Aloo Gobi with Chana

Aloo Gobi with Chana

After Mexican food, Thai food, and Indian food vie for second as my most favorite food.   A few weeks ago my husband ordered a Veg Manchurian from our favorite Indian restaurant. It was delicious, but it was waaaaay too SPICY.  I got the hiccups and couldn’t feel my tongue after 7 bites.   Maybe it’s just my western palate, but I would have enjoyed it so much more if it lost some of its heat.   So I decided to dive headfirst into Indian cooking!   The ingredients sound complex, but it really is ALL about the spices.  After perusing many a dozen recipes (both North and South Indian) I realized that most of the spices in this recipe are universally Indian/Middle Eastern, and by adding them to my pantry, I opened up a whole new world (or at least a dozen countries worth) of food!

Aloo Gobi is a simple dish made from cauliflower and potatoes.  There are generally two kinds of Aloo Gobi, one made with onions and tomatoes, and one without.   I love both, but this one is my favorite…mostly because I envisioned eating it over creamy coconut curried lentils!  I added chickpeas or “chana” to bump the protein and it was delicious!

Baked Aloo Gobi with Chana

•2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1” cubes

•1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

•1 14 oz. can chickpeas (chana) 

•2 Tbsp Olive Oil 

•2 tsp. ground cumin 

•2 tsp. ground turmeric

•1 tsp. ground coriander

•¾ tsp garam masala

•¾ tsp dried fenugreek leaves

•¾ tsp amchur (dry mango powder)

•1 Tbsp. minced ginger

•1 Tbsp. minced garlic

•Pinch of asafetida (optional, but really great)

•Pinch of cayenne (adjust according to preference)

•1 tsp. (or more) kosher salt

•1 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lime juice

•½ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

1. Chop the cauliflower into small florets and put in large bowl.

2. Chop the potatoes into 1” cubes and add to the bowl.  Add drained, rinsed chickpeas.

3. Mix spices until well combined.   Remove Add spices to the vegetable mix; toss to coat.

4. Add olive oil, minced ginger, and garlic, to the bowl and toss well. 

5. Let the vegetable mix sit for a minute or two.

6.Spread mixture in a large stoneware or 3” ceramic baking dish. 

7. Bake at 400° F (204 C) for 20 mins, then cover with parchment and bake for another 15 mins or until tender. Taste and adjust salt and spices accordingly. Garnish with fresh cilantro, a dash of turmeric, and lime juice. And serve hot with any Indian bread.

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Vegan Gluten-Free Gravy Mix

Vegan Gluten-Free Gravy Mix

This is a super easy and delicious gravy mix.   When I first began my search for a good vegan gravy recipe I was sorely disappointed.  I desperately wanted to find something that even closely resembled the gravy I grew up eating.   But the base for the gravy I was used to eating was made from sausage grease and whole wheat flour!  Oh, and did I mention that I also needed it to be gluten-free?   So for a few years, I used various time-consuming methods to achieve a mediocre gravy.   After years of experimenting, I give you this!  Now I can make a delicious vegan gravy that has all the flavor and consistency of the gravy from my past!  Vegan Slingers here I come!

Easy Vegan Gravy Mix

¾ cup brown rice flour

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp corn starch

1.5 tsp sage

1.5 tsp salt

1.5 tsp pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

Add to a mason jar and shake well.

To Use:  Add ¼  cup of dry mix to a sauce pan and add 2-3 cups of plant-based milk.    Stir well and bring to a boil.   Reduce heat and add more milk if needed.   Enjoy!

 

Fire Roasted Vegan Tomato Bisque

Fire Roasted Vegan Tomato Bisque

The other day my oldest daughter was craving tomato soup.  I had to admit it sounded really good to me too.   Grilled cheese and tomato soup is the best!  Of course, her version was a can you throw in the microwave, and mine was, well…this.

Fire Roasted Vegan Tomato Bisque

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1medium onion, diced
  • Two 14 1/2-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, with juices
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular sweet paprika works, too)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup(80ml) light coconut milk, or cashew cream

INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, over medium-low heat. When the pot is hot, add onions and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions are soft. Stir often and add 1 TBSP stock or water if needed, to keep the onions from burning.
    2. Add tomatoes, including the liquid, and stock. Add tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil, paprika, and a pinch of kosher salt. Raise the heat to medium and bring everything to boil. Let the soup simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Let the soup cool off for 5 minutes before transferring to a blender to blend.  (I blend a little more than half of the mixture and leave the rest for a bit for texture).
    3. Return soup to pot and stir in coconut milk or cream.
    4. Serve in bowls with black pepper, minced basil leaves, nutritional yeast, and a swirl of cashew cream, if you’d like.
    5. Top with croutons. I used Minimalist Baker’s “Actually Crispy Chickpeas”  She nailed it!

Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Vegan Pumpkin Soup

For years when I thought of pumpkins, of course, I thought of Halloween and my absolute favorite pie in the whole world.  But when I had Pumpkin Soup for Thanksgiving in New Orleans one year, I realized my view had been very short-sided, and maybe there was more to this magical fruit than I knew!  Pumpkins are a cultivar of a squash plant and are technically a fruit.   And in this soup, they lend a creamy texture and a rich depth of flavor amplified by spices and slow-cooked onions.  Yes.  The Onions.  To me, they are what make this soup shine.   A no-oil onion sauté deglazed with hearty vegetable stock.  To me, this is one of the most amazing ways to build flavor.   Let me show you how.

Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced; or two medium-size shallots diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 ½ tsp ginger, minced, or ¾ tsp of ginger powder

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried coriander

1 tsp salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp black pepper

4 cups vegetable stock

1 14 oz can coconut cream (can use canned coconut milk in a pinch)

3 cans organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

Hot sauce (optional, I use a mild Green Tabasco)

Heat pan on low medium heat until warm.  Add onions, stir until onions become translucent and begin to stick.   Add ½ cup stock and stir to deglaze the pan.  Once the water begins to evaporate add spiced and stir.   Cook for 1-2 minutes and add garlic and ginger.   Cook for 30 seconds and add remaining vegetable stock and stir to deglaze pan again.  Add coconut cream and pumpkin puree.  Stir well and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Taste for spices, and adjust according to your preference.  I added a bit more salt and a little more thyme.  Serve with roasted Pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and roasted spiced chickpeas. Enjoy!   

Mexican Tortilla Soup

Mexican Tortilla Soup

One of my favorite things in the whole world used to be Qdoba’s Tortilla Soup. I loved it. Couldn’t get enough of it. However, when I looked up the ingredients, I was astonished! It tasted so simple and delicious. There were a ton of preservatives and an ungodly amount of salt. I never would have imagined that it was so processed! So when it came time to develop my menu for a Mexican cooking class at the Conservatory…I knew what I was going to do. This version is delicious, clean, and a perfect “Welcome to Fall” soup!

  • 1 can jackfruit drained, rinsed 
  • 2 Leeks chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 1 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (diced)
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican Oregano
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 cup Chunky Salsa
  • 2 cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes (15 oz ea.)
  • 4 cups Vegetable Broth (low sodium)
  • 3.5 cups black beans, drained, rinsed
  • Toppings:

    • 5 Corn Tortillas
    • Avocado 
    • Chopped Green Onions 
    • Lime Wedges 
    • Vegan Sour Cream 

    Jackfruit:

    Lay the jackfruit on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Using your fingers, press the jackfruit chunks and pull apart into large shreds. Set aside.

    On medium heat:

    1. Add leeks and garlic to large soup pot. Sauté in veggie broth, until softened
    2. Add Bell Peppers and Chipotle Peppers, and simmer until softened
    3. Add Jackfruit 
    4. Add all spices and stir well.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes
    5. Add Salsa
    6. Add Tomatoes (with juice)
    7. Add Veggie Broth, and deglaze pan 
    8. Bring to a simmer and stir well*
    9. Drain beans and add to pot
    10. Cover, and simmer on low, or until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.

    Tortilla Strips

    1. Preheat oven to 375° degrees
    2. Cut Corn Tortillas into 1/2″ wide strips
    3. Add strips to a plastic bag or paper sack and toss with 1/2 tsp each: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, garlic salt etc.  (You can use oil or a little broth to help them stick)
    4. Lay strips onto cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes
    5. Toss occasionally to ensure even crisping.

    *If you want to blend the soup and return to pot for a more authentic Qdoba soup, now is the time. Once pureed you can add the black beans and jackfruit, and simmer through until warmed. About 15-20 minutes.

    **If you wish to add more heat: Use 1 tsp of adobo sauce from chipotle pepper can until you reach desired heat. 

    When soup is finished, garnish with 1 small dollop of vegan sour cream, minced cilantro, small avocado slice, a few tortilla strips, and serve.

    Deconstructed Burrito Bowl

    Deconstructed Burrito Bowl

    We love bowls! It’s one of our favorite go-to meals and makes for a quick dinner. Most times we just use various ingredients we have on hand. Be warned they are suuuuper filling! You can be super creative with your bowls or just keep them simple. The basic bowl is this: One part grain, vegetables, one part protein (we use beans, tofu, or tempeh), and top with some kind of sauce. In a pinch, I have used hummus that has been thinned out as a drizzle! Top with your choice of onions, herbs, nuts, or seeds.

    Deconstructed Burrito Bowl

    • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed
    • 2 medium russet potatoes washed, cubed
    • 1 medium onion sliced into ¼ ” wide slices
    • 1 red pepper sliced into ¼” thin slices
    • 1 15 oz. can pinto beans (or, bean of choice)
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ¼ c water
    • 1-2 ripe avocados, sliced, or diced
    • 1-cup brown organic basmati rice (any brown rice will do)
    • 1-cup Pico de Gallo (store bought is easiest)
    • 1-cup cashew queso, thinned (see recipe below)
    • Green onions, diced on bias (optional)
    • Cilantro, minced (optional) 
    • Salt and pepper

    Preheat oven to 400°.  

    Make rice.  I add two cups of water to 2 cups of basmati rice to my Instapot and cook for 15 minutes.    Otherwise, follow package directions.   (You will have leftovers.  You can freeze extra cooked rice in ziplock bag.)

    Peel and dice squash into bite-size pieces.  I use pre-diced store bought and cut larger pieces into 1” cubes.   Wash potatoes and cut into 1” cubes leaving the skins on.  Wash and slice red pepper into ¼” long slices.  Peel and slice onion and in half, cut into ¼” slices.   Add potatoes, squash, red pepper, and onions to a large mixing bowl.  Add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil and toss vegetables with salt and pepper to coat. Add vegetables to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.   Bake, turning once, for 25-30 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender. 

    While veggies are cooking, add one can of drained pinto beans to a small pot, add cumin, garlic powder, and salt.  Add ¼ cup water, cover, and simmer until warmed through.   Keep warm. 

    Make Cashew Queso:  

    • 1 ½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
    • 8 oz of water
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo (or, cut in half if too spicy)
    • 3 TBSP Nutritional Yeast (I use Bragg’s, but you can use any)

    Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender.   Blend until smooth.  In my Vitamix it takes about 45 seconds on high speed, stopping once to scrape down the sides.   ***It is very important that queso is completely smooth.  Add more water 1 Tbsp at a time, if needed and continue to blend until smooth. 

    When vegetables are done remove from oven.   Assemble Buddha bowls.  Add up to 1-cup rice per bowl.  Top bowls with the roasted vegetables, beans, Pico de Gallo, avocado, drizzle with cashew queso, and finish with cilantro and green onions, if using.  

    Enjoy! 

    Vegan Southwest Breakfast Tacos

    Vegan Southwest Breakfast Tacos

    I adore Mexican food. I mean I could literally eat a Mexican dish for every meal. In fact, while we were visiting Colorado this summer we ate at a Mexican Restaurant 8 out of of 11 days. I love the spices, the depth of flavor, and not to mention it’s really easy to “vegan-ize” almost any dish.

    One of our favorites to make at home however, is this tofu scramble. I also adore Dana Shutlz and her Minimalist Baker’s blog. She is truly gifted in the plant-based kitchen and this recipe is a perfect example. A few weeks ago we had 4 couples, their kids, and my mother-in-law over for brunch. Along with mimosas, bloody mary’s, and roasted potatoes with a chipotle cashew queso, this glorious recipe was loved by all! We served them with corn and flour tortillas, and enjoyed them as tacos and burritos! YUM!

    Garnish with salsa, avocados, cilantro, or hot sauce or my favorite Cashew Queso!

    SCRAMBLE

    • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu
    • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1/4 red onion (thinly sliced)
    • 1/2 red pepper (thinly sliced)
    • 2 cups kale (loosely chopped)


    SAUCE

    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
    • 1/4 tsp chili powder
    • Water (to thin)
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Pat tofu dry and roll in a clean, absorbent towel with something heavy on top, such as a cast-iron skillet, for 15 minutes.
    2. While tofu is draining, prepare sauce by adding dry spices to a small bowl and adding enough water to make a pourable sauce. Set aside.
    3. Prep veggies and warm a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and the onion and red pepper. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Cook until softened – about 5 minutes.
    4. Add kale, season with a bit more salt and pepper, and cover to steam for 2 minutes.
    5. In the meantime, unwrap tofu and use a fork to crumble into bite-sized pieces.
    6. Use a spatula to move the veggies to one side of the pan and add tofu. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add sauce, pouring it mostly over the tofu and a little over the veggies. Stir immediately, evenly distributing the sauce. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until tofu is slightly browned.
    7. Serve immediately with the breakfast potatoes, toast, or fruit. I like to add more flavor with salsa, hot sauce, and/or fresh cilantro. Alternatively, freeze for up to 1 month and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

    ***PHOTO via Minimalist Baker www.minimalistbaker.com

    BBQ Jackfruit Sliders

    To Eat, or Not To Eat…

    As a society, we are collectively bound by our traditions.   And this Missouri girl is no stranger to how deeply those traditions are woven into my Midwestern fabric. Missouri is a political bellwether state. We are known for smiling and waving to complete strangers. The word “honest” is something we live and die by. A person’s word and a firm handshake are all we need to seal a deal. But we also hold steadfast to our traditions and our bullheadedness has earned us the nickname “The Show Me State.”   Creatures of habit, we like things the way we like ‘em, and change is not welcomed here.  That said, change evolves as slowly as a Bootheel drawl.   Now it’s not said that we can’t change, but you’ve got to show us why we should! Particularly when it comes to what we eat.  

    Kansas City, my hometown, sits on the far western edge of the state, and has had a long history of determining what we eat.  And what we eat…is meat.  The cattle industry, a thriving industry for over 120 years, began in the west bottoms of KC in 1871 where the Livestock Exchange & Stockyards operated for 12 decades.  In 1899, the National Hereford Show was founded as a cattle show in the Kansas City Stockyardsand was later renamed the “American Royal” after a 1901 editorial in a entitled, “Call It The American Royal.”It’s also why my city would eventually name their baseball team, The Kansas City Royals.  Twice a year in October and November, The American Royal is host to livestock and horse shows, a rodeo and a barbecue competition, all of which are held in the former stockyards.  

    Though the stockyards closed in 1991, the meat industry in KC still reigns as King…the King of Barbeque.  From the Atlantic to the Gulf coast, bordered by the western outposts of Texas, my hometown lies in the middle of an area of the United States called the “Barbeque Belt”, an area that houses four distinct barbecue traditions – Carolina, Texas, Memphis and Kansas City.   BBQ is as ingrained in me as any Midwestern heritage could be.  And when I decided to stop eating meat, BBQ was a difficult task to master.  I missed the smoky flavor and the unmistakable smell of BBQ pulled pork.  Until now…

    This recipe comes via Tasty and is one of the best recipes for making jackfruit I’ve found. Simmered in a ranchero sauce of sorts, the jackfruit is then slowly roasted in a 350° oven for 25 minutes. The crispy jackfruit is then added back to a skillet and doused with bbq sauce. It’s truly heavenly and it satisfies my craving for all things BBQ.

    BBQ JACKFRUIT SLIDERS

    Ingredients for 12 servings

    BBQ JACKFRUIT

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
    • 1 ½ teaspoons pepper
    • 20 oz young green jackfruit, 3 cans, in brine or water
    • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
    • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
    • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
    • 1 ½ teaspoons liquid smoke
    • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
    • 1 ¼ cups barbecue sauce

    Preheat oven to 400° Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    1. Drain and rinse the jackfruit. 
    • In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, until semi-translucent.
    • Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the jackfruit, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and liquid smoke, and mix well. Add the vegetable broth, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, until the jackfruit is soft enough to be mashed and most of the liquid is absorbed.
    • Mash the jackfruit with potato masher or a couple of forks, until it looks pulled or shredded.
    • Transfer the jackfruit to the baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
    • Bake for 25 minutes, until the jackfruit is slightly browned and crispy.
    • Remove the jackfruit from the oven, and pour the BBQ sauce over. Mix well.
    • Return to the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, until the edges are slightly crispy.
    • Use a large bread knife to cut the whole sheet of slider buns in half, spread the BBQ jackfruit on the buns, then top with any additional favorites (pickles, slaw, more sauce!).

    Enjoy!

    Cashew Bechemel–White Sauce

    Big thanks to KSDK “Show Me St. Louis’ for having me back! This recipe is one of my favorite dishes in the whole world! So easy to make and so hard to believe that there is NO cheese, NO cream, No Butter, No Oil! Some may think that is equivalent to no flavor. I say to them…Make IT!


    Vegan Pasta Con Broccoli

    There are only a few meals that truly delight my heart and my palate more than a good pasta. This vegan version of the famous recipe is no exception.   It’s almost hard to believe that there is no cheese, no butter, no cream, and no oil!  The cavatelli pasta is light and creamy and is a perfect medium for this mouthwatering sauce. It’s creamy, delicious, and heart-healthy.  And best of all it can be ready in under 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

     

    IMG_4382

    Serves 4

    • 8 ounces uncooked cavatelli pasta
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    • 1 cup small chopped broccoli
    • 23  cup thinly  sliced fresh Cremini mushrooms
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 cups white Béchemel sauce

    Cook pasta until nearly done, about 8-10 minutes.

    While pasta is cooking, heat large 12-inch rimmed skillet over medium heat, add mushrooms, season with oregano. Dry sauté mushrooms, stirring frequently.  If mushrooms begin to stick, add 2 Tbsp of water/veggie stock and deglaze pan.  Cook until caramelized, season with salt and pepper.   Set aside.

    In a medium saucepan, add tomato paste, nutritional yeast, garlic, and Béchemel sauce. Stir to combine; cook for 3-5 minutes to warm through, add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

    When pasta is nearly done, add broccoli to the pasta water, reduce to medium heat and cook covered, for 2 minutes. Reserve 1-cup pasta water, set aside and drain the remaining water (Do not rinse pasta).  Return pasta and broccoli to the pot.  Add Béchemel sauce and warm through.

    **If the sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

    Remove from the heat; add vegan Parmesan (optional) and serve.

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