A few years ago, I taught a vegan Indian food class, and it sold out within a few days. Everyone loved the rich, spicy flavors of India, and this dish will not disappoint! You can make it quickly, and it perfect for these cold winter days!
Aloo Gobi is a simple dish made from cauliflower and potatoes originating in the North Indian Punjab region. (“Aloo” is Urdu for potato, while “gobi” means cauliflower). 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.
I loved using Asafetida in this dish because it makes Indian food taste, well, Indian! You can find it in most Indian or international grocery stores for around $4.00. When used properly, a pinch of asafetida supercharges every other spice in the pan, like salt but in a funkier way (and without any sodium).
This is a quick and easy weeknight meal that can easily be re-heated for lunch the next day! Although it is a stand alone dish, I love it served over curried lentils! I like to serve this dish with my easy garlic Naan, cilantro, and vegan yogurt!
Easy and delicious, this Aloo Gobi makes a perfect weeknight meal!
2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon ginger, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¾ teaspoon garam masala
¾ teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
Pinch of asafetida (optional, but recommended)
Pinch of cayenne (adjust according to preference)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning finished dish
1–2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves, chopped
Unsweetened vegan yogurt
Heat 2 tablespoons (or a solid glug) of oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and fry until golden brown and beginning to pop. Reduce to medium heat and stir in onion. Cook until lightly browned.
Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the garam masala, coriander, chili powder, fenugreek leaves, turmeric, and cayenne, and asafetida, and stir to combine.
Add potatoes and cauliflower to pan, and toss to coat.
Spread mixture in a large stoneware or 3” ceramic baking dish.
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, lime juice, and unsweetened vegan yogurt.
Serve over lentils or rice.
*Be sure to dice your vegetables evenly, so they cook evenly.
President’s Day weekend, I’m doing a 12.3-mile hike of Taum Sauk Peak in the St. Francois Mountains. It’s a small section of the larger 400 mile Ozark Trail. It’s also the highest peak in the state, coming in at just under 1,800 feet. It’s not the Rockies, but hey, a girl has to start somewhere! Anyway, my go-to pre-hike breakfast is always a hearty bowl of oatmeal. It’s filling and gives me a steady supply of energy, especially on the long hikes. As with most recipes, I always imagine how I can make them better. Hence, the Cherry Berry Baked Oatmeal, hearty enough to eat with a fork, it can be modified in an infinite number of ways. It’s great because I can wrap it in foil and eat it in the car. I like to top it with flaked coconut, a little drizzle of warmed maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon!
Many baked oatmeal recipes use eggs, which are used for two things- adding protein and binding all of the ingredients together. Some recipes also use applesauce or mashed banana, which are great for reducing the calories. Unfortunately, they also have reduced binding capacity. For this recipe, I opted to use the often overlooked, great at hiding in the background chia seed! Chia not only adds protein with minimal calories, but they are also an excellent binder. They’re loaded with antioxidants and omega-three fatty-acids! I added baking powder to lift this otherwise dense and sometimes hard to swallow dish! Trust me, my ability to speak has been rendered useless by oatmeal on more than one occasion! Insert wink emoji.
You can make this a year-round treat by adding other seasonal stone fruits, like apricots and plums! You can make it on Sunday and enjoy it for the rest of the week! It’s also a nice change-up for me from my typical fruit and vegetable smoothie. The truth is, subconsciously it’s my desire to make my house smell like cinnamon and baked fruit. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Mix the water and chia seeds in a liquid (glass) measuring cup and set aside.
Place the oats, nuts, and 1 ½ cups of the cherry/berries in a medium mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring 2/3 cup brown sugar, banana, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the coconut oil has melted and ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat. Add chia mixture and milk, stir until incorporated.
Add wet ingredients to dry oat mixture and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch round or square baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, until oats are slightly golden.
When oats are done, remove from oven and let cool, about 20 minutes. The oatmeal should be a little soft when you remove it and will firm up as it cools.
Meanwhile, while oats are cooling, add the remaining 1 ½ cups cherry/berries and 1/3 cup brown sugar to a medium saucepan. Over medium-low heat, simmer berries and brown sugar with a pinch of sea salt until berries break down and become syrupy, about 7-10 minutes.
Serve hot berries over cooled oats and add additional toppings such as whipped cream, coconut flakes and pecans, if desired. Enjoy!
This oatmeal keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This mixture can be stripped down into a no-bake, and made hike-thru friendly by subbing protein powder for milk and using dried fruit. Also, skip the coconut oil and baking powder.
My friend Carla asked me for this recipe the other day. I had made this soup for a cooking class once, and she loved it! However, the recipe has taken a few twists and turns since the class. Each time I make it, I think to myself, “It’s close, but no cigar.” I finally realized what was missing when I added a small jalapeño to the mix of roasted veggies!
The soup is delicious, either hot or cold, and can be served as a winter warmer or cold as an early spring delight! Either way, you can’t go wrong. The other best part? It takes less than 30 minutes to make! You can leave the jalapeño if you like a little heat or remove it if you don’t. Here you go Carla!
1 cupcashew cream (can also use plant-based milk, just won’t be as creamy)
4 cups vegetable broth (DIY or store-bought)
1–2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional // for a slightly cheesy flavor)
1/2 medium lemon (optional // juiced // for brightness)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, add trimmed asparagus, quartered onion, garlic cloves, tarragon, and jalapeño. Toss with avocado oil.
Add all ingredients to the baking sheet. *See Note
Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, turn vegetables. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
When vegetables are done, reserve 8 asparagus tips. Then and add remaining ingredients to a blender with the peas and half of the vegetable stock. Be sure to hold the blender lid when blending as the heat and pressure can build, and the top will fly off. (It’s happened). When mixed well, add purée to a dutch oven over medium heat. Then add remaining stock, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cashew cream. Simmer until warmed through. Finish soup with lemon juice. Taste for seasonings.
Serve with croutons and asparagus tips.
*I like to stack my tarragon and garlic pieces on top of the asparagus to keep them from having direct contact with pan. It helps to prevent them from burning.
My dog Milo loves his treats! Although he eats pretty much anything and everything, so I guess that’s not saying much! Well, while he may not care what he eats, I do. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a bag of treats? Yikes! I bought a bag of peanut butter banana treats, thinking they were vegan, and I got home and realized there were things like maltodextrin, gelatin, caramel coloring, and even eggs. Eggs! I never even thought about eggs in a dog treat.
The good thing is there are only three ingredients. They’re easy to make and will save you a lot of dough (all puns intended)! Seriously a bag of dog treats was $12.99. I made these with ingredients I already had at home! You can make them with either bananas or pumpkin puree. I made both. You could even use apple sauce but would have to adjust your flour a bit. They will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
This year I have taken up trail-running and long-distance hiking. I’ve been a distance runner for nearly 20 years, but my passion for the pavement has been waining. Recently, however, I ran a very challenging half-marathon through the woods, and I’m hooked! I love being amongst the trees and am enjoying the challenge of climbing rough terrain and being completely present while I run or hike. But I am burning through the calories and often find myself losing steam around miles six or seven. Hence, the trail mix bar! It’s a significant energy boost, and these bad boys are DELICIOUS!
The nice thing about these bars is that you can make them any way you want to. I created MY perfect version, and so far, everyone else loves them too! But feel free to get creative and make them with any nut butter, seed, or grain you choose! My husband loves raisins, but I do not, so I made him a batch of his own. One thing I would recommend keeping in the recipe is the coconut nectar. I chose coconut nectar because it has a low glycemic index and is minimally processed. They obtain the nectar directly from the tree, and since it’s not boiled, it doesn’t convert into fructose. It’s also loaded with iron and zinc and contains 17 different amino acids and antioxidants!
I keep them refrigerated, but you don’t need to. Just store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, and they should be good for up to a week!
Line the bottom of a 9×12″ baking dish with parchment paper. Be sure to have some extra hanging over the sides, making it easier to remove from the pan.
In a food processor, add the almonds and cashews. Pulse until lightly chopped, and there are only a few if any large pieces are remaining. This step is essential. If you skip it your bars will not stick together.
Pour mixture into a large bowl and stir in sunflower seeds, oats, flax, puffed cereal, and chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Set mixture aside.
In a medium sauce pan, or microwave, add peanut butter, coconut oil, and coconut nectar. Melt and stir to combine. Allow mixture to cool for 2-3 minutes and then add to dry nut/oat mixture. Stir well to combine.
Add peanut butter mix to dry nut/oat mix and stir well to combine.
Spoon mixture onto prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth. Be sure to press mixture down firmly into the pan. You want it to be very compact.
Place bars into the refrigerator to chill for at least 2-3 hours, but preferably overnight.
When ready, cut bars into rectangles. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week at room temperature or two weeks in the refrigerator.
**Can also be frozen. Layer cut bars in between layers of parchment paper and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 12 weeks. Thaw at room temperature.
Years ago, before a Cardinal’s baseball game, I went to a cool restaurant here in St. Louis called “Pieces.” They have hundreds of board games and tons of great vegan food options. After perusing through their superb vegan menu, I settled on their Midwest Poke Bowl. The taste was so delicious and complex, but not complicated! I was blown away by how well the simple combination of flavors came together. Anyway, a few days ago, the Post Dispatch had a Poke bowl on the cover of their “Let’s Eat” section, and it brought back the memory of the delicious bowl I had eaten at Pieces. It seemed like the perfect time to make my own.
If you don’t know, Poke, pronounced “POH-keh,” is a two-syllable word that means “cut into chunks” in Hawaiian. The compressed watermelon replaces the traditional raw chunks of ahi tuna or octopus and is marinated and compressed in a delicious ginger sesame soy sauce. I used my vacuum sealer to compress the marinade into the watermelon. Why compress it? Because flavor, flavor, flavor is the key to this recipe! Compressing any porous food concentrates its flavor and adds a depth and dimension you wouldn’t get otherwise. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer or sous vide machine, you can use this method for compressing.
While some recipes use regular rice, I decided to use seasoned sushi rice with wakame or seaweed. I also topped the edamame with aTogarashi spice mix comprised of seaweed, orange zest, ginger, sesame seeds, and chili powder. The recipe is finished with sriracha aioli and black sesame seeds. It’s soooo yummy and healthy! One last thing! Be sure to make your watermelon and aioli ahead of time, as they needs time to sit and get happy!
1 tbsp wakame, or kombu (this is optional, but definitely builds the flavor profile)
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp vegan sugar
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1–2 Tbsp sriracha (depending on heat preference)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/8” slices
1 red onion, minced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise, (I used a mandolin set a 1/8″)
1 carrot, julienned (or, you can buy carrots pre-shredded)
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
10 oz bag edamame, cooked according to package directions
2 Tbsp Togarashi spice mix for edamame, (or, 2 tsp red chili flakes)
French fried onions (optional)
Black sesame seeds
Lime, sliced into 6 wedges
d all ingredients except the oils to a blender and blend on high speed until mixed well. Turn blender down to low speed and slowly add the oils until combined.
Add watermelon to a vacuum bag and compress using a vacuum sealer, sous vide machine or the ziplock method. Compress watermelon and seal the bag. Refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4-6 hours.
Rinse rice very well under cold water, until water runs clear, about 2 minutes. This step is essential. Shake until almost dry.
Cook rice according to package directions. I used my Instant Pot to cook the rice, and it works well.
Add wakame to rice and water before cooking. Again, this is optional but highly recommended.
While rice is cooking, add rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt to a small saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until the mix reaches a soft boil and sugar and salt have fully dissolved. (You can also microwave).
When rice is done cooking, spread evenly onto a baking sheet and let cool—drizzle rice with sushi vinegar.
Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to assemble, remove watermelon from the bag and reserve liquid.
Add rice to a bowl and divide watermelon accordingly.
Add spice mix to cooked edamame.
Divide avocado, onion, edamame, cabbage, carrots, and cucumber between bowls and drizzle with reserved liquid and aioli.
Top with black sesame seeds, french fried onions, lime wedge, and scallions.
Yesterday was my mother-in-law‘s birthday. She was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, a city near and dear to my heart. We were supposed to go down for Mardi Gras in NOLA next month. But, because of Covid, we had to cancel our plans. So alas, if we can’t go to New Orleans, I thought it only appropriate to bring New Orleans to us. We started the evening with these delicious vegan crab cakes drizzled in a spicy Creole Ravigote! Our main was a Cornmeal Encrusted Tofu Po’ Boy with a Creamy Coleslaw! The key to this recipe is the hearts of palm! However, there is a lot of concern about the sustainability of hearts of palm, and for a good reason.
The problem with hearts of palm.
Harvesting the “heart of palm” kills most palms. So wild harvesting can very damaging if done on a widespread basis. The hearts of palm that I buy is the “Native Forest” brand. Here is a quote from their website—”Here we rely upon the Euterpe precatoria, or huasaí palm tree, which grows profusely throughout this vast Amazonian rainforest.
Long term leases secure approximately 240,000 acres of pristine native forest for the wild hearts of palm ecological project, thereby protecting the land from any rain forest-destructive development. In addition to preserving the region’s ecology, this project brings needed employment to those who live deep in the Amazon basin, providing them the opportunity to work closer to their families and their ancestral homes.”
But not all brands are as conscientious as Native Forest, and it’s best to check. The Environmental Working Group’s page is an excellent resource for checking everything from sustainability, to child labor, as well as products that contain pesticides, GMO’s etc,
So back to the recipe! The hearts of palm are a perfect replacement for crab meat. These little gems are crispy on the outside and flaky and moist on the inside. My mother in law (who is not vegan) was completely blown away! You can pan fry, air fry, or oven fry them, whatever your preference. Just be sure to heat your oven to the lowest setting and add them to the oven as you make them to keep them warm.
Gnocchi is an Italian pasta made from potatoes. I love gnocchi, it’s so yummy, and there are some delicious freshly pre-made packages out there! Be sure to check, though, because some varieties do contain eggs. There are so many ways you can make it, too. In the spring, I love making it with fresh basil pesto and toasted pine nuts!
This savory mushroom and spinach version is simmered in a rich and creamy Cashew Béchamel! It is a perfect weeknight meal taking only 20 minutes and a handful of ingredients! Yup! Folks will think you spent all afternoon on it! I won’t tell if you won’t! 😉 I will be working on a simple, from-scratch sweet potato gnocchi in the next week, so stay tuned!
1 teaspoon each dried parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
Add cashews to a sauce pan and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
While cashews are boiling, clean mushrooms and cut into 1/2 slices.
Peel and slice onion in half widthwise, and then Julienne.
Peel garlic clove, crush with the back of a knife and mince.
Warm skillet over medium heat. When warm, add oil. When the oil has warmed to a shimmer, add onion and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add sage, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Sauté until mushrooms have softened and onions are translucent. Add spinach and cook until spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add gnocchi to boiling water and cook until gnocchi begins to float, about 3-5 minutes.
While the gnocchi is cooking, add cooked cashews to a blender with 1 1/4 cup water. Add garlic powder and salt. Blend until smooth.
When gnocchi is done, drain water and add to onion/mushroom mixture, add cashew béchamel sauce. Simmer over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken. Taste for seasoning.
We are so fortunate to have the best Indian grocery store not too far from our house. There are aisles upon aisles of spices, rice, and about a hundred kinds of dal! Dal is often translated as “lentils” but refers to a split version of various lentils, peas, chickpeas (chana), kidney beans, and so on. If a pulse, or bean, is split in half, it is called a dal. So the chana dal that I used for this recipe is a split chickpea!
To me, the best part of this recipe was the addition of whole spices. Imagine how good your kitchen will smell while sautéing onions, cloves, a whole cinnamon stick, and cardamom. Delicious! You can use any green on hand, I just happened to have some spinach that needed to be used, but kale is a great option, too.
This is an easy recipe for the Instant pot too. Use the sauté feature to cook the onions and spices. Then pick-up the recipe at step three and cook on high for 15 minutes. I cubed and browned my sweet potatoes before adding them to the lentils. If you don’t roast them or brown them first, you run the risk of them becoming mushy.
Curried dal is deliciously satisfying and super easy to make! You will also have plenty of leftovers! Serve with warmed naan or toasted bread.
3green cardamom pods
3tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
4cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
1Serrano chile, stemmed and finely sliced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup yellow curry paste
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
10 oz fresh baby spinach
½teaspoon mustard seeds
2tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
2teaspoons kosher salt
1 full 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
Garnish with yogurt, and cilantro, and smoked paprika
Rinse the lentils in a strainer in cold water until the water runs clear, then place in a medium bowl, cover with water, and set aside. Using the side of a knife, carefully crack open the cardamom pods.
Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil into a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Cook for about a minute, then add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are browning and soft. Add garlic, ginger, and chile and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
Drain lentils and add to the pot; add turmeric, curry paste, and 4 1/4 cups of hot water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once they are boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and creamy.
While lentils are cooking, warm a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and when shimmering, add sweet potatoes. Brown potatoes on all sides and cook until they are almost fork tender. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat and, when shimmering, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the reserved onion mixture and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the spinach, shredded coconut, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt—Cook for 1 minute. Add the lime juice and stir.
When the lentils are soft and creamy, add the coconut milk and remaining salt. Add spinach mixture and sweet potatoes—taste for seasoning. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until potatoes have warmed through. I added just a bit more curry paste to mine, but I like heat! Serve in a bowl, and spoon over rice. Top with yogurt, cilantro, and smoked paprika.
The other day my friend Kathy asked for a Chile Verde recipe. The truth is, I’d never made it before. Strange, I know, considering Mexican food is my all time number one favorite food. After several hours of watching YouTube videos of mostly non-english speaking women, I set out to make this delectable dish.
Do you know the difference is between “chili” and”chile”? In American English, “chili” is the most common spelling for the spicy peppers and the stew. In British English the preferred spelling is “chilli.” In Spanish speaking countries and regions of the US, “chile” is the most common variant. Because I spent several hours watching YouTube videos of Spanish speaking ladies making this authentic and delectable dish, we are going to call it chile!
A traditional Chile Verde is made with pork shoulder and potatoes simmered in a spicy green chili sauce. Aside from the obvious, there were several traditional elements that I found muy importante in making this recipe. The first being the use of the molcajete, or the Mexican mortar and pestle. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. You can simply cut your ingredients into thin slices, then give them a good smashing with the underside of your favorite coffee mug (the heavier the mug, the better), or add the ingredients to a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin.
I slow simmered browned soy curls and potatoes in the green verde sauce, which is made from garlic, onion, cilantro, four kinds of peppers, and roasted tomatillo’s. Ahhhmaaazing! Here ya are, Miss Kathy!
Add tomatillos to a lined baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until browned. Remove from oven to cool. When cooled slice in half.
White tomatillos are in the oven; add broth, whole peppers, 1/4 onion, and 1 1/2 cloves of garlic to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer on medium for about 15 minutes.
Remove vegetables, and immediately add them to a prepared ice bath, making sure to cover them adequately.
Drain cooking stock into a large mixing bowl or another large vessel, BUT DO NOT DISCARD.
Once vegetables have cooled, and ice has melted, remove vegetables from the ice bath (do not discard that water either).
In a mortar, add boiled garlic and one additional clove of fresh garlic (not boiled) with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using the pestle, grind garlic into a fine paste.
Seed all peppers and cut them into thin strips. Add to blender. Slice boiled onion and add to blender with cilantro. Add garlic paste and blend until smooth. (I needed to add just a bit of my stock water to thin out). If there is room, begin to add tomatillos, and blend. If not, blend tomatillos separately and then add to blended pepper mixture.
To make Curls:
Add the ice water used to cool the pepper mixture to a sauté pan and add soy curls. Boil until curls have softened, about 5-8 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain soy curls.
Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add oil. When the oil is warmed, add julienned onion and soy curls (you may need to do this in batches). Cook until onions and curls have browned. About 5-7 minutes.
When browned, remove curl/onion mix from dutch oven and toss in 2 tablespoons of flour. (I wanted a gluten-free version, so I used brown rice flour). Set aside.
In the same pan, reduce heat to medium and add the sauce from the blender.
Add 3 cups of reserved cooking stock, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and diced potatoes.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cook until potatoes have softened, about 20 minutes.
Add soy curls, and cook until warmed through and chile has thickened. Taste for seasoning and serve.
Garnish with pickled red onion, fresh cilantro, and plain vegan yogurt.
Serve with very lightly fried corn tortillas. Enjoy!