Mushroom, Kale, Potato Tacos

I’ve probably said it a hundred times but I really love handheld foods.  If I can stuff it in a tortilla or bread, I will.  If you want to make this easier, skip the potato and use frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes.  That will save you the step of having to boil a potato.

Makes 4 tacos

Ingredients

1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes (or 1 cup frozen shredded potatoes)

2 cups diced mushrooms

1/3 cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

1/5 block of drained and pressed extra-firm tofu (optional)

2 kale leaves, large rib removed, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Broth, cooking spray or oil for sauteing

4 corn tortillas

Method

Fill a small pot with cold water, add potato.  Bring to a boil and cook 7-8 minutes.

In a skillet add either a little broth or cooking spray/oil and heat over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and onion and pinch of salt, cook about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, nutritional yeast and if using tofu, crumble into the skillet. Stir and cook and when potato is done drain from water and add to mushroom tofu mixture along with kale. Stir and cook just a few minutes until kale is just wilted.

Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and serve in tortillas with desired toppings. My faves are avocado and salsa or hot sauce.

 

 

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Chocoholic Chip Cookies

I would have to say that the cookie is my favorite form of dessert.  It’s handheld, you get all the flavors in one bite, and bonus, they’re easy to make.  These cookies really bring the chocolate.  If you’re a fan of crispy-edged corner brownies, then you’ll like these.  They’re very brownie-like but slightly crisp all around the outside so you get that in every bite!

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Ingredients

Dry

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Wet

1/4 cup almond milk

1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1 stick Earth Balance vegan butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips

Method

Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, set aside.

Add the almond milk and vinegar to a small bowl, set aside for a few minutes.

In a separate bowl, add vegan butter and both sugars.  Stir to mix well.  Add vanilla and almond milk/vinegar mixture. Stir until everything is thoroughly combined.

Working in 2 or 3 batches, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once everything is incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips.

Place the bowl of batter into the fridge for an hour.  Batter can also be refrigerated overnight – just removed it from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop tablespoons of batter and drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  (tip: keep a glass of water to dip spoon into in between every couple scoops and this will help prevent batter from sticking to your spoon).

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Sundried Tomato Cream Pasta

Another delicious “I can’t believe it’s vegan” cream sauce.  I’m officially obsessed with cashews now that I’ve discovered just how rich and creamy they can make sauces, soups or anything.  With this the fresh basil really adds a lot of flavor that complements the sundried tomato very nicely.  Another great addition to stir in at the end, kalamata olives or pine nuts.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

1/3 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup sundried tomatoes from a jar (drained of oil)

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)

1/2 – 3/4 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups cooked pasta, cooking water reserved

Fresh basil (optional but really amazing in this)

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt over medium heat until onion is translucent; about 3-5 minutes.  Add to food processor or blender with cashews, sundried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.  Puree adding more broth as needed.

Heat skillet over low-medium heat and add enough reserved pasta water to just cover the bottom.  Add in sauce and pasta, stir and cook 1-2 minutes or until heated through.  Add a tablespoon of pasta water at time to thin out if needed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat, stir in basil, drizzle with a little oil from sundried tomatoes or just plain olive oil if desired and serve.

Breaded White Bean Cutlets

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Let’s face it, just about anything breaded and fried is pretty tasty.  So this is my meat-free version of a the traditional chicken cutlet.  I do a quick pan-sear to get that golden crust and then I finish in the oven which helps get the chewy texture inside.  If you just fry them, that’s fine but the texture inside will be softer but still delicious.  You can also opt to skip the frying and just bake them for a healthier option (instructions below).  I do this sometimes and while it’s not quite the same, it’s still very enjoyable.  Another favorite way to enjoy this recipe is to make them smaller into nuggets.  A great snack and perfect for dipping!

 

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Makes 6 cutlets

Ingredients

1 can canellinni beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

2 tsp olive oil

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 cup vital wheat gluten

1/3 cup vegetable broth or water

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or another nondairy milk

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (I also add in salt, pepper and nutritional yeast)

Canola oil or other high-heat vegetable oil

Method

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

First, get yourself set up. For breading station, whisk almond milk and cornstarch together and add to a shallow dish.  I used an 8×8 baking dish.  Add your breadcrumbs to another shallow dish or a dinner plate will work.  Next get a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray, set aside.

Add all ingredients through soy sauce to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until most of the beans are mashed.  If there are a few pieces of beans that’s ok.  Add vital wheat gluten and broth and stir.  Once it comes together, knead by hand for 1-2 minutes.  You will see the gluten strands start to form; this gives them a good texture.  Form into 6 cutlet shapes.

Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat with a good coating of oil.  While it’s heating I like to do the breading of the cutlets.  Dip each into the milk mixture and then the breading, shaking off excess.  Set aside on a plate.

Test the oil by adding a drop of water and if it sizzles it’s hot enough, if not turn heat up a bit.  Add 2-4 cutlets, depending on size of your skillet.  Cook until lightly browned on each side, about 2 minutes.  As they are done transfer to the baking sheet and once they are all done, bake in oven for 10-12 minutes.

Optional Baking Instructions: If you want to make them a little healthier, you can skip the pan fry and just bake them.  You won’t get the same crisp, golden crust but they’re still good.  When I go with this option I reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake about 20 minutes or until crispy, and I flip halfway through.  I also spray them with olive oil.

White Bean Barley Soup with Kale

Spring may be just around the corner but soup season isn’t over just yet.  I’ve made this simple, hearty soup with few ingredients that make for a very satisfying, healthy meal.  I especially love the barley in this because of the great texture it adds, not too mention it’s a whole grain with abundant health benefits.  Lower cholesterol, anyone?  It’s packed with fiber and phytonutrients like all our other little plant friends so yea, it’s good for us.  Let’s not forget kale, the super green I’ve added here.  I go with the lactino kale (also called dinasour kale for its bumpy texture) and cut it up in small pieces because who wants to eat a giant leaf in their soup.  No thanks.  Throw it in at the end, just long enough to let it wilt.  You don’t want to cook away all it’s precious disease-fighting nutrients.

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Serves 6

Ingredients

Olive oil or broth for sauteeing

1/2 small onion, diced

1/2 cup diced carrots

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1-32oz. container low-sodium vegetable broth

1/2 cup pearled barley (of gluten-free grain)

1-15oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (optional)

2 cups chopped kale

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in broth and barley, increase to heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer about 20 minutes or until barley is tender.

Two choices for the next step:

Option 1: Stir in beans, rosemary and kale and cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Option 2 (for thicker consistency): Transfer half soup to a blender with half the beans.  Puree and then pour back into the pot.  Stir in rosemary and kale, cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Ribollita – Tuscan Vegetable and Bread Soup

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Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped

2 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

32 ounces vegetable broth

1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes

2 cups chopped kale

1 (15-ounce) can canellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

2 cups cubed sourdough bread (preferably day old)

Method

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes with juice and mash slightly with potato masher or back of a spoon.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Stir in kale, beans, basil, and bread, cook additional 10 minutes and remove from heat.  Recommended to let it sit for a few hours before serving as this allow the soup to become even more flavorful.

Tip: If you’re planning on freezing, leave the bread out and just add it in when you plan to serve.  You can also leave the bread out all together and it’s still a delicious soup!