My Favorite Holiday – Vegan Style

Here’s a recipe I use for Thanksgiving every year because it’s always such a hit. The pic of my friend Franny licking her lips proves it. It was her first Thanksgiving (she’s British) and she LOVED my stuffing. It’s a little labor intensive if you start with raw chestnuts (jarred roasted ones were $15, compared to $5 for a bag of raw ones, so duh!) but it’s worth it, plus it’s Thanksgiving, so no shortcuts! And no Thanksgiving would be complete without the gravy. Mushrooms are a good base because they help it thicken up when you cook it down. This is also one of my staples. I even made some for my class this week and they begged me to post the recipe so here you go guys!

Chestnut Stuffing

adapted (makes about 15 servings)

  • 1 pound of tempeh sausage crumbles (2 8 oz packs of tempeh, and use fresh sage!)
  • 1 pound loaf of day old 7-grain bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 cups roasted chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat your oven to 375º. Heat the vegan margarine in a skillet and add the onions, celery, and fennel. Cook until they start to become soft, about 7 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, then add the sausage crumbles. Cook another minute, then add the chestnuts and cook until the liquid has evaporated. In a big mixing bowl, add the bread cubes, onion, sausage, fennel mixture, herbs, and broth, and mix well. Make sure the stuffing is moist but not too wet. Place the stuffing in a greased 4 quart baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 45 until the top is crispy.

*To roast the chestnuts yourself, preheat the oven to 425º and with a sharp knife, cut an X into each one. Put them in a baking dish with the X facing up and bake for about 3o minutes until the shells start to burst open. Let them cool and then they’re ready to peel.

Mushroom Gravy

  • 1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
Cook the mushrooms and the onions in a skillet in the vegan margarine over medium heat until they start to get soft and the onions are translucent. Add the vegetable broth and soy sauce, and slowly add the flour while stirring making sure it doesn’t clump. Add the spices and turn heat down to medium-low and let cook for about 15 minutes until you reach the desired thickness.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Advertisements

Dilled Spaghetti Alfredo

A spontaneous weeknight dish that was super satisfying and comforting. We wanted spaghetti but were at a loss for what kind of sauce to use. But thanks to the versatility of nuts, voila a delicious creamy sauce with a little herby kick!  And everyone knows about the powers of quinoa. I always opt for quinoa noodles if I have the chance, for all the added nutritional benefits.  The ingredient list is a little long, but most was all stuff I had lying around in my cupboards and which every vegetarian probably has on hand.

Vegan Dilled Spaghetti Alfredo (makes about 4 servings)

For the sauce (makes about 3 cups):

  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup dill
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp tamari soy sauce
  • 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 creamy.

For the pasta, you’ll need:

  • 4 oz of quinoa spaghetti
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • tempeh crumbles (I know I use these in like every recipe but they’re so good!)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup of daiya mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil
  • a splash of white wine (for deglazing)
Start by cooking the onions in some olive oil over medium heat until they start to get soft and translucent. Add the green pepper and cook another 5 minutes. Add a splash of wine to deglaze and let it cook uncovered another 2 minutes. Add the onions and peppers to the tempeh crumbles and cook another minute. Toss all the remaining ingredients together with the spaghetti and about 1/2 of the sauce (more if you like it saucier!) Warm over low heat until the cheese melts. Sprinkle some sauce on top and serve!

The $5 Challenge Dinner

I decided to take the $5 Slow Food Challenge and cook an easy, healthy, vegan, and most importantly, CHEAP meal for a few friends this weekend. This is a recipe from a previous post, Mexican Pizza but with black beans this time, and some leftover corn on the side. I chose it because it was the cheapest thing I could think of to make from scratch without having to buy too many ingredients, and everyone loves pizza (duh.) Plus, it went perfectly with my new Mexican tablecloth that I just got while on vacation last week!

The goal was to spend less than $25 to feed five people, and I was actually under budget if I don’t count the spices and olive oil that were already in the cupboard. The flour, cornmeal, and yeast were bought in bulk from the Bushwick Food Coop, which is why they’re so cheap. It pays to join a local coop!

I froze the bananas and put them through my champion juicer on the homogenizer setting to make a custard for dessert. I know not everyone has a juicer, but you could also just use a food processor or blender to make a creamier pudding.

Here’s a recap of what I spent, including for dessert:

  • 3 bananas – $0.93
  • 2 green peppers – $1.91
  • 1 bunch of cilantro $1.79
  • 1 avocados – $2.00
  • 1 bag black beans dry – $1.29
  • 1 tomato – $0.88
  • 1 bag yellow onions – $1.99
  • 4 ears corn – $2.67
  • 1 block tempeh $2.00
  • 1 cup cornmeal  – $0.36
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour – $0.68
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast – $0.12
  • 1 can tomato paste – $1.29
  • 1 bag daiya cheddar cheese shreds – $4.49

And my total was just $22.40 (plus pizza leftovers for breakfast and lunch yesterday!) I did my best to use organic, local stuff, but I don’t get my CSA share until Wednesday so I went to my local grocery store for the veggies. Surprisingly, they had a small selection of local vegetables.

So all and all, success. And Paul got to toss the pizza dough.

Look how happy everyone is to eat a $5 vegan dinner. Take that, value meals!

Red bean and Tempeh Sausage Mexican Pizza

Hurricane pizza! I’ve been stuck inside all weekend because of hurricane “Irene.” Luckily we didn’t really feel any bad effects and just got to spend a weekend at home cooking and veggin out (sorry for the bad pun.) Since there was no going out to the grocery store to buy a pre-made crust, this one is made from scratch but was surprisingly easy, and cheaper.

And I had a few visitors surprise me as I was peeling the husks off the corn: caterpillars! That’s what you get from fresh local corn without pesticides. Good thing I ate the corn right away or they would have eaten all my kernels! But those sneaky guys left plenty for us.

I used red beans for the base because I just happened to have a batch in the fridge that I made a few days ago in the pressure cooker (see my recipe here.) But you could just as well use black or pinto beans.

The tempeh sausage is from a recipe I really like and use a lot from the Post Punk Kitchen. You can use them in a lot of different ways and add or leave out any spices you want.

Serves about 3, or 7-8 slices

Cornmeal pizza dough (adapted from this recipe, without the sugar)

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached whole wheat flour plus more, if necessary
  • 1 cup cornmeal, plus more for dusting pan
In a large mixing bowl combine yeast with water and whisk. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, olive oil, and half of the flour and mix well. Add the 1 cup of cornmeal and all remaining flour except 1/2 cup and mix well with your hands, working to incorporate the flour little by little. Transfer the dough over to a floured work surface and knead dough for about 5 minutes, adding enough additional flour if needed until the dough is elastic and not too sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually at least 2 hours.

Once the dough has risen, divide it into 2 portions (for 2 (12 to 14-inch) pizzas) and form into balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, and roll out to a 1/8-inch thickness. If you save the dough, just keep it covered with a towel in the fridge. If it’s too dry or hard when you take it out, just add some water and knead it until it’s the right consistency.

For the toppings

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 small green bell peppers
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of tempeh sausage crumbles
  • 1 1/2 cups of red beans
  • 3 ears of corn, husks removed and dropped in boiling water for about 4 minutes, and kernels removed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup daiya pepperjack cheese
  • olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Preheat the oven to 450º. Cook the onions slowly in the olive oil with a little salt on the stove over medium-low heat for about 7-10 minutes so they begin to get soft and slightly caramelized. Add the green peppers and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring often.
Now you’re ready to assemble the pizza! Add layer of beans, followed by the tempeh, onions and peppers, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and put in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the crust is golden around the edges. Garnish with cilantro.

Squash Polenta Casserole



I’m totally up to my neck in squash and from the CSA, so instead of making zucchini bread, I decided to experiment with polenta, which I just recently cooked with for the first time. I tried this recipe the other night when I had friends over for dinner and it was a huge success (I love all her recipes!). Daiya cheese would have gone great with this too but I ran out and was already back home in Brooklyn (can only find it in Manhattan so far). I’ve also been getting a ton of basil so I’m putting pesto on EVERYTHING, but who would complain about that?

For the pesto:

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh basil, sprigs removed
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • crushed red pepper
Process everything up, pouring the olive oil in little by little. I left it chunky, but if you want you can add more olive oil to make it smoother.
For the polenta:
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tsp salt
I followed veganprairiefood’s method:
Combine the cornmeal, salt and cold water, then pour into the boiling water on the stove. Turn the burner down to medium low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the cornmeal thickens into a thick paste. I set it by the window to cool for about 20 minutes.
For the filling:
  • 5 small summer squash (i used green and yellow) halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups napa cabbage, steamed until soft but crisp (about 10 min
  • tempeh crumbles (adapted from post punk kitchen recipe, without the sage and added 1 tsp nutritional yeast)

Grease the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan and preheat oven to 375º

Saute the onions for about 7 minutes until they turn soft and translucent, then add to the tempeh and cook for another 3 minutes on med-low heat.

While that’s cooking, roll the polenta into a cylinder and cut into thin slices to layer the bottom of the pan with.

On top of that, layer the zucchini, tempeh, cabbage, and pesto (I had room for about 2 rounds of layers) and top off with the remaining polenta slices.

Bake for about 25 min. This made about 5 servings, and the leftovers were great for a quick yummy breakfast the next day too when we were in a hurry to go berry picking. The one redeeming thing about the atrociously hot summer in New York has been all the great fruits and veggies!

Sweet Stuff

Who doesn’t like something yummy stuffed inside something else yummy? I’m a big fan of putting food inside other food. My boyfriend and I joke that we should start a stuffing food truck in New York (since there seems to be a food truck for everything.) For the stuffing, I used a variation of a lemon herbed rice that I used last Thanksgiving to stuff some butternut squash. But this time I added more herbs and some tempeh to make it more hearty. They were almost too pretty to eat!

Tempeh and rice stuffed sweet peppers

For about 5 peppers 

  • 5 small sweet bell peppers (I used orange and red because they’re prettier!)
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 16 oz package of tempeh
  • 1/2 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp anise seed
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cups water
Preheat oven to 350º. Bring the water to a boil and add the brown rice and reduce heat to low. Simmer in a pot with a pinch of salt, covered. In the meantime, crumble the tempeh into another pan with water so that it’s almost covered. Boil until the water evaporates and the tempeh is soft. When rice is about halfway cooked (about 15 minutes), add the tempeh and all other ingredients except lemon juice. Cook about another 15 minutes until the rice is soft. Add the lemon juice at the very end.
While that’s cooking, cut the tops off of the peppers and take out the seeds. Brush some olive oil on them and stuff them up! Put them on an oiled baking pan and cook in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until they start to get all wrinkly on the outside and the rice starts to get just a little crispy on top.
We ate them as a main dish with some steamed greens, but I think it’d be a good side dish too if the peppers are smallish.
Stuff your face!

Steamed Baby Greens

It’s been a few weeks but I’m back and hungrier than ever. After going on a 2 week long raw food/juice fast cleanse, then getting a nasty stomach bug, I’m ecstatic to rejoin the world of solid food! My first leisurely dinner at home in a while was awesome.

First I steamed some veggies:

  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 8 oz baby broccoli
  • 5-6 white button mushrooms, sliced

For about 6-7 minutes, until broccoli was soft but still crisp

For the marinade:

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup basil, chiffonade
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything except basil in a skillet over medium heat until garlic starts to get fragrant, add basil at the end and cook for another 30 seconds or so, then set aside.

While that stuff is cooking, in another pan with about 2 tbsp olive oil, caramelize 1 red onion, sliced, with a sprinkle of sea salt, over low-medium heat until browned.

In another pan, fry up about 1 cup of tempeh, cut into squares, in about 2 tbsp of olive oil until browned.

Toss everything together, and garnish with some pumpkin seeds and nutritional yeast. Serve on some brown rice.

Previous Older Entries