Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Avocado Bowl with Chimichurri

Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl

I was looking for a new dinner recipe when I came across this dish in last month’s issue of Vegetarian Times. Visually, the dish is stunning, and I loved the idea of the simple flavors, but I wasn’t sure how it would translate to my palate. I mean, the dish is basically cooked quinoa, oven-roasted sweet potatoes, avocado and chimichurri sauce. Other than a little salt and pepper, there isn’t any other seasoning to the quinoa and potatoes.

But my first bite put me at ease. The flavor and texture combinations of the sweet potato, avocado and quinoa are out of this world. And the chimichurri added a wonderful brightness and crunch to the dish with the parlsey, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes and paprika. (Ironic, since it’s known for being served with meat dishes in South American cuisine.)

All in all, a wonderful dish that I highly recommend, especially for a weeknight meal since it comes together very quickly.

Enjoy!

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Greek Wraps with Lemon-Kissed Tofu

Greek Wrap

I always find a ton of recipe ideas while perusing Flipboard, and often email them to myself only to forget about ever sending them. However, this time around, I actually remembered to come back to this particular recipe.

These Greek Wraps with Lemon-Kissed Tofu were actually featured in a contest for Vegetarian Times and So Delicious Dairy Free. I love, love the technique used for pressing lemon zest into the block of tofu and then searing both sides of the tofu block. It’s such a great idea and I plan to use it for other tofu dishes.

I have to admit, though, that I didn’t care for the So Delicious Plain Greek Cultured Coconut Milk. I love coconut milk yogurt, but I found this too sweet for being a plain yogurt. I actually used some salad dressing I had on hand to jazz it up. (Next time, I’ll use a different plain yogurt and turn it into a tzatziki sauce with dill and cucumber.) The final result was pretty tasty and filling.

Hope you all are well!

Greek Chili Served Over Linguine

Greek Chili

I love the “5 Ingredients” feature in “Vegetarian Times.” It features dishes that each only contain five ingredients. And in the most recent issue, the 5-ingredient theme centered around chili. We tried the Smoky Chipotle-Kidney Bean Chili last week and it was pretty good. I could see building on it with more flavor when I make it again, but it’s perfect if you’re looking for a healthy, budget-friendly recipe.

This week, we decided to make the Greek-Style Chili. It’s basically chickpeas, diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, a pinch of cayenne, fresh spinach leaves and crumbled feta. (I couldn’t find vegan feta, so I just crumbled Daiya on top. Not really the same, flavor-wise, but it was still good.) The recipe says you can serve it over spaghetti, linguine or rice. As you can see, we decided to go with the linguine. The final result wasn’t what I typically think of as chili; I couldn’t imagine eating it by itself without more seasoning. But combined with the pasta, it was a light and easy weeknight dish that I would definitely make again.

Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Lemongrass-Orange Reduction

This dish didn’t exactly turn out as the recipe intended, but it was wonderful nonetheless. First off, I didn’t have any lemongrass. I knew I could find some in town, but I didn’t have the time to venture out to get it. So, I just made it without and without any substitution. Second, according to the recipe, the sauce is supposed to thicken after simmering for 5 minutes. That didn’t happen. At all. I simmered for 15 minutes and it remained the same consistency. So, I just added a bit of arrowroot powder and, in no time, it turned into a wonderful, thick glaze.

For the side, I made brown rice and, to make it easy, I just threw frozen, shelled edamame on the top to steam through while I made the tofu and sauce. I also had a few vegetable gyoza from Trader Joe’s and a little bit of sriracha to drizzle on the rice.

All in all, despite a few bumps, it was a wonderful and easy dish that I’ll definitely make again. Also, if you Google it, you can find the whole recipe online; I just didn’t want to post it here since it wasn’t my own.

Vegan Thanksgiving 2.0

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving, everyone!

Well, we pulled off our second all-vegan Thanksgiving and, I have to say, I’m pleased with the results. A few weeks back, I had mentioned that I was going to make a spread featured in an issue of Vegetarian Times, but, true to form, I ended up changing my mind. It was mostly because it was going to be really expensive to make.

So, this year, we decided to veganize very traditional dishes, some of which I made last year, but I was able to improve upon this year. Here’s a breakdown of the dishes you see on the table:

Cumin-Cayenne Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

These mashed potatoes were taken from the Vegetarian Times spread I originally wanted to make. They aren’t the prettiest mashed potatoes (they look a lot different than the picture in the magazine), but they were tasty. The cumin and cayenne added a nice kick to the buttery Yukon Gold potatoes.

Green Bean Casserole

This is my take on the traditional green bean casserole. I first sautéd the onions and garlic in olive oil and a little Earth Balance. I then added the mushrooms and a little vegetable stock to deglaze the pan. After everything was browned and caramelized, I removed them from the pan so that I could create the cream base. I started by making a roux. To do this, I melted more Earth Balance in the pan and added flour. I then added the cream.

This year, I thought I’d try a new (to me) product, Unsweetened MimicCreme. My only complaint was that, out of the container, it had a very sweet, almost marshmallow-like smell despite being unsweetened. It made me a little nervous, but once I incorporated it into the roux and the sautéd onions and mushrooms, it took on a much more savory aroma. I’ll definitely be using this again for anything that calls for heavy cream.

Once I had the mushroom cream base, I added frozen haricot verts and warmed them a bit in the pan. I then added some of the fried onions to the green beans and then transferred the entire mixture to a casserole dish. I baked uncovered for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees and then topped it with the rest of the fried onions. I put it back into the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.

Sage and Apple Stuffing

My stuffing last year wasn’t all that great, so I wanted to make up for it this year — and I think I succeeded. I used a little help by picking up a couple of packages of vegan stuffing from Whole Foods that already contained some seasoning.

I started by sautéing onions, celery and carrots in olive oil. I then added a clove of garlic and cooked the mixture a bit longer. After that, I added two Honeycrisp apples, chopped into small cubes. After sautéing a little longer, I added the stuffing mix, a couple of teaspoons of sage, and salt and pepper. From there, I started ladling in the vegetable stock until it was at the desired consistency. I then scooped it all into a buttered casserole dish and baked it alongside the Greenbean Casserole.

Sweet Potato Balls with Caramel Sauce (sauce not shown)

It would not be Thanksgiving in my family without this decadent sweet potato dish. My mom makes these every year. My husband doesn’t quite understand my family’s obsession with them, but he’s just weird. How can you not like mashed sweet potatoes wrapped around a marshmallow, rolled in crushed corn flakes, then baked until the marshmallow melts and topped with a rich caramel sauce? It’s like dessert for dinner. Does it get any better than that?

But, needless to say, the original version of these little beauties is not vegan. So, for a Thanksgiving potluck with friends last year, I set out to make them my own. Last year’s effort turned out well, but I made a few tweaks to make them even better this year. For example, I opted to make them a little smaller and I made sure to stick with Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, instead of the Whole Food’s brand I used last year. The Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are lighter and make for a crispier coating.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

3 lbs sweet potatoes
3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp almond or soy milk
3 cups crushed Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
Dandies Vegan Marshmallows
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup Unsweetened MimicCreme
1 tsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Peel and chop sweet potatoes into even cubes. Boil until soft. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the egg replacer and water until frothy. Mash the cooked sweet potatoes with a potato masher and then add the egg replacer/water mixture and the milk to the potatoes.

Take two marshmallows and mash them together so that they stick together. Form the mashed sweet potatoes around the marshmallows, then roll in the crushed corn flakes. Place into a lightly greased pan. Repeat until all the mashed sweet potatoes are gone. I made my balls a little larger than a golf ball and I was able to get exactly 15 of them out of the recipe. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until you see the marshmallow oozing out.

To make the sauce, simply combine the brown sugar, MimicCreme, flour and vanilla into a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until combined and the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Spoon the sauce over the sweet potato balls. Try not to eat too many in one sitting. I dare you.

In addition to the recipes above, we included a Field Roast Celebration Roast. I also made a delicious brown gravy recipe that I got from “Vegan Diner.”

And what Thanksgiving feast would be complete without the cranberry sauce? I like my cranberry sauce the old-school way: out of a can. I’m not sure if the canned kind normally contains gelatin, but the Whole Foods brand does not.

And now for the best part: dessert.

Pumpkin Cheesecake With Pecan Crunch Topping

This is the second recipe I’ve made from “Vegan Pie In The Sky” and it did not disappoint. The cheesecake was really, really easy to make and turned out beautifully. Oh, and it was delicious! Each bite brought hints of pumpkin, banana and a touch of orange from the extract. The pecan crunch topping added the perfect flavor and texture to the cheesecake. I cannot recommend this dessert enough.

So, that wraps up our vegan Thanksgiving. It turned out really well and we have tons of leftovers, which is my favorite part.

If I can offer any tips, it would be to make the cheesecake the night before. Thanksgiving day, make the greenbean casserole, stuffing and sweet potato balls first and don’t bake them until close to the end. Make the gravy and caramel sauce next. Finally, while the potatoes are boiling for the mashed potatoes, go ahead and put the greenbean casserole and stuffing into the oven. After about 20 minutes, put the sweet potato balls into the oven too. And, if you can fit them, throw in the Celebration Roast (I put mine in a dish with vegetable stock to keep it moist) and the rolls last.

Enjoy!

Vegan Food Happenings

Hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve been cooking, just not posting. I don’t have any recipes to share, but I thought I’d share some pictures of a few dishes that I made these past few weeks.

Bok Choy Skillet Supper from Vegetarian Times

This dish was extremely easy to make and was really tasty. The only thing I would change is the bok choy. My husband and I found it kind of stringy. We’re big fans of swiss chard, so we might use that the next time we make the dish.

Almond Milk Latte and Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar”

These breakfast cookies are really delicious and really filling. The recipe in the book also makes a ton of them, so, unless you want to freeze them, I would recommend cutting the recipe in half.

Baked Potato with Broccoli and Cheese

Sorry for the bad picture. My husband and I have recently become addicted to baked potatoes. They’re cheap and filling and very versatile. For this baked potato, I steamed some broccoli and made the cheesy sauce from the “Vegan Yum Yum” Mac and Cheese recipe. We served our potatoes with a Caesar salad, which we also found in the cookbook.

That’s all I have for now. Tomorrow, I’m planning on writing a post about our first CSA pickup. Hope everyone is well!

Tex-Mex Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

This recipe is adapted from the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. It’s extremely cheap to make and very easy to pull together. In other words: my kind of meal! I love that it uses quinoa as the base grain rather than rice. Quinoa cooks faster than rice and is very nutritious.

As usual, I doubled the recipe, and it made a ton of the stuff, so we had plenty for leftovers. Also, instead of adding two cans of black beans, I substituted a can of pinto beans for a can of black beans, which added a little different texture.

Tex-Mex Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

Serves 2 + leftovers

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cumin
2 cups prepared black bean soup (I used one box of the Dr. McDougall’s Black Bean Soup as the recipe suggested)

2 cups mild or medium picante sauce
2 cups quinoa, uncooked
1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn
6 green onions, sliced
4 tbsp pickled jalapeño chiles, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the soup, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of picante sauce, and quinoa. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 12 minutes. By this time, most of the liquid should be absorbed, so add another cup of water. Add the beans and corn and cook for another 10 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is completely cooked (it will look translucent). Add the remaining picante sauce, green onions, and jalapeños. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a side of tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

Satisfying Sleek

I love VegNews. Whenever I’m feeling a little blah about cooking, I like to look to past and current issues of the magazine for inspiration. Unlike Vegetarian Times, which I also love, VegNews is 100 percent vegan. It’s the perfect mix of recipes, articles, facts about veganism, and product reviews.

The most current issue arrived in my mailbox just a few days ago and it does not disappoint. The first recipe that I spotted was this Satisfying Sleek. It’s a Lebanese pilaf made from bulgar wheat, black-eyed peas, kale or swiss chard, and a baharat spice blend that consists of black pepper, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Unfortunately, I could not locate fenugreek at the grocery stores in my neighborhood. I’m sure I could find some at one of our Middle Eastern grocery stores, but I didn’t have the time to drive across town to get it. So, I just left it out.

Anyway, the pilaf is surprisingly flavorful despite its simple ingredients, and it smells incredible! Aromas from the spice mixture filled my kitchen. I doubled the original recipe so that we would have leftovers for dinner the next day. I also served it with a dollop of hummus and lavash bread that were leftover from our Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Wraps.

Satisfying Sleek (adapted from VegNews)

Serves 2 + leftovers

Ingredients:

1 cup bulgar wheat
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 cups swiss chard or kale (I used kale)
6 scallions, chopped
4 tsp baharat spice blend (see below)
2 15 oz. cans of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Baharat Spice Blend:

1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Directions:

Place bulgar into a large bowl, cover with the vegetable broth and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until soft. Add the kale, scallions, black-eyed peas, spice blend, and bulgar mixture to the pot and bring what liquid is there to a boil (my bulgar had soaked up most of the broth, so I added a half cup of water to the pot). Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and season with the salt and pepper.

Serve with hummus and lavash bread or pita.

Enjoy!