a cookie sheet. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the skin is blistered and the flesh is soft and browned. Let cool.
  2. When the eggplant is cool, scoop the flesh out of the skin and into a blender or food processor.
  3. Add other ingredients to blender (or food processor) and pulse until smooth.

Adapted from 1000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles

August 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm Leave a comment

Avocado and Fried Tofu Sandwich

IMG_7161When I was twelve years old, my family moved back to Edmonton after a brief hiatus and my parents’ friends came over to help us get settled. I’m sure that they moved furniture, and helped unpack and so forth, but what I remember are the sandwiches.

They brought ice cream pails full of different sandwiches for us to eat until we had unpacked our kitchen implements and stocked up on groceries. At first, I dug into the old stand-bys like PB&J, but then I discovered the avocado and bacon and I never turned back. The salty, crispy bacon mixed with the creamy avocado in what I can only describe as a culinary revelation. This recipe is my vegetarian version, which I think is just as good. Better even, because you can pile on the fried tofu (which can be made entirely without oil if you have a good non-stick pan) in amounts that would be inadvisable (at best) with bacon.

If you don’t want to make all four sandwiches at once, you can still prepare all of the tofu ahead of time and then store it for later. Cut up as much of the avocado as you want, and then spread lemon juice over the rest and wrap it tightly in tin foil or plastic wrap. Leave the remaining avocado in its skin with the pit to help preserve its freshness, and it should keep in the fridge for a day or two. Don’t worry if the surface has turned a little bit brown, as long as the rest of the avocado is still green underneath. If you are making these sandwiches to eat later, toss the avocado in a little lemon juice before spreading it on the sandwich. These keep for a few hours, but not much longer.

Avocado and Fried Tofu Sandwich
Makes 4 Sandwiches

8 slices of multigrain bread
1 ripe avocado
½ teaspoon salt or to taste, preferably coarse or kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste, preferably freshly ground
1 lb. tofu, cut into slices

Smoky Tofu Marinade
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of chipotles
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce (or additional soy sauce)
½ cup water
1 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground

  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a blender and pulse to combine.
  2. Place sliced tofu in a long, shallow food storage container or a large resealable bag.
  3. Pour marinade over the tofu and add additional water to cover if necessary.
  4. Marinate overnight.
  5. Remove tofu from marinade and heat it in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat until it is browned on both sides.
  6. Meanwhile, toast the bread. When it is finished toasting, spread ¼ of the avocado on each of four slices of the bread. Top with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place ¼ of the tofu over the avocado, and top with an unadorned slice of bread. Enjoy!

June 6, 2009 at 6:48 pm 1 comment

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*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.