Roasted Eggplant Cilantro Spread

Hello lovely readers! I know it’s been forever since my last post. Life is busy! When I don’t have a lot of time for experimenting in the kitchen, there a few vegan blogs that I know I can rely on for something quick and yummy. One of those that I’ve loved for a while is Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  This is a recipe of Susan’s that I tweaked to accommodate what I had on hand in the house, and it turned out delicious. I had a lot of cilantro in the fridge that needed to be used so I used that instead of basil, and walnuts instead of almonds, which I prefer in pesto anyway.  This is much lower fat than traditional pesto too, since the creaminess of the eggplant replaces the need for any oil. And the best part is that it can be used as a dip, sandwich spread, or as an addition to pasta, and all busy vegans can appreciate foods with multiple uses!

More recipes to come soon. My spring CSA share starts next month so I’ll soon have more veggies than I know what to do with!

Enjoy!

Falafel Arepas

Arepas take two. I’ve been experimenting with this yummy Venezuelan staple food for a while. After a few initial failed attempts, I finally have them down pat. You HAVE TO use pre-cooked white cornmeal (I used the wrong kind of corn flour in an earlier post.) There are several brands of arepa flour out there, but the most common one I’ve seen around is Harina PAN. It can probably be found in the ethnic food section in the grocery store. They’re super easy to make and go well with anything, and can be used in place of pita (if gluten-free is your thing.) I decided to fill them with falafel to make a savory East-meets-West kind of pocket with a Latin twist. Topped with a creamy cashew nut sauce, these little guys were really flavorful!

Baked falafel balls (makes about 9 balls)

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1 can)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375º. Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a thick paste is formed. Roll into 1-inch balls and put onto an oiled baking dish, slightly flattening them. Cook for 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through. They should be crispy and browned.

Arepa pockets (makes about 6)

  • 1 cup Harina PAN flour
  • 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix the flour with your hands until all the water is absorbed. Roll into 2-inch balls and flatten between your palms. Grill until golden brown on both sides (I use a George Foreman grill for convenience.) Allow to cool, then cut a slit halfway through to make a pocket.

Cashew cream sauce (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 3 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt, black pepper, paprika, and a pinch of nutmeg

Process everything up until smooth.

Serve with sliced red cabbage and chopped tomato.

¡Buen Provecho!

Cannellini Bean & Kale Quiche

One of my friends brought over a cannellini bean and spinach dip for Thanksgiving which was amazing, and I thought, this would be a good creamy filling for a quiche! Most recipes use silken tofu to get that consistency but I found the beans were just right. And having lived in France for 2 years, I miss quiche and have never tried to make a vegan version. I even made the crust from scratch, which was surprisingly easy and cheaper than a store bought crust.

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy milk

Preheat oven to 400. Put all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and mix with a fork until all the flour is dampened, then press the dough against the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate, making sure it’s even and there are no holes. Cover with foil and bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 4 minutes until the dough is set.

For the filling
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1 12 oz jar artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup daiya mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • paprika
  • salt

Bring the temperature of the oven up to 425. In a processor, add all the ingredients except the onions, pepper, and mushrooms. Process it up until it’s creamy. Saute the remaining ingredients in a saucepan with some olive oil until the onions start to get translucent, about 4 minutes. Layer the bean mixture and onion mixture in the pie crust, adding a sprinkle of daiya cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Bon appetit!

“Chicken” Guacamole Chard Wraps

I don’t usually cook with fake meat substitutes a lot but on one of my recent Chinatown dim sum lunch trips (at my favorite vegan kosher dim sum place!) I discovered this vegetarian market with tons of weird products that I’m just too curious to ignore. So my first purchase was some “chicken legs,” which I marinated and baked. But if you don’t have a Chinese vegetarian market near you, this would also work with seitan or tempeh.

“Chicken” Guacamole Chard Wraps (makes about 6 wraps servings)

For the guacamole:

  • 1 small hass avocado
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 plum tomato, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything up until you reach the right consistency

For the marinade, you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/8 tsp anise seed
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper

Brush the marinade on your “chicken” and bake or brown in a saucepan until crispy. Cut the tough spines out of your chard leaves, add a dollop of guacamole and some chicken strips, roll it up, and pierce with a skewer or toothpick. Hooray for finger food!

Grilled Zucchini, Chioggia Beet and Daiya Pesto Quesadillas

I still can’t get over the fact that I finally found a vegan cheese that I like and that actually melts and is creamy, so naturally I’ve been putting Daiya on everything! And basil galore from the CSA means lots of pesto lately. Put those two things together in between some corn tortillas with some yummy end of summer veggies and you have a super easy weeknight meal, which is even easier if you have a sandwich press or george foreman grill. I have never had one of these but I just moved in with my boyfriend, who has one and it’s so great! It sounds kind of lazy to cook veggies on it but it grilled the zucchini perfectly (works well with eggplant too.) Plus you get those pretty grill marks without having to have a fancy backyard with a grill!

Here’s what I used. This makes about 5/6 quesadillas (I used the Ezekiel Sprouted Corn tortillas which are kind of small though so maybe less if you use bigger ones.)

  • 1 large zucchini, cut into thin 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 medium chioggia beet, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Daiya cheese (I used the mozzarella one)
  • corn tortillas
  • splash of lemon juice
  • pesto (see my recipe here)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put the beets in a pot with enough water to cover them and a splash of lemon juice and bring the water to a boil. Bring heat to medium and allow the beets to simmer for about 25 minutes until they’re tender and you can poke them with a fork. Run under some cold water and let them cool off.

While the beets are cooking, combine about 1 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Brush both sides of the zucchini slices and put on the grill, turning over once, until they have nice grill marks and are kinda soggy (about 3-4 minutes per side.)

Spread some pesto on a tortilla and layer zucchini, beets and cheese. Fold the quesadilla in half and put it on the grill until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy.

Refreshing Cucumber Salad



I’ve been getting tons of cucumbers from the CSA. I juiced some of them this weekend (cucumber mango juice is great!) but I still had some lying around. One of my friends suggested pickling them, but it’s so hot I thought they’d be perfect for a summer evening meal. Throw in some sweet corn and parsley and you get pretty much the easiest salad ever. I had alongside some hummus and pita. And minimal standing in front of the stove time, unless you use dry beans like I did for the hummus, but the pressure cooker allows you to at least go to the next room for a while and escape the hot kitchen!

For the hummus:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (I used dry beans and cooked in pressure cooker but canned is fine, just add less salt)
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup water (or cooking water from pressure cooker if available)
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste
Throw everything in the food processor until it’s smooth and creamy. Garnish with some paprika and parley.
For the salad:
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • crushed red pepper
Toss everything together in a bowl and garnish with some parsley sprigs (for prettiness, of course!)

Summery Seasonal Potato Salad with Cashew Mayo

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but picking up my awesome CSA share of veggies yesterday gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get out of my rut of eating sandwiches all week and make something different. I just started getting my shares and you never know exactly what veggies you’re gonna get that week, so it’s a fun surprise when it’s something you’ve never cooked with before. I’ve never used dill, and all I can ever remember having it in is potato salad, so this is my attempt at a vegan version. I had no vegenaise in the house but I found an old bag of raw cashews so I made do with that for the mayo. And perfect for 4th of July picnics! I’m gonna take this to the park and have lunch tomorrow. Here it is!

For the cashew mayo 

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 1 hour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • pinch paprika

Put all the ingredients except oil in a processor and pulse until it starts to form a thick paste. Add the oil gradually and process until it has a creamy mayo texture. Makes about 1/2 cup.

The rest

  • 3 medium sized yukon potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • any kind of lettuce
  • 3 tbsp dijon musturd
  • celery salt, to taste
  • black pepper,  to taste
  • paprika,  to taste

Boil potatoes in salted pot of water for about 15 min until tender. Steam broccoli florets about 10 minutes, until tender but still crunchy. Mix all other ingredients and cashew mayo together in a mixing bowl and toss. Serve over bed of lettuce with some chopped tomatoes. garnish with some leftover dill.

Makes about 6-7 servings (maybe less, I’m a small girl and I’m always surprised at how much boys eat!)

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