Archive | March, 2009

Repurposed Minestrone

31 Mar

Close-up of minestroneI had a TON of soup left over from last night, even after I gave some away. So, I threw some in a pot with:

rinsed kidney beans (World’s Healthiest Foods: )

brown rice macaroni, and

diced canned tomatoes (high in the antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as the carotenoid lycopene. This means that tomatoes are helpful in preventing heart disease and cancers. Tomatoes are also high in potassium but very low in sodium which means they help combat high blood pressure and fluid retention. Unlike some other canned foods, canned tomatoes retain most of their nutrients. In fact, cooked or canned tomatoes contain more lycopene than raw tomatoes.)

I put tofurkey Italian sausage in mine, but not in The Illustrious Mamacita’s because she is gluten-free. I sprinkled part-skim mozzarella and asiago on top of both.

The Illustrious Mamacita (avowed carnivore) declares: “happy, fulfilled, and contented with dinner. May be food-stoned after one small bowl. It might be the tryptophan in the kidney beans.”

bowl of minestroneBe careful out there,



Using-up-the-Farmer’s-Market-haul Soup

30 Mar

What to do with potatoes and kale? Soup, obvs. I haven’t come up with a better name for this recipe yet. The spices are vaguely Germanic, but it’s also spicy and the concept is sort of Italian, and if I had any milk in the house that wasn’t unsweetened vanilla soymilk it would be creamy, so. . .I guess I’ll take name suggestions.

3 large red potatoes (or whichever ones look tasty at the shop. I usually am a yukon gold snob, but I am a sucker for any food that particular shade of red: cabbage, hibiscus, etc.) SKINS ON! The skin are the best part. has this to say about the health benefits of the potato:
“In fact, an average (~5.3 oz) potato with the skin contains:
45% of the daily value for vitamin C
620 mg potassium, comparable to bananas, spinach and broccoli” Which is awesome. Potatoes also only have 1 gram of sugar per serving, but 3 grams of protein. I figure 3x the protein to sugars is always a good sign.

1 bunch kale, rinsed and torn
here’s the “world’s healthiest foods” profile on kale: Omega 3 fatty acids, baby!

4 cloves garlic (anti-inflammatory! Actually, a fair amount of protein and vitamins C + B6)

1/2 onion roughly chopped  (I used yellow because that’s what was in my fridge) from “The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of onions for the treatment of poor appetite and to prevent atherosclerosis. In addition, onion extracts are recognized by WHO for providing relief in the treatment of coughs and colds, asthma and bronchitis. Onions are known to decrease bronchial spasms. An onion extract was found to decrease allergy-induced bronchial constriction in asthma patients. “

generous splash apple cider vinegar

1 tblspn (ish) mustard powder

1 tspn (ish) crushed red pepper flakes

a sprinkle of thyme for good measure (I go through herb phases. For awhile it was rosemary, now it’s thyme. I just picked up some tarragon, so who knows)

healthy grate of nutmeg (always important with dark greens)

Veggie broth to cover (I used the end of the box in my fridge and filled the rest up with water and threw in a couple of veggie bouillon cubes) You could use water, but it wouldn’t taste as good.

Salt + pepper

Chop potatoes into about 2 inch cubes, put in pot with kale, garlic and onions, cover with broth
Throw in everything else
Bring to boil, lower heat to simmer + cover
Simmer until potatoes are sort of crumbly (just past fork-tender, or they won’t blend right) turn off heat + let heat reduce (aka: do not stick blender in soup while still bubbling)
I put my stick blender in and made it very smooth, but you could a) leave it chunky b) pulse it lightly in a regular blender for an in-between texture, whatever you want. I love chunky soup, but I particularly like THIS soup thin and smooth. 

I threw in some nutritional yeast, because I had some.

I floated tofurkey kielbasa in it and wished I had some crusty sourdough to soak it up with. Very tasty. Even The Boyfriend, who is a carnivorous picky eater, tasted it and said, “it’s okay” which for weird veggie soup is high praise. 

I would post a pic, but it’s a weird shade of green. : )

Be careful out there


Nirvana Falafel Burgers

29 Mar

I have been making this version of falafel for a while and it continues to be a big hit. They are very easy and quick to make, loaded with fiber and protein and are low fat. Tonight it got served up with C.’s Alex+Ivy Slaw, Vegan Ranch and Sweet Potato Oven Baked Fries. What a feast!

(You will notice that the binder I used is dry cream of wheat. I have tried using plain flour, wheat gluten and bulgur. The first too require way too much and still make the falafel too sticky. The latter, falls apart in the pan. Cream of wheat works great and cooks up wonderfully!)



They’re awesome because they’re grilled, not fried, so they have a light taste and texture. They’re also yummy and crumbly and SO GOOD with the vegan ranch. -C

Nirvana Falafel Burgers

Nirvana Falafel Burgers and Vegan Ranch in a Heart Shaped Bowl (Photo by D.)

Nirvana Falafel Burgers and Vegan Ranch in a Heart Shaped Bowl (Photo by D.)

1 – 16oz can garbanzo beans, drained

1/3 medium red onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, pressed

2 Tbs – 1/4 C finely chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4-3/4 C cream of wheat, uncooked (more or less depending on wetness of bean mixture)

Photo by D.

Photo by D.

Blend garbanzo beans and red onion in blender into a uniform paste. Transfer into a medium sized bowl. Add garlic, parlsey, salt, pepper and cumin and mix. Add baking powder and combine. Add cream of wheat in 1/4 C portions until the mixture becomes hard to mix with a spoon and sticks together well. (A good test is also when you begin to form them into balls in your hands. If it sticks more to your hands than to itself, you need to add more cream of wheat.) Heat up griddle coated with cooking spray. Form falafel into golfball size balls. When the griddle is hot, place on the griddle. Flip when one side is golden brown and press down with the flat of spatula. Cook the other size and flip one more time.

Nirvana Falafel Burgers, Veganized Creole Roasted Garlic Ranch, Cajun Sweet Potato Oven Fries, Alex+Ivy Slaw (Photo by D.)

Nirvana Falafel Burgers, Veganized Creole Roasted Garlic Ranch, Cajun Sweet Potato Oven Fries, Alex+Ivy Slaw (Photo by D.)

Cajun and Roasted Garlic Ranch Dressing

29 Mar

Emeril is awesome (well, he is – he may eat meat and all, but he still knows how to cook like a mofo). Veganized Emeril is WAY more awesome.

We made our own veganaise. You can, of course, use store bought. It’s great and it’s less time consuming, but at the same time, it tastes awesome made from scratch AND you get the personal satisfation of making your own veganaise.

Tonight, we made Cajun and Roasted Garlic Ranch dressing. It is awesome served up with Cajun Sweet Potato oven fries, served in veggie burgers or as a topping for Nirvana Falafel.


– Mags

Cajun and Roasted Garlic Ranch Dressing

Photo by D.

Photo by D.

1/2 C (or however much the yield is from the recipe below – I didn’t measure it.) veganaise (recipe below)

1 C (or however much the yield is from the recipe below – I didn’t measure it.) vegan buttermilk (recipe below)

1 head garlic

2 Tbs sunflower oil

1 tsp Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning) (recipe below)

2 Tbs fresh chopped parsley

2 Tbs fresh chopped chives

1 tsp lemon zest

Chop off the top of the garlic head, to expose the meaty part of the cloves. Place on aluminum foil and drizzle with sunflower oil. Wrap and place in preaheated 350F oven. Cook until garlic is fragrant.

Mix veganaise and buttermilk in a bowl. Add the creole seasoning, lemon zest, parsley and chives. Mush the garlic and mix into the dressing. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.


1/4 – 19oz block silken tofu

1/5 C sunflower oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1-2 tsp dijon

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp nutritional yeast

Blend well in blender.

Vegan Buttermilk

1/4 – 19oz block silken tofu

1/5 C unsweetened soymilk

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning)

2-1/2 Tbs paprika (I used chili powder.)

2 Tbs salt

2 Tbs garlic powder

1 Tbs black pepper

1 Tbs onion powder

1 Tbs cayenne pepper

1 Tbs dried leaf oregano

1 Tbs dried leaf oregano

1 Tbs dried thyme

Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993

We’ve always said we were wired wrong:

29 Mar

Be careful out there

Oh so bella! polenta lasagna

28 Mar

I love spinach lasagna. It’s one of my favorite dishes. I recently noticed another vegan blogger post a recipe for a polenta kale and portobella lasagna. I was intrigued, but decided to make it my own. I love a lasagna to be creamy, cheesy and ricotta-y. This brought up the question of making a tofu ricotta. A vegan recipe book I got from the library has a recipe for tofu feta made by marinating tofu. A shortly marinated “feta” mixed with a cheeze sauce, did the trick. Amazingly.

I also love mushrooms. A lot. I have tried numerous vegetarian mushroom lasagnas, including a severly intense wild mushroom lasagna, and always like to experiment with new ways to add that seriously earthy flavor they add to dishes.

So here was the set up for tonight’s “to-die-for” recipe. A love affair with lasagne and mushrooms. Add to that a new exciting journey with greens other than spinach, and polenta – intriguing and delicious yet, until today, eluding ingredient, and you’ve got Oh so bella polenta lasagna – a polenta lasagna, with a cheesy, creamy tofu ricotta sauce, collards, portobella mushroom, an oniony mushroom gravy all topped with homemade “cheesy” sourdough breadcrumbs. It is time-consuming but totally worth it.


– Mags

Photo by D.

Photo by D.

Oh so bella! polenta lasagna

Photo by D.

Photo by D.

1 portobella mushroom cap, sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 bunch collard greens, de-veined and sliced into strips

1 Tbs sunflower oil

2 large garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 C water

Saute collards in oil for about 3 minutes. Add portobella mushroom, salt and pepper and saute until collards begin to look wilty. Add garlic and stir. Add water and cover for 2 minutes then uncover and cook until all the water is gone.

Tofu Cheezy Ricotta

8 oz firm tofu

3 Tbs sunflower oil

3 Tbs water

1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic (powder)

1/2 tsp salt

Crumble tofu into tupper-ware container. Place all marinade ingredients into a 1 C tupper-ware container and shake to combine. Pour over tofu and shake. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 min.

4 oz firm tofu

1/4 C unsweetened soymilk

1/2 C vegetable broth (1/2 C water + 1/4 tsp vegetarian broth powder)

2 Tbs tahini

1 tsp sherry vinegar

1 tsp onion powder

1-1/2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp thyme

1/8 tsp pepper

2 tsp corn starch

Blend all ingredients in blender.

Add drained marinated tofu to collards, portobella mix in the pan and stir. Pour in cheeze sauce and mix. Bring to a boil then simmer over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Turn off and let sit while you make the mushroom onion gravy.

Mushroom Onion Gravy

1 Tbs sunflower oil

1/3 medium onion, chopped fine

2 C mushrooms, sliced very thin

1 C vegetable broth

1/4 tsp thyme

1 Tbs sherry vinegar

3 Tbs flour

Saute onions until translucent. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and saute until onion is golden and mushrooms are soft and fragrant. Place in blender with 1 C vegetable stock. Blend. The resulting mixture should be slightly lumpy. Place in pan. Add thyme and sherry and stir. Add flour and stir over low heat until mixture thickens.

Assemble the lasagna. Evenly coat a baking dish of your choice with cooking spray.(I ended up choosing 11″X7″ but if you prefer thicker polenta slices, choose a smaller surface area.) Cut one-18 oz pre-cooked tube of plain polenta in half. Slice into thin slices and use it to line the bottom of the pan. Cover the polenta with 1/2 of the mushroom-onion gravy. Next place all of the portobella,collard, “ricotta” mix over the gravy. Spread evenly. Slice up the remaining polenta and cover lasagna filling. Spread the remaining mushroom-onion gravy.

Home-made sourdough cheezy breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 325F. Cover pan with aluminum foil and coat with a light coat of cooking spray. Cut off three pieces of a loaf of sourdough bread (slightly stale works better) and cut into small cubes. Bake until light brown and crunchy. Cool.

When the lasagna is ready to place in oven, melt 3 Tbs Earth Balance in a pan and add bread crumbs (crush with your hands if you prefer smaller, less crouton-like crumbs). Saute until coated. Add 1 heaping Tbs nutritional yeast and stir. Spread evenly over lasagna.

Place lasagna covered with aluminum foil into a preheated 375F oven. Bake covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for another 15 minutes or until bubbly and the edges are golden brown. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Photo by D.

Photo by D.

Coconut Mango Curry

27 Mar

I have been into coconut milk lately and since both coconut milk and mangoes are on sale at our local Sunflower Market, I decided to give it a shot. It was a huge success. So much so, that D. called it “delicious” and had two bowls of it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

– Mags

Coconut Mango Curry

Coconut Mango Curry

Photo by D.

1/2 bag brown rice pasta (makes approx. 4 cups)


1 Tbs sunflower oil

2 Tbs chopped chili pepper (chose the “heat” you like – I am a wimp, so I chose Anaheim.)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbs red miso paste

1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro

juice and zest of 1 lime

juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 Tbs curry powder

1/2 Tbs chili powder

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 Tbs soy sauce

1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce


5 mushrooms, sliced

1/2 container chicken-style seitan

1 can light coconut milk

2 Tbs flaked, dried unsweetened coconut

1 C  broccoli

1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into strips

4 green onions, green part only chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 small mango, chopped into small cubes

salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta to just before al dente (still not soft). Drain and rinse in cold water.

Add all the sauce ingredient together in a small (1 C) tupper-ware container and shake to combine. Heat up sunflower oil in large sauce pan and add chopped chili pepper. Saute for 1 minute. Add seitan and mushrooms and saute briefly. Add sauce and combine. Add broccoli and saute for about 1/2 min. Then add coconut milk and coconut flakes. Combine and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add pasta, bell pepper, green onion and mango. Cook until liquid has been reduced to a medium-thick sauce (another 5 minutes) – it should still “look” wet – it will congeal when it sits for a bit.

I served it with oven-roasted brussel sprouts, mainly because I like lots of veggies (and they’re delicious and on sale). Recipe follows below:

Simple Oven-Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Preheat oven and aluminum foil coated pan to 375F.

6-8 brussel sprouts, ends removed, chopped in half

toss in a container in approx. 1 Tbs sunflower oil and 1 tsp sesame oil

Throw onto pan in oven and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

Roast about 15 minutes, or until dark brown on one side. (I don’t flip them; it makes them look nice – one side bright green, the other brown and roasted.)

Don’t taste “brussel sprouty” at all! 🙂