Thursday, October 30, 2014

Detox Vegan Root Vegetable Qunioa-Kale Salad with Citrus-Tahini Dressing

Fall is truly here.  Temps have dropped, leaves have changed colors and dried leaves are filling the sidewalk.  There is still a small, fun loving child inside of me that really wants to jump into someones nicely raked leaf pile.  Instead, I just like to kick the leaves at Ryan.  Wait a minute, no one actually rakes leaves anymore!  We have machines for that, duh.
So before we start the holiday seasons and overindulge, why not try and eat clean?  This salad is a one stop shop (whatever that means)!  I swear, this is a vegan and non-vegan paradise salad!  Everyone knows the hype around quinoa and kale, along with the nutritional value they hold.  But, lets get rustic with these two ingredients and add some delicious and seasonal parsnips, turnips and carrots (add beets if you have them!).  I will always choose parsnips and turnips over potatoes.  Love the flavor and love the fact that there are less carbs in them as well.

I kind of randomly came up with this dressing, and I am so glad I did!  I want this dressing everyday of my life....seriously!  For now on, I will always have a pre-made jar of this waiting for consumption.

The citrus and tahini go perfectly together.  Subtle, somewhat sweet and nutty and creamy as ever!

Detox Vegan Root Vegetable Qunioa-Kale Salad with Citrus-Tahini Dressing
1 c quinoa
2 c vegetable broth or water
1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 turnip, peeled and chopped
1 tightly packed cup of chopped kale
1 small red onion, chopped
2 tbsp evoo
1/2 c tahini
2 medium oranges, juiced
2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven 400.    In a bowl, toss carrots, parsnips and turnips in evoo, lightly season with salt and pepper, place in a baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes.
In the meantime, bring your broth or water to a boil, add your quinoa and cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
While quinoa and root vegetables cook, make your dressing.  In a bowl, whisk together tahini, orange juice, agave nectar and lemon juice together until completely smooth.
Once everything is done cooking, toss all components in a large bowl.  Serve warm, room temp or cold!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vegan Minted Pea and Arugula Wonton Raviolis

75 degrees in Chicago in late October!  It's an Indian Summer around here!  But, unfortunately, this lovely weather is coming to an end and true Chicago weather is heading this way (said we a sad face).  I think it is going to get down into the 30's, which means it's time to get all those herbs to use that I have been nurturing for months.  So lets get some of this mint to use!

I have done a pea ravioli before, but this one is much different.  The addition of fresh mint and arugula brings in a spectrum of flavors.  It is peppery, slightly sweet, nutty and savory. 

Yes, I have been on an arugula craze lately.  Sometimes I forget about this leafy green.  But once I buy it, I cannot get enough and wonder why it escapes my grocery list.

 If you are familiar with my blog and recipes, you know that I love to make raviolis with wontons.  It is so much easier and saves so much time.  I also find them easy to handle and pretty light in the belly.  But, it is good to know that they are delicate and do not take more than a few minutes to cook.  If you boil them any longer, you run the risk of them exploding.  And, well that is just sad.

These are also great to make in large quantities and freeze the remaining ones. 

As for the sauce, that is I went for a lemon-vegan butter sauce.  Nice and light!

Vegan Minted Pea and Arugula Wonton Raviolis

1 package of wontons (either square or circle)
1 bag frozen peas, thawed
2 c baby arugula
1 c fresh mint
1/4 c original almond milk
1 tbsp evoo 
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1-2 tsp garlic powder
s+p to taste
egg replacer powder mixed with water


In a blender, blend the peas, arugula, mint, almond milk, evoo and seasons until completely combined.   Adjust seasoning accordingly. 
Set up your egg replacer with water in a bowl and lay out all of your wontons.  With your fingers, wet all the edges of all the wontons.  Take about 3/4-1 tbsp of the mixture and place in center of a wonton.  Place another wonton, with the wet side down and press the edges together until fully sealed.  Repeat until finished.  
Boil water, and cook the raviolis for about 2-3 minutes.  Serve with choice of sauce.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vegan Herbed Tomato Focaccia Bread

Making bread doesn't always have to be a fuss.  And also does not need to take hours!  This is a hassel-free and fairly easy vegan focaccia bread that pairs great with any Italian dish!

You can really add any topping.  I did a mix of dried Italian herbs and sliced tomatoes.  You could also try olives, sundried tomatoes, etc.

Don't worry if the dough doesn't seem firm enough.  It is supposed to be pretty wet and loose to handle.  Add in extra flour to firm it up just a bit, but you still want that loose elasticity.

Vegan Herbed Tomato Focaccia Bread

2 c flour
1 c water
3 tbsp evoo, divided
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven 425.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and sea salt.  Stir in water and half the evoo and mix.  On a floured surface, knead dough for a few minutes.  Tranfer dough to an oiled pan, and form dough into a rectangle, about 1 inch think.  With your fingertips, poke in indentations throughout the bread.  Brush the remaining evoo on the top and place sliced tomatoes and herbs on top.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, then cut.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Linguine with Vegan Arugula-Pecan Pesto!

If you haven't tried this, it is a must!  It is so freaking easy and quick to make this pesto.  You can literally make it in less than 5 minutes.  Cook the linguine at the same time, and you have a fantastic entree in record time!

I love arugula.  I know that it may not be for everyone because it is distinctly bitter and peppery, making it slightly spicy.  But that is exactly why I love it. 

I love the addition of pecans in this.  If you do not have pecans, try using walnuts instead.  I tend to veer away from the traditional use of pine nuts when making any pesto.  For some reason, pine nuts tastes fishy to me and I cannot stand them.

I like to add in either fresh or oven roasted tomatoes in this dish.  I feel like the acidity of the tomatoes really brightens up the dish.

Linguine with Vegan Arugula-Pecan Pesto

Ingredients: (the pesto makes about 1-1.5 cups)
3 c baby arugula
1/2 c toasted pecans
1/4 c evoo
1/4 c fresh basil
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste 
chopped roasted or fresh tomatoes (optional)

Boil a pot of salted water and cook linguine accordingly.  In the meantime, combine the remaining ingredients (except for the tomatoes) in a blender and blend until blended.  Season to taste.  
Pour pesto sauce of your linguine, add tomatoes.  That's it!!  Bon Appetite!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Healthy Vegan Puree of Asparagus Soup

There really needs to be more fun and tasty asparagus recipes out there.  I feel like this vegetable is pretty underrated.  I love asapargus, raw or cooked.  I can understand why some may not prefer it raw, for it has a slight bitterness to it when not cooked.  But, that immediately goes away after it is steamed.
So, why is asparagus greatly underrated?  First of all, they are low in calories.  Just about 3 calories in each stalk.  It is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and is great for heart health and blood sugar regulation.  Not to mention, helps with digestive support and has a noteworthy amount of protein and fiber.

This recipe is awesome because it if so clean and light.  After a big bowl of it, you will still feel light and airy and guilt-free.  The addition of fresh herbs and spinach makes the soup a brilliant and vibrant green color.  And, the best part of the recipe is that all levels of cooks can easily make this.

Healthy Vegan Puree of Asparagus Soup 

2 lb bunch asparagus, dry ends trimmed
3 c vegetable broth
1 c original, unsweetened almond milk
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 handful parsley, chopped
1 c fresh spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 tbsp evoo
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp nutmeg
s+p to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Place asparagus in the top half of the steamer, cover and steam for about 5-10 minutes.  Time is dependent on the thickness of the asparagus.  You want them to be bright green and tender.  Remove for the pot and set aside.

In a saute pan, heat evoo on med-high heat, and saute garlic and onion for 3-5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.  Add in spinach and cook until wilted.  Transfer the onion and garlic mixture to your blender, add in the steamed asparagus, parsley and vegetable broth and puree until smooth.

In large pot, make a roux by heating butter and slowly stirring in flour.  Continue to stir for about 3 minutes or until browned.  Now slowly stir in almond milk.  Add in the contents that you blended and season with nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vegan Dijon-Coconut Brussel Sprout and Mushroom Gratin

 I love all things brussel sprouts.  And 'tis the season for them!  What I love even more is picking them at a farm.  I love how they grow on the stalks.  It just looks so cool and weird! 

Sadly enough the last time we visited a U Pick farm, which was last week, everything was already picked over.  It was a bummer.  Just sad little lonely brussel sprout stalks sitting naked in the field.  I think we only ended up picking a few peppers.  Not really worth the 45 minute drive.  But, deuce did have some fun having some good face to face time with a billy goat and some chickens.  That was well worth the trip!

I honestly can't say I have had a bad brussel sprout dish.  Unlike my last sprout recipe, Chinese Style Brussell sprouts with Exotic Mushrooms, this recipe is going to be more of a comfort dish.  It savory and rich, without the excess calories and fat.  So while it seems decadent and bad for you, it is in fact not at all!

Vegan Dijon-Coconut Brussel Sprout and Mushroom Gratin
 Ingredients (fills a 9x13 casserole dish)

2 lbs brussel sprouts, cleaned and cut into fourths
6-8 button mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 c canned light coconut milk
1 1/2 c unsweetened, original almond milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp evoo, divided
1/2 c seasoned panko crumbs

Preheat oven to 400.  In a pot, boil water and cook quartered brussel sprouts for 4-5 minutes.  Strain and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp evoo and saute garlic and onions for about 3 minutes.  Add in mushroom and saute until mushrooms are soft, just a few additional minutes.  Stir in chopped tomatoes, turn off heat and set aside.

In another sauce pan, make your roux by heating vegan butter.  When the butter is hot, whisk in the flour.  Continue to sir until browned a bit.   Now gradually whisk in the coconut milk and almond milk, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly.  Once brought to a boil, lower heat and simmer until thickens.  You want to stir frequently.  Add in nutritional yeast and dijon until everything is combined. 

Add your brussel sprout mixture to the sauce, mix thoroughly, then transfer to a 9x13 baking dish.
In a small bowl, toss together bread crumbs and 1 tbsp evoo, sprinkly over the top and bake for about 15-20 minutes.  Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vegan Baked Quinoa and Green Pea "Falafel" with Tahini Goddess Dressing

I have a dry eraser board attached to my refrigerator so I can list recipes to make for the week, or at least for the near future.  This is great for meal planning and grocery shopping planning.  I found this to be a great way for me to budget my shopping and to reduce waste.

I used to go to the grocery store and just grab what is in season and that looks good.  When I did that, I found that I had too much spoiled produce by the end of the week.  This is particularly true when buying too much leafy greens or herbs and not using them quickly enough.  Now I just buy ingredients that I know I need this week.  Saves a few bucks and minimizes food for me!

So, with all that said, this recipe idea has been on my board for far too long, and I have no idea what I was waiting for!  It is fairly simple and offers a great amount of protein due to the peas and quinoa.  I also like this because there are not many pea recipes out there aside from the obvious.  When thinking about this recipe, think about creating a falafel with nontraditional ingredients.

The sauce is your choice, but you cannot go wrong with the tahini goddess dressing!

Vegan Baked Quinoa and Green Pea "Falafel" with Tahini Goddess Dressing

for the Quinoa-Green Pea Falafel:
1 c quinoa
2 c vegetable broth
1 1/2 thawed peas
2 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp chickpea flour

Preheat oven to 400.
In a small sauce pan, bring the quinoa and broth to a boil, cover and then turn to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Quinoa should still have a very slight crunch to it when done.
In a food processor, combine 1/2 of the cooked quinoa and the remaining ingredients.  Blend for about 30 seconds.  Transfer contents to a bowl and mix in the remainder of the quinoa.  If your mixture seems too wet to form balls at this point, add in another tbsp or two of chickpea flour.  Note, it should still feel a bit wet, but firm enough to form a ball.
Take one heaping spoonful of the mixture and roll into ball.  Continue this until mixture is gone.  I believe I made about 9-10 balls.
Bake in over for 20 minutes, turning balls halfway through.  Remove from oven and serve immediately with your Tahini Goddess Dressing.

for the Tahini Goddess Dressing:
 1/2 c tahini
1/4 c water
3 chopped scallion
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh mint
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.