Tag Archives: vegan

Market Vegetable Soup

This vegetable soup is also known as clean out the fridge soup. Every week, we go to our local farmers’ market and stock up on local produce. Why let any of that produce go to waste??

  

Before any of that produce in the fridge spoils, make soup! Sure, composting is nice and of course good for the environment, but wouldn’t you rather have delicious soup in your belly? For this batch, I literally cleaned out our fridge before shopping day tomorrow. 

Speaking of shopping, every week we go to one of our favorite markets. Either Easton Farmers’ Market (http://eastonfarmersmarket.com) or Emmaus Farmers’ Market (http://emmausmarket.com). If you don’t shop your local farmers’ market you should start! Local produce is better and most importantly, fresher! It hasn’t traveled cross country in the back of a truck. If you are lucky you will even begin to develop a rapport with the vendors like we have. I honestly look forward to grocery shopping. Can you say that?

Now, this more of a suggestion than a recipe. There are no exact amounts and it will change every time you make it. Talk about simple as well!! One tip, once all of the vegetables are in the pot bring it to a boil and then turn all the way down to low and allow it to simmer. The longer it simmers the more the flavors will develop.

For this batch, I started by dicing one large onion and six cloves of garlic. They went into my six quart dutch oven with a few turns of extra virgin olive oil to sauté over medium heat.

I followed with a bunch of carrots, some celery (which admittedly had been in the fridge way too long), several small heads of cauliflower, a few peppers, two different types of mushrooms, four yukon gold potatoes and two large handfuls of swiss chard. This is not necessarily a pretty soup. I just cut everything up and toss it in the pot. The mushrooms and Swiss chard went in last so they won’t overlook.

For the broth I used one quart of home canned tomatoes and four quarts of vegetable stock.  I like to keep the seasoning simple. Allow the taste of all the vegetables to shine. For this batch four bay leaves, salt, pepper and cayenne are all I used.

As a bonus, the house smells delicious!! There is no potpourri that can make a house smell as good a soup simmering slowly on the stove. So next time you think about tossing those vegetables into the compost, or worse, the trash give this soup a try.

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Pumpkin Granola Bars

Continuing with the annual pumpkin chronicles, I used the pumpkin purée from my last post to make some delicious seasonal granola bars. I took them on a weekend getaway and they were received with warm welcoming smiles.

   

In a large mixing bowl combine four cups of old fashioned rolled oats, one cup hulled sunflower seeds, one-half cup chopped cashews, one-half cup chopped almonds, one and one-half cups dried cherries,  and one-half cup cacao nibs. Sprinkle in cinnamon, ginger and allspice to taste. I used about one-half tablespoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of the ginger and allspice. Time to play with your food! Toss well with your hands to combine the ingredients.

Next, mix in two cups of pumpkin purée and two tablespoons of shagbark hickory syrup. I realize not everyone has shagbark hickory syrup, so go ahead and feel free to substitute maple syrup. I prefer the shagbark because it is not quite as sweet as maple.

 
Once everything is well mixed, press into your favorite bar pan making sure it is tightly packed.  My  absolute favorite bar pan is this large stoneware bar pan from pampered chef. It is 10″ X 15-1/2″. Any pan around this size will work, but I have had the most success with stoneware for granola bars.

I bought mine here:

https://www.pamperedchef.com/pws/ginger759222/shop/Bakeware/Stoneware/Large+Bar+Pan/1445

   
Preheat oven to 350* and bake for thirty five minutes. It will come out a beautiful golden color. Allow to cool well on a cooling rack. I find two hours is about the right amount of time.

 
Once cooled well, flip out of pan and cut into bars. I do this by holding a large cutting board over the pan and turning it over. I cut into thirty six bars.

  
These bars have it all! Sweet and savory along with chewy and crunchy. Share with your friends or pack for snacks. They will keep well for two weeks in the refrigerator if you can keep them around that long.


Simple Guacamole

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First, let me apologize for the lack of pictures. No excuses. I simply forgot and didn’t want to wait until I made another batch to post.

This is my simplest guacamole recipe. Just the basic ingredients, but in no way basic tasting. Only two tools required; a knife and a fork!

No fancy food processor required, unless you prefer smoother guacamole. If using the food processor, toss all the ingredients in at once and pulse until desired consistency.

First, of course, the avocado. Cut three avocados in half. Discard the pit and skin. Place into a mixing bowl and smash them well with a fork.

Now, mix in the rest of the ingredients. Zest and juice of one lime. One red onion, diced. Three cloves of garlic, minced. One can of rotel tomatoes with chillies, drained well. Lastly, cilantro and salt to taste. Mix until well combined.

One side note. If tomatoes are in season and delicious, omit the canned tomatoes in favor of one tomato and one jalapeño. For a milder flavor, remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño.

Serve with chips or pita for dipping, on nachos, with tacos, instead of mayo on sandwiches, or however else you like. There are endless possibilities, limited only by your imagination.


Vegan French Onion Soup

In our house we love onions. For some reason, the thought of making French Onion Soup always intimidated me. Then I tried it! While time consuming, it is not as difficult as I feared. My version is vegan. Perfect for whether you are vegan or just looking for a great Meatless Monday option.

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First? The onions! Garlic too! This recipe requires quite a few onions. Two pounds each of yellow onions, red onions, and vidalia onions. I prefer the different layers of flavor provided by using different varieties. If you prefer, you can use all yellow onions or any variety you like. The most important thing is to have approximately six pounds of whatever onions you choose. Also, six cloves of garlic.

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In a six quart dutch oven over low heat, two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of dairy free butter substitute heat until melted.

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This allows time to start slicing!! Halve and thinly slice all of the onions. This step alone takes about a half hour.

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Once all of the onions are sliced, turn the heat up to medium and add all of the onions into the dutch oven. Press all of the garlic in as well.

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Slowly allow the onions to caramelize, stirring often. This step can not be rushed! Three hours so so later they should be nicely caramelized. I did warn you this was time consuming, right?

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Add one and a half cups of red wine, one half cup of balsamic vinegar, four cups of homemade vegetable stock, four bay leaves, thyme, and salt to taste. Simmer until all of the flavors are beautifully combined; this will take approximately one hour. Remove the bay leaves.

A while ago, I read a great tip for making vegetable broth. When cutting up vegetables like carrots, celery, mushrooms, etcetera, save the scraps in a gallon size freezer bag. When the bag is full, dump the vegetables in four quarts of water, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and let them simmer for a few hours. The end result is a delicious, healthy, salt free vegetable broth. It can either be used immediately of frozen for later use.

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Since we do not have oven safe crocks, this is where I stray a little further from tradition. Slice a loaf of crusty bread. Place the slices on a baking sheet and top with dairy free swiss cheese. Into the oven, set to broil.

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Keep an eye on them, when nicely browned remove from the oven.

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Ladle the soup into your favorite soup cup or bowl. Top with the cheesy bread and enjoy! I was hoping to have leftovers to simmer roast beef for sandwiches in, but that did not happen. Maybe next time!


Pasta in Mushroom Spinach Cream Sauce

While scrolling around the internet one day I saw this dish that made my mouth water. It incorporated two of my favorite foods…mushrooms and spinach! I was so excited to go home and try it. Then I read the ingredients and saw cream of mushroom soup. I really try to avoid processed and canned goods when cooking for my family so I decided to create a fresh version.

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Just look at these beautiful cremini mushrooms! These are definitely the star of the dish. Any mushrooms would work, but I love the earthiness of cremini mushrooms. There are about two pounds here.

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This gorgeous fresh spinach is the costar. I think kale, swiss chard or escarole would also work very well. Two large bunches will go into the dish.

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To start, make mushroom stock. In your favorite stock pot, take the stems and a handful of mushrooms and add four cups of water. Boil for ten to fifteen minutes then reduce to a simmer. Making your own mushroom stock really adds flavor to the dish.

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Slice all of the mushrooms.

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Also slice four cloves of garlic.

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Heat a skillet over medium heat, add in one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and one tablespoon of dairy free butter. Feel free to use regular butter if you prefer. Once the butter is melted, add in the mushrooms and garlic.

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Once the mushrooms have browned nicely, add the spinach to the skillet. Season with salt, pepper and red chili flakes to taste.

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Pour one cup of the mushroom stock into the skillet. Simmer until the spinach wilts.

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At this point, add in four tablespoons of dairy free cream cheese. Goats cheese or full dairy cream cheese would also work nicely. Sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast. Stir until melted and well combined.

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While preparing the sauce, the pasta should also be cooking. For this dish, barilotti was grabbed out of the pantry because it would hold the sauce well. Once the pasta is al dente, strain and toss into the sauce.

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Serve all on it’s own or with some crusty italian bread. This is a great week ugh dish because it comes together so quickly. In about thirty minutes, a healthy and delicious meal is on the table!


Spicy Mushroom Tofu Soup

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The hubby and I had this dish for lunch today and even though I forgot to take my usual amount of pictures we enjoyed it so much I decided to share it. I did remember the most important picture, the completed dish! This soup has the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. It is a nutritionally packed and a well-balanced meal all in one bowl. It is also prepared in one pot. Minimal dishes required!

Now, I know some of you are not tofu fans, but when treated right it adds a delicious flavor, texture and nutritional punch to dishes. My current favorite is Wildwood Organics Sprouted Extra Firm. It is perfect just the way it is, no need to press. When in doubt, always press to get rid of the extra moisture so you do not have mushy tofu. Mushy is not the texture you are going for.

To start, get a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil warming over medium heat in your favorite soup pot. Once the oil is warm grate in a two-inch piece of ginger and four cloves of garlic. Next, generously sprinkle in chili powder and chili flakes. Fresh sliced Serrano would be good as well but there was none in the house. How generously? That is up to you! Add in the chili to your taste. We like a little spice so I am heavy-handed.

Meanwhile shred half of a small cabbage and two bok choy. Napa cabbage would work really well here as well. I used plain old cabbage because that is what we had in the fridge. Once the aromatics have released their oils and the kitchen smells amazing, drop in the cabbage and bok choy.

Sauté until the cabbage is beginning to get tender. Then add in one pound of sliced mixed mushrooms. Use whatever you have on hand. Sauté until the mushrooms are nice and brown. Once brown, add in six cups of unsalted vegetable broth, two cups of water, one-half cup of mirin, and a few tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce. Season to taste with white pepper, black pepper and salt.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer. Once you turn the heat down, add twenty ounces of extra firm tofu cut into small cubes. Allow to simmer around thirty minutes until the flavors marry nicely. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with sriracha for a little extra heat.

Not only is this soup hearty and filling, but it will help clear your sinuses as well! Especially if you add in as much sriracha as I do!


Ginger-Garlic Marinated Tofu

Lately, I have been trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into our diet. Not that we don’t already eat healthy, we do. This is just one more step.

So, the other night, I decided to marinate some tofu. I know some of you are thinking, tofu? Yuck. When prepared and cooked properly tofu is exceptionally yummy! Really, it is.

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Slice a twenty ounce package of tofu into quarter-inch slices. Depending on the type of tofu, you may need to press it. I prefer Wildwood Organic because the texture works without pressing.

For the marinade I combined one-half cup of low sodium soy sauce, one-half cup of mirin, one-quarter cup of harissa oil, six sliced cloves of garlic, three inches of ginger sliced, salt and pepper to taste. Allow the tofu to marinade overnight.

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The tofu will absorb most of the marinade. If there is still a lot of liquid remaining, transfer the tofu to another dish. If it is too wet it will not get crispy on the outside.

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Once transferred to a dry dish, the tofu bakes in a 375* oven. Flip tofu every ten minutes. My original plan was to grill the tofu but Mother Nature had other plans!

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After thirty to forty minutes the tofu will be browned nicely and crispy on the outside. This is when you will know it is done. The marvelous aroma of ginger and garlic will also give you a hint.

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Once done I plated with some fresh veggies from the farmers’ market. Combined, the tofu and veggies made for a nutrient packed and delicious meal!


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