Pumpkin Rundown- A Creamy, Spicy Fall Favorite
My gorgeous Pumpkin Rundown is a lush, warmly spiced stew that you can make in minutes, delivering some Jamaican flavors to take the chill off on a chilly day.
Roasted Tomato Sauce, Make Pasta, Freeze the Rest
I didn’t have a huge harvest this week, but that’s the great thing about this method. 10 tomatoes, 60 tomatoes, it works either way. Just halve them, roast them, puree them. Use them today, in this easy pasta, or freeze the sauce for later. My small pile of tomatoes made about 3 cups of puree, and I used 1 cup for this pasta. The rest went into the freezer, for winter pasta feasts, soups, and other uses.
Have You Tried Long Beans?
If you haven’t tried Long Beans yet, I hope you’ll find your local Asian Market or Farmer’s Market and seek them out. They look like your usual green beans, but when you serve a platter of Long Beans and Mock Duck in Black Bean Sauce, everyone will want to know how you made green beans taste so much better than usual.Long beans are similar to green beans in appearance and use, but are actually from the cowpea family. They are picked while immature, so that the pods are tender and the seeds are small and mild. The flavor of long beans is often compared to asparagus, if you can imagine a green bean-asparagus hybrid. I’m not sure that I get that flavor, but I do find the taste of long beans much more complex and interesting than regular green beans. They stand up to strong flavors, like this black bean and garlic sauce.
Inari and Onigiri with Fresh Shiso Leaf
You can easily enjoy the flavors of your favorite sushi without learning how to make rolls. Onigiri and Inari are the perfect answer to a sushi craving, with no special tools or much investment of your time. I made this with the Shiso leaves I grew in my garden, but you can enjoy this without, it too. Inari and Onigiri are entry-level Japanese rice shapes that anyone can make.
Creamy Cauliflower Curry-Fast and Easy
I love a meal that I can just throw together and simmer for a bit, and thanks to flavorful ingredients, it tastes like you have labored for hours. In this Creamy Cauliflower Curry with Beans, Coconut milk and canned beans are the time-savers. In stead of soaking and cooking beans, I devoted a little time to chopping cauliflower and carrots. I even had time to mince fresh turmeric and ginger, for an authentic flavor that really brought it to another level.
Red Beans and Collards over Sesame Brown Rice
Red Beans and Rice and Collard Greens are the iconic combo of New Orleans. Louisiana’s cooks have made an inexpensive, home-style meal into a famous dish, right up there with Cuban Black Beans and Rice, Refried Beans and Yellow Rice, and other great bean and rice dishes of the World. Beans have always been an inexpensive way to get nutrition on the table, and with creative seasoning, legumes transform into comfort food of the highest order. Now, you can make a plant-based version in minutes.
An Italian Feast of Broccolini with Pesto
Basil is the soundtrack of summer, the fragrant, slightly spicy herb that grows fast and makes everything taste better-including this Broccolini in Pesto. From pastas to panini, fresh basil is a sure hit. I know it must be, as my most watched video and post is about the Best Way To Freeze Basil, with over 5k views! I love to use my abundant basil to make a simple pesto and toss it with roasted vegetables, for a veggie-rich side. Why save pesto for pasta-when you can use it to make a gorgeous pile of broccolini even more savory and sexy?
Baby Zucchini with Rosemary and Balsamic
It’s summertime, and the zucchini plants are in full production mode. I lucked out and found these tiny, baby zucchini at the farmer’s market, and felt they deserved to be honored in a special dish. Cooking with zucchini presents its own challenges, and this method is the best for mastering the zucchini harvest. This is a perfect way to use your summer squashes, of any size, and a fast side dish that everyone will love.
An Asparagus Tart with Creamy Cashew Topping
Every Spring, you’ll see asparagus tarts on magazine covers and in the food section of your paper. It’s a classic because asparagus is one of the first vegetables to harvest in the Spring, and because it looks so good in a photo. The curb appeal of a golden, crispy crust filled with gracefully tapering spears is truly off the hook. Most of those tarts will feature a hefty amount of dairy, whether in the form of cheese or creme fraiche. That’s why I wanted to make a purely plant-based asparagus tart for all of you.
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top-Pistachio Pesto
Simple is good. Especially when it comes to the freshest vegetables, straight out of the ground. That’s why I snatched up these gorgeous baby carrots at the Farmers Market. Full of sweet carrot flavor, these little gems need no cheffy tricks or ingredients. No, with fresh, fluffy greens, they came with their own sauce.
It’s Rhubarb Bar Time!
These crunchy, luscious bars are packed with oats and nuts and rhubarb, making them a very respectable snack or light meal. I like to wrap a few in waxed paper to take along when I’m working or on the go.
Roasted Broccolini with Shallots: a Perfect Side
Broccolini, it’s broccoli, but better.There, I said it. Better. Broccoli is wonderful, but when you cross it with Gai Lan, it is even better. I hope broccoli won’t take it personally, but for the moment, I’m smitten with broccoli’s child. Roasted, of course.
Easy Curried Chickpeas and Vegetables
We’ve all been there, standing in the kitchen after a long day, thinking about ordering pizza. This dish can be whipped up in less time than it takes to have pizza delivered, and will deliver the vegetables and plant-based protein you need. I used romanesco and green beans, but you can use what you have on hand- this would be equally good with cabbage and carrots. Keep canned tomatoes and chickpeas on hand, and you are ready to make a meal.
The Best Vegan French Toast
Like many people, I grew up eating French toast. I think it was one of the first things my mom taught me to make. She liked to sleep in on the weekend, so teaching me a few breakfast dishes was a good way to keep me out of her hair on a Saturday. We had no inkling of how I’d eventually grow up to make eggless French toast, or how truly delicious it would be.
Long Life Lunar New Years Noodles with Tofu
Let’s celebrate the Year of the Tiger! It’s Lunar New Year, celebrated in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia, as well as everywhere people who trace their origins to those places have landed. After two years of pandemic, worries, I think it’s fair to try a few lucky foods from Asian traditions. We can use all the Lunar New Year luck we can get!
Curry that Butternut Squash
The squash is perfect for “currying,” because it is already sweet and nutty. That natural sweetness is a perfect foil for balancing all the spices and a dash of lemon, for a dish that’s a riot of flavor. This is a perfect side for a big pot of Chole (spiced chickpeas) yellow rice or naan, or whatever your fave homemade Indian dish might be. Last week’s Tofu Saag comes to mind. It’s sweet and has just a bit of jalapeno heat, so it’s a good balance for a more chili-hot main course.
My Favorite Tofu Saag “Paneer”
If you’ve ever had paneer, you may have noticed that the texture of it is pretty similar to tofu. It’s a fresh, non-melting cheese, made by adding and acid to milk so it will curdle, then draining the whey and pressing the cheese into a dense block. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s almost the same process used to make tofu.
Cauliflower Gratin, a French Classic
In this gratin, we channel the wisdom of French chefs since time immemorial and whisk up a rich sauce, then blanket our cauliflower with it and run it under the broiler to give it a toasty browned top.
Spooky Squash Claws and Treats for Halloween! So Scary!
Look for the smallest Sweet Dumpling squashes so you can cut them into curved “claw” shapes, then roast to sweet tenderness. Use the black sesame seeds often sold in the sushi section at the store, to get a natural black color.
Thai Seitan-Radish Lettuce Cups, Fast and Tasty
Lettuce Cups have it all. I used canned mock duck, but you can use other kinds of seitan, tempeh, tofu or mockmeats. If you’re looking for a lower carb meal, this is all the great Thai flavors you love, in a leaf of lettuce instead of over rice. You can avoid grains, if that is your thing, and shorten the cooking time, too. Thai Seitan Lettuce Cups are also great finger food for kids.
One-Pan Spaghetti with Chickpeas
When I’m out in the world, teaching and speaking about food, I meet people who say they are too busy to cook. Life gets crazy, things pile up, and the next thing you know, you’re eating chips out of a bag, or picking up take-out. Either of those options will fill you up, but it’s probably not going to nourish you the way you deserve to be nourished. It is also a waste of money to eat take out, when you can make a meal for just a few bucks at home.That’s where this One-Pan Spaghetti with Chickpeas comes in. Grab a big pot and start sautéing half a chopped onion, and while it softens, chop some garlic, grate some lemon zest, halve grape tomatoes, chop a carrot. Don’t bother to put on a pot of water to cook the spaghetti-it’s going to cook in the pot with the veggies!
Make a Pure Plant Smoky TLT Sandwich
We start with a mushroom, a plant famed for its umami chemicals. Umami, according to this article in Science Direct.com, is the meatiness caused by the presence of sodium salts of glutamic and aspartic amino acids and 5′-nucleotides. What that means is that mushrooms have an extra chemical punch when you eat them, that makes your brain perceive them as more “meaty” and satisfying. Then, we add another umami star, smoke.
Plant Based Smoky “Lox” and “Cream Cheese” Bagels!
The brilliance of carrot “lox” is that it uses the natural color of the carrot and a few simple ingredients to make a silky, smoky bagel topper that really does make you think of lox. The cashew cream cheese helps to support the allusion, giving you that combination of creamy, rich cheesiness under the lox-flavored carrots. It’s really a stunning combination. The capers, red onions and cucumbers also serve to reinforce the feeling that you are really eating a lox and cream cheese bagel at a deli, in the most delightful way.
Make Spicy “Tuna” Maki, Plant Based
Do You Love Sushi?
If you follow my instagram, you have probably noticed that I have been teaching sushi classes for many years. In fact, sushi is one of my great loves, and I respect the traditions. I also can’t stop myself from occasionally making a completely untraditional riff on sushi. So it’s out of love that I took a popular roll, the Spicy Tuna Roll, and made a plant based version. Instead of fish, I made watermelon tuna.
Veggie and Tofu Skewers with Peanut Hoisin Sauce
This Minnesota summer has seen a long, hot spell combined with a drought. Every day, we water and cross our fingers that it might rain a little, soon. It’s also way too hot to do any kind of baking. That’s the perfect time to use that grill to your advantage. I embrace the heat, and make grilled vegetables and tofu.
Of course, it is zucchini season, so you might well have an overload of zukes that shouldn’t go to waste. This method is a showy, fun way to put them to use. The first thing you need is a delicious sauce. I stirred up an easy, no-cook peanut-hoisin sauce in a flash. Then The veggies. I did blanch the brussels sprouts for one minute, just to help them cook through on the grill without drying out. The tofu got a sprinkle of tamari and sesame oil for a bit of flavor beneath the sauce. But the fun piece is the weaving of zucchini ribbons onto the skewers. Watch the video, for a quick demo. You’ll need a mandoline or a chop top box to slice the zucchini evenly and thinly.
Tostadas and Salsa-All On the Grill!
Mealtess Grilling is the Best! In this recipe, I grill the tomatoes, corn and hot peppers, for a bit of charred flavor in the salsa. The heat sweetens the corn, giving it a bit of caramelization as it cooks. My skewered grape tomatoes become soft and juicy, as their skins blister and blacken. Two hot chilies mellow and become friendly, and it is easy to slip the skin away, if you choose to do so.
The real fun starts when you grill fresh chips and tostada shells. Instead of buying a bag of tortillas, serving tacos once or twice, then watching them languish in the fridge, I now make them into grilled chips and shells. No need to heat a pot of oil to deep fry your tortillas, when the grill will make them into crispy chips in a couple of minutes.
Purslane and Glazed Tofu Summer Rolls, Eat Your Weeds
You’ve probably seen purslane, growing out of cracks in the sidewalk, or filling in between the rows in your garden. I know I’ve yanked out bushels of the stuff, over the years. It took me a while to figure out that the vigorous “weed” was actually very valuable. You see, as vegetarians, we should be farming this stuff, and eating more of it than spinach.
Lighten Up with Cantaloupe Kanten
I usually steer clear of talking about weight loss. There are plenty of people hyping products and pitching miracle weight loss foods. That’s not my thing at all- I believe in eating a balanced diet of real, whole foods. But yes, sometimes I get out of balance and start adding on a pound or two. That is when I steer toward foods that are filling but lower in calories. This Cantaloupe and Raspberry Kanten is a perfect snack or dessert for those moments.
Creamy Fudgesicles, a Summertime Favorite
Lately, I’ve been hearing that faraway chime that quickens my heart, although it’s been years since I bought anything from the ice cream truck. The repetitive tune is Proustian, striking a spot in my brain that connects it to lazy summer afternoons of long ago. Those endless, nowhere-to-be and nothing-important-to-do kinds of days were made extra special by the arrival of the “Jingle Skoot” truck, with icy sweet confections for a few pieces of change. Like Fudgesicles.
Moroccan Chickpea B’Stilla-Sweet, Savory and Showy
Moroccan food is a treasure trove of plant based flavors. Their traditional dishes, like tagine, are usually graced with plenty of vegetables, spices, sweet and tart balance, and fresh herbs. When I visit Moroccan restaurants, though, the vegetarian tagine is usually pretty bland, while the meat based dishes get all the attention. That is why I like to make my own versions of Moroccan food, and borrow the combinations from the meaty recipes and use them to make spectacularly tasty plant based dishes.
Like this Moroccan B’Stilla. Based on a pie usually made with poultry, this one is packed with dried fruit, spices, chickpeas, almonds, and a hit of coconut milk and lemon. Instead of the hard-to-find Brik pastry, I used easy to get filo dough, and basted it with refined coconut oil instead of butter. The result is a gorgeous, bronzed ruffle of crisp filo, encasing an intense, sweet-savory filling.