April 17, 2012 § 18 Comments
I have been thinking about writing this post for weeks now. I’ve started drinking smoothies for breakfast and have finally found my perfect mix of ingredients that I’ve been dying to share here. This smoothie is so jam packed full of wholesome goodness – energizing, filling, substantial ingredients – it will have you ready to do cartwheels with your last sip. I promise!
This recipe came to be kind of by accident. My masseuse (the reason I’m mostly vegan) had been telling me to try and incorporate maca powder and bee pollen into my meals for energy. Maca powder is known for its energizing and balancing qualities. Bee pollen is also known to be an energy miracle – this blog post does an excellent job explaining its many qualities.
Like a good student – I went to Whole Foods and bought both ingredients. But one smell of maca powder and I couldn’t figure out how I’d ever get this down. (Supposedly red maca which you can buy online has a more mild flavor but I’ve yet to try it). At the time, I was making my morning oatmeal. But incorporating these into my warm bowl of oats just wasn’t going to work.
Then one day I figured I’d give it a try in a smoothie. I knew that pretty much everything I put in my oatmeal: oats, almond milk, nut butter, chia seeds, and fruit could go in a smoothie. A few days of tinkering with the ingredients and I’ve landed on this which I’ve been making ever since. In fact, the reason I decided to finally write it down – aside from wanting to share it here – is because I made it for a friend recently who loved it so much she wanted the recipe.
You’d think the oats and chia seed lend a lumpy texture to the smoothie but it’s just the opposite. Just blend on high for a few minutes and your left with a frothy, thick and creamy delicious drink. Loaded with fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals – it has everything to get you started and keep you balanced throughout the day. As I said, the main reason I started making these was to hide the maca and bee pollen (note bee pollen is not vegan and you can leave it out if you wish) – mission accomplished. All I taste is clean goodness.
The last note on this is there’s really no no need for measuring. The last thing I want to do in the morning is get out my measuring cups. Don’t bother with that and just drop in all your wholesome goodies, add enough liquid, and blend it up. If your blender catches, you just need more liquid. Use whatever you have on hand. Don’t have one of the ingredients below? Leave it out – no sweat.
Gather – blend – enjoy!
Berry Power Blast Smoothie
I make this smoothie with lots of berries. I prefer frozen as they are more economical and are easy to keep on hand but you can use fresh if you like. I will also throw in any other fruit I have if I need to use it up.
Both the maca and bee pollen are strong flavors. You may opt to try smaller amounts first and work towards higher amounts as you adjust to the flavors. Additionally, you can add as much raw cacao as you like depending on how chocolatey you’d like your smoothie.
Makes 1 very large smoothie, or 2 smaller smoothies
- 2 cups frozen fruit (I like a mixture of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and some mango for sweetness)
- 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup non dairy milk (I prefer vanilla flavored almond milk)
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 tbsp nut butter (I prefer peanut butter but also use almond butter)
- 1 tbsp raw cacao
- 1 tsp maca
- 1/2 tsp bee pollen (can be left out to be truly vegan)
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high speed for several minutes until smooth.
February 25, 2012 § 5 Comments
Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you that I’ve gone all raw or anything. While I fully admire people who eat raw food all the time, I need some warm food here and there. But I never thought I’d eat vegan, so who knows. Raw food doesn’t exactly scream tastiness to me, but I guarantee this recipe is absolutely bursting with flavor! And you have to admit, any no-cook recipe with flavor is a winner.
This raw vegan zucchini recipe is not only full of fiber and essential vitamins, but it is seriously good. I served this to my hubby one day for lunch and I don’t think he even noticed it was raw at first. It tasted that good. He practically licked the bowl clean and even asked if this was a recipe he could make on his own. Let’s be clear – there aren’t many recipes that he’s asked if he could make. This was a winner.
The tender spaghetti-like zucchini noodles absorb all the yummy goodness of the lemony garlic oil and contrast nicely with the hearty chickpeas and sweet tomatoes. This is one of those recipes that’s good after 30 minutes and fantastic after hours of chilling out and marinating.
A few notes on this recipe. The zucchini noodles with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and garlic makes a great base. You could add anything you want. Basil and pine nuts make a nice addition. I recently added boiled cut potatoes and arugula to the mix which was just delicious. If you don’t love raw garlic
we can’t be friends just reduce to either one clove or opt for slicing it into larger chunks so you can pick it out with your fork. Likewise, if you’re not a big lemon fan you may opt to try half the lemon first.
No matter how you slice and dice it, I guarantee you’ll love it.
Garlicky Zucchini Noodles with Chickpeas and Tomatoes
- 2 large zucchini, peeled using a julienne peeler
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed well
- 1 pint tomatoes, halved
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make the zucchini noodles using a julienne peeler. This may take a few tries to get the hang of it. I find it’s easiest by placing the zucchini flat on the cutting board and applying pressure with the julienne peeler and pulling down the length of the zucchini. You may have to clean the peeler from time to time.
- Add the halved tomatoes and rinsed chick peas to the zucchini noodles. Toss with the olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and ideally several hours before serving.
February 3, 2012 § 1 Comment
A year ago I posted a chicken wing recipe for the superbowl. My how things have changed!
I’ve never made chili. To be honest, I’ve never liked chili. I was never a big beef eater so a meaty bowl of beef and beans was not on my to-do list. Becoming vegan has made me have a new appreciation for beans too. I’ve really tried to explore new ways of eating and cooking beans, expanding my palate. Everyone talks about how easy chili is to make, so this week I figured I’d give it a try. It was one of those long work days and I was craving an easy, healthy, and warming bowl of yumminess. Boy did I find it! This recipe makes a lighter chili focused on the tomatoes and beans and finishes with a nice heat from the tabasco.
What I love about soups is that you don’t need a hard fast recipe. You can experiment or work with what you’ve got on hand. You can definitely add more beans or other veggies depending on your tastes. If you like spicy, go for it with the tobasco. If you’re not sure, add it gradually.
Hearty Vegan Chili
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can white beans, rinsed well – I used Navy beans
- 1/2 can 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable stock, optional
- 1 can 14 oz. diced tomatoes – I used diced tomatoes with onions and garlic but you could use fire roasted, plain, basil, whatever you like
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- several dashes of tobasco to taste
- Heat oil in a large saute/stock pan over medium heat. Add 1/2 the onion, garlic, and carrots and cook several minutes until onions are tender. Add cumin, chili, and bay leaf and cook another few minutes.
- Turn heat to high and add rinsed white beans, crushed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes. Add vegetable stock if desired for a more “soupy” chili. Reduce to low-medium once boiling.
- Cook another 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Add several dashes of tobasco depending on taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with remaining minced onion, green pepper, and optional extra dash of tobasco.
January 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
I think this might have been the first time I’ve ever made a version of arroz con pollo which is surprising given that it is one of my all time favorites. Even before going vegan I was never a huge meat eater. Chicken was about it for me when it came to meat. So whenever we would go to a cuban restaurant, I always opted for arroz con pollo. My mom would often make it at home too.
In simple terms it is basically rice with chicken – but it was so much more than that. Tender moist chicken, creamy yellow rice, and sweet peas cooked together to create a comforting bowl of yumminess. Since becoming vegan I never thought about eating this again. I figured surely without the chicken and chicken stock it would be no good. No way could it have as much flavor.
But I was wrong! I poured myself a glass of sangria (amazing by the way) and sought out to try and make a vegetarian version. It proved to be just as satisfying as a meat version, maybe even more!
This is an easy one pot meal. Always good for a busy night’s cleanup And, if you prep your veggies over the weekend, this actually cooks in about 35 minutes total, making it an easy weeknight dinner.
I opted to keep this traditional and stuck with onions, red and green peppers, and sweet green peas. I don’t know what it is about the smell of onions and peppers cooking but it has got to be one of the best combos out there. You can definitely get creative with what you have on hand, adding other veggies to the mix – mushrooms and asparagus would make delicious additions.
Also, I used Vigo yellow rice which already has the saffron and some spices mixed in meaning you don’t have to worry with buying saffron separately which can be expensive and hard to find.
I’m calling it Vegan Arroz con Pollo because let’s face it, Arroz con Vegetales just doesn’t have the same ring to it Pour yourself some red wine or sangria and get to cooking! Enjoy!
Update: Sadly, I must report this is not a fully vegan dish upon discovering that Vigo rice uses chicken. You can continue with the recipe as is for a meat free dinner. If you want to ensure it is full vegan, use 2 cups long grain white rice instead of the Vigo rice and add 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads to the vegetable stock while heating up.
Vegan “Arroz con Pollo”
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s “Essentials of Latin Cooking”
Makes about 6 bowls
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 green peppers, diced
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups Vigo yellow rice (note update above)
- 1 cup frozen sweet green peas
- 1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
- lime or lemon wedge (optional)
- Mix minced garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes together and set aside. Note: if you like spicy, you can add up to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper. If you like salt, go ahead and add it in. If not, wait until the end and add salt to taste.
- Heat stock in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling then reduce to simmer. (If you’d rather not wash another pan, you can definitely just add the cold stock to the rice later).
- Heat oil in a large heavy deep saute pan that allows for lots of stirring (I use my all-clad 6 quart). Add chopped onions, red and green peppers for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Add in rice and stir until rice absorbs all the liquid from the veggie mixture – several minutes. Add in the vinegar garlic mix.
- Add in heated stock, mix, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer and cover. Let sit for about 25-30 minutes until rice absorbs all liquid. You’ll need to stir several times as the rice will begin to stick to the bottom. If it does, just aggressively scrape the bottom with a steel spoon to remove.
- In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the frozen peas and cover. I like my rice on the wet side. If you prefer your rice dry, keep the lid off here and stir until rice reaches consistency you’re looking for.
- Serve with a lime or lemon wedge and diced jalapeno if desired.
January 8, 2012 § 1 Comment
I have been thinking of re-creating this dish ever since visiting Candle 79 last October. The dish was a live zucchini manicotti stuffed with a mushroom olive mixture and topped with a raw tomato sauce and parsley pine nut salad. At the time, I still was not liking mushrooms very much. Boy has that changed. Mushrooms have been the star of many meals since including my Christmas Eve dinner with vegan mushroom bourguignon.
At Candle79, I thought the mushroom olive combination was delicious. I’m a big olive fan and love their briny, salty bite which masked the mushroom flavor I didn’t like at the time. Instead, what remained was just a chewy almost meaty texture which I welcomed. I thought the dish would be great to make at home with store-bought olive tapenade. So that’s what I did.
Since Luis wasn’t a fan of the “live” part of this dish, I decided to roast the zucchini. What I didn’t realize though is that then you can’t roll them into a manicotti. They become way too flimsy cooked. So I just laid them flat but it still worked. I wanted to make this elegant dish as easy as possible to make so I made a point of making it with one baking sheet. I was looking for easy cleanup here and it worked.
The resulting dish was elegant and tasty – but it was on the small side. It did feel like a little gourmet meal though I’d suggest doubling this recipe or serving with a side or salad. I also want to try it one day with pasta. I think it would be great.
Zucchini with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Olive-Portobello Relish
Makes 4 small servings
- 2 zucchini, thinly sliced (about 6 slices per zucchini)
- 2 portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 4 tomatoes, sliced
- 4-6 garlic cloves, roasted or raw
- 3 tbsp. pre-made olive tapenade
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper
- dried rosemary (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If roasting the garlic, you can put it in now. Just slice the end of it off so you have a flat top, place in a small oven safe dish, cover with olive oil and foil.
- Slice zucchini using a knife or mandolin. Slice tomatoes. Chop portobellos. Arrange all vegetables on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat all veggies. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary (optional).
- Place veggies in oven to roast about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the mushrooms and zucchini as the cook quickly. You may need to pull them out early. The mushrooms will release a lot of liquid so don’t be alarmed. You can finish the tomatoes and give them a little char by turning the oven up to broil – just watch very closely.
- Once you’ve pulled out the mushrooms, mix with the olive tapenade. Use as much as you like. Add in a few chopped garlic cloves to the mix if you like and set aside.
- Remove tomatoes and place into a food processor with a few garlic cloves. Do not add in liquid from the pan unless you need to thin out the sauce. If you have fresh herbs on hand you can add basil or parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
- To assemble place some sauce on the plate. Top with a few zucchini slices and the olive-portobello relish.
December 28, 2011 § 8 Comments
I think I’ve just had the best Christmas ever. It was definitely the best Christmas of my adult life. One reason it was so special is it was the first time that my mother-in-law spent Christmas with us. To have her here and share the holiday with us meant so much.
We played up the Christmas celebration with non-stop gatherings and food. While most Americans celebrate Christmas day as the holiday, my husband’s family celebrates Christmas Eve. For whatever reason, my family always celebrated both. Since being married, we’ve hosted Christmas Eve at our house and always do Christmas day at my parents. This Christmas Eve started with a wonderful surprise though. We got to have our good friends from Miami over for brunch. Starting Christmas off with my friends at the table, enjoying pancakes and coffee was definitely the way to kick off the celebration.
I gave my friend two options – pumpkin waffles or orange pancakes. She chose the latter so I prepared this recipe. I followed it exactly with the exception of throwing in sliced almonds instead of grinding them which added a really nice crunch. These pancakes were very cake like, and almost had a muffin texture. Everyone at the table was impressed to know they were vegan.
When all was said and done, I figured I could take a nap. But alas, I still didn’t know what I was making for dinner. I can sometimes be the ultimate procrastinator and the holidays are no exception. I didn’t make up my mind until about 2 hours prior to dinner. Sure, I’d spent countless hours picking out recipes but couldn’t actually decide until the last minute. Searching for vegan Christmas recipes was no small task, and the outlook was frankly grim. But I’m pleased to say we had a delicious feast – fit for vegans and omnivores alike!
To start I prepared these amazing butternut squash empanadas. They might have been my favorite food all night long, I’ve since enjoyed them as leftovers and they are equally delicious. Crusty pastry on the outside and a sweet and savory butternut squash filling. The thyme and caramelized onions add lots of depth and cut the sweetness. I love anything yummy inside pastry, don’t you?
The only changes I made to this recipe was almond milk instead of dairy and vegan butter instead of regular. I also was able to find empanada discs that were vegan friendly at my grocery store. Next time, I’ll definitely be doubling the recipe and putting half in the freezer to make at a later date – yum!
Along with our empanadas, we had vegan stuffed mushrooms for a starter. I have to admit the mushrooms were tricky to stuff – perhaps I should have used larger caps. Without egg or cheese its challenging to get the stuffing to stick together, but they were delicious and delicate. If I make them again, I’d brush the mushrooms with a bit of garlic infused olive oil before stuffing to give them a bit more flavor.
As for the dinner, the one certain item I knew I’d prepare was roasted potatoes at the request of my husband. We picked up a lovely variety full of vibrant colors. What to put with them was the question. In the end I decided on Smitten Kitchen’s mushroom bourguignon without pasta since we’d have the potatoes. I added roasted onions and carrots to bulk it up. Alongside, I served it with some nicely roasted asparagus.
No one, I repeat no one at the table said anything about the lack of meat. They were too busy dishing up seconds of savory mushroom bourguignon. The dish was full of dense flavors from the wine, thyme, and vegetable stock. The one problem I had with this recipe is it says to sear the mushrooms. Mine didn’t sear but rather released all their liquid immediately. I was a bit worried I’d ruined the dish but it turned out great. And what was better – with my carrots and onions already roasted, I was able to prepare this while everyone finished their appetizers. With the exception of cutting the mushrooms, I think it qualifies as a 30 minute meal. I was more than happy with the flavor given the short cooking time.
As if all this wasn’t enough, dinner was completed with the most decadent vegan cupcakes my sister brought and trembleque. I’d never made this dish before but a friend brought it to my mom’s Christmas brunch a few weeks earlier. When I learned it was vegan I was in love. It’s made with coconut milk and cornstarch and almost is like a flan but with a lighter flavor – it is simply divine.
After our never ending meal, we all relaxed and watched Christmas Vacation, a family tradition. To sit with both sides of our family laughing together was the best gift.
We all slept like babies that night, with full bellies and not a care in the world…Until the next day, when we woke up and ate even more!
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!
December 21, 2011 § 5 Comments
I’ve spent the better part of my evenings this past week looking for vegan Christmas recipes. Unfortunately, I haven’t found as many as I would have liked, but have found a few promising recipes. I do have to say as a side note that I’m new to Pinterest and it’s becoming slightly addicting!
In my quest for amazing vegan Christmas recipes, I stumbled across this sweet potato cauliflower soup recipe from Manifest Vegan. The recipe called my attention with it’s sweet orange color and roasted cauliflower. I made a vegan corn chowder with roasted cauliflower and loved the creamy texture the cauliflower lent. I’m usually not a big fan of sweet soups and as I was making it was a bit worried I wouldn’t like it – but boy was I wrong.
This soup was divine! Silky and creamy with just a slight sweetness from the potatoes balanced by earthy Mexican oregano. The roasted cauliflower provides nice texture and the almonds add a spicy crunch.
This is the perfect soup for a rainy or cold winter night. The spices are warming and the soup is more filling than you think. Two bowls and I was stuffed! Serve with crusty garlic bread for dipping.
Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup with Curry Spiced Almonds
- 1 head cauliflower
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 5 cups filtered water
- 1 tsp – 1 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
- 1 tsp curry masala
- Rinse and cut cauliflower into small bite-spiced pieces. Toss with 2 tbsp olive oil or enough to coat lightly and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes until tender.
- Finely dice one onion. I used half a sweet onion and half a purple onion. Add to stockpot with 2 tbsp oil and 2 minced garlic cloves. Saute on medium heat until tender and onions are translucent.
- Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces and add to stockpot. Add 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano depending on your taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the stock and water and turn heat up on medium-high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender. Once potatoes are cooked, add half the cooked cauliflower and blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Adjust seasonings as needed.
- To prepare the almonds, drizzle with a touch of oil and sprinkle curry masala. Roast at 350 for 10-15 minutes until golden.
- To serve, top soup with the remaining roasted cauliflower pieces and spiced almonds. Serve with crusty garlic bread on the side.
December 18, 2011 § 5 Comments
I’ve spent 28 years thinking I don’t like eggplant. My mom passed down this disdain for the purple veggie after years of growing up and eating eggplant parmagiana every Friday (it’s a Catholic thing). Just the sight of it is enough to make her lose her appetite. Thus, we never – not once – were served eggplant in my mom’s house.
I ventured out a few times and tried to give eggplant a chance in restaurants. Boy was I disappointed! That mushy flavorless veggie had nothing to offer me. That is until one day I was watching Giada on TV make this eggplant and pasta dish with pesto. She sauteed the eggplant in a generous amount of olive oil – dare I even say perhaps this should be called fried – and mixed with pesto. As I watched her prepare the eggplant and it turned to a caramelized color, I thought how could anything with that decadent golden color be bad? So, I figured I’d give eggplant one more go…
The result? OMG – who knew I LOVE eggplant! Like seriously love, love, love this delicious velvety creamy vegetable. Turns out, I’ve just never had it prepared properly. (Ok, being fare – what isn’t good fried up in olive oil? But still…)
And what’s even better – this recipe takes no time to prepare. This would even meet Rachel Ray’s 30 minute requirement, if that. It’s ridiculously easy and so full of flavor. Now for the real skeptic – I’ve got to make this for my mom and see if she will approve!
The trick is to add a LOT of olive oil. You’re looking for a really good coating and the eggplant just sucks the oil right up. A little salt and pepper and just let it sit and become all golden and yummy.
For the pesto, I omitted the cheese to make it vegan – this dish has so much flavor, you will not miss the parm – I promise! Just blend some garlic, toasted pine nuts, basil, and a touch more of oil together. I actually didn’t even have as much basil as the recipe called for, so I made less pesto but it was perfect. There’s not a big science here. Pesto is easy, you don’t have to get all bent out of shape measuring your ingredients. Just do what smells right
The original recipe called for trenette but I used casarecce which is a beautiful medium length pasta with an s shape – perfect for soaking up the pesto in the grooves. Once the pasta is done, mix it with the pesto and the eggplant. You might need a tad bit of pasta water to help the pesto coat all the pieces of pasta. Oh my goodness it is so rich and delicious. Enjoy!
For the original recipe, click here.
Update: I’ve made this pasta again and blended half the cooked eggplant with the pesto resulting in a creamy vegan pasta. A must try!
December 9, 2011 § 5 Comments
I’ve been on a big journey the past few years…
Once upon a time, I never thought my husband and I would be able to be together – but we figured out a way to make it happen and have been married 3+ years.
It wasn’t too long ago I was in the midst of a huge company downsizing, lost my job, and after months of searching was told if I wanted to get hired, I’d need to remove my MBA from my resume. Talk about depressing… Needless to say I never saw my career taking off the way it has – and it did so beyond my wildest dreams.
I never thought I’d be able to travel on my own, something about lonely hotel rooms and solitary dinners made me nervous – but this year was spent taking more trips than I can count, mostly alone, and I did just fine.
I never thought I’d be able to manage a dog with my job – I do, and splendidly I may add thanks to my husband. How we ever managed before her is beyond us.
I never thought I’d spend the holidays with my in-laws, no matter how hard we tried, it just never worked out – but my mother-in-law arrives this weekend and will stay through the Christmas holiday and I can’t wait!
And lastly…I never, never, never thought I’d be a VEGAN (hah!) at our Thanksgiving table. That’s possibly the biggest surprise of all.
OK, surely becoming vegan isn’t the best of this list – but for me it’s pretty remarkable considering I’ve never had any self control in my life when it came to food. If I wanted it, I ate it. So to sit and eat a fully vegan Thanksgiving meal was pretty amazing. And you know what? It wasn’t bad at all – in fact, it was pretty great.
There was no shortage of food – my mom cooked, which means we had way too much food as usual – and all that food was vegan (minus the turkey )
I feasted on Carrot and Parsnip Osso Buco (recipe info below) which I prepared after looking through my Thanksgiving vegan menu options – carrots, parsnips, pearl onions and porcini mushrooms are slowly braised in red wine, mushroom broth, and curry spices. This atop fluffy mashed potatoes was as delicious as my turkey alternative.
I enjoyed traditional sides of stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, sauteed apples, and lastly some scrumptious pumpkin garlic knots – yup all vegan! Amazing that many of our favorite foods can be made vegan just by swapping chicken stock for vegetable stock. I couldn’t even tell the difference!
It was a Thanksgiving to remember, that’s for sure. Watching my mom prepare everything with her new vegan ingredients (which she doesn’t mind using!) made me really proud – we are changing our lives one bite at a time.
Cheers to more festive dinners, compassionate eating, healthier lifestyles, and making a conscious effort to remove the word “never” from our vocabulary.
Now I need to figure out what I’m cooking for that Christmas feast!
Carrott & Parsnip Osso Bucco
If you’re interested in trying out the Carrot Osso Buco, the recipe can be found here. I added a few cloves of garlic – because honestly, how can you cook anything without garlic? And I had parsnips on hand so I decided to throw them in as well. Honestly though I enjoyed the carrots more than the parsnips. One last note on ingredients – the recipe calls for porcini mushroom powder. At $10 for a small box of dried mushrooms, I’m not sure this was even necessary. I think the curry and mushroom stock give it plenty of flavor so feel free to forgo the expensive dried fungi
After sauteeing the veggies, I decided to slowly braise them in the slow cooker to leave my stove clean which worked nicely. The resulting veggies are complex and bold. The curry and wine offers tremendous depth and flavor. And the sauce is really delicious over mashed potatoes – with or without the carrots. I had some sauce left and spooned it over my leftover mashed potatoes for the next few days – yum.
Pumpkin Garlic Knots
The pumpkin garlic knot recipe can be found here. As this blogger points out, you can’t taste the pumpkin much and I agree. However, it does give the knots a festive gold color and let’s face it – at the holidays it is fun to say they are made of pumpkin! But seriously, you simply can’t beat the buttery garlic spread – yummmmmy. It’s simply five finger lickin’ good!
Update: See the vegan mushroom bourguignon I made for Christmas.
November 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
It’s that time of year – party season is upon us. Lots of holiday parties to attend which means time with loved ones, reconnecting with old friends, and most importantly – you need to think about what you’re going to bring!
I used to think the holidays were a time to relax and slow down. Ha! That’s when I didn’t have a job! The past few years the holidays seem to come and go with a blink of the eye. There’s never enough time to do all I want to do – if I get my tree up, I’m lucky. So when it comes to entertaining or bringing food to parties – simple is best.
Enter your lifesaver – a completely store-bought vegan antipasto platter. Antipasto platters are usually loaded with meats, cheeses, and olives. I’ve kept the olives and replaced the non-vegan items with equally delicious and scrumptious alternatives. Oh, and best part, this is a no-cook appetizer. Allow yourself time to run to the store and arrange the items on a nice platter and that’s it – it seriously doesn’t get easier than this.
Your local grocery store has everything you need to put together a great vegan appetizer: some olives, crackers, dips, veggies, nuts and you are good to go. If you’ve got multiple parties to attend, consider buying your items at Costco for some serious savings!
I used my favorite antipasto platter from Crate & Barrel which comes with the little square dishes perfect for separating certain items. Adding small ramekins to the plate allowed for more separation and extra items on the plate. This also makes it easy to wrap everything up individually so it doesn’t move around in transport – ensuring your dish arrives as beautifully as it was when it left.