Roasted Potatoes and Spinach Curry

Roasted Potato and Spinach Curry

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, vegan food deserves to be celebrated and appreciated. I learned to cook, and to love food when I first began eating a plant-based diet. Vegan food taught me different flavors that I hadn’t yet tasted. Pretty soon there-after, I fell in love with curry. Curry can be very complicated, or very easy to make. If you are using store-bought curry paste (like I did here), you will have a quick and satisfying dinner. If you have the time, experiment and try making your own curry paste. For this dish, I used a canned Thai green curry paste made from green chilies, with lemongrass, coriander, ginger and garlic.

Roasted Potato and Spinach Curry

Roasted Potatoes and Spinach Curry
An easy, very very spicy, but comforting dish

3 pounds red potatoes
salt
pepper
extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 – 15 ounce can lite coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
I – 4 ounce can green curry paste (I used Maesri brand)

Wash the potatoes, and parboil them for 12 minutes. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, cut them in fourths or sixths. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and edges are a bit crispy.

In a large saucepan on medium heat, sauté the shallots in the olive oil until caramelized nicely. Add the spinach, and cook for about a minute before adding the coconut milk, veg broth and curry paste. Stir until well combined and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Add the roasted potatoes and turn off heat.

Serve as is, the potatoes make the dish very hearty. If you wish, serve over rice or with naan.

A whole lot of love goes into the food I make; from the most elaborate dish, to the quick-in-a-hurry-meals (the latter in which I now make more often). Always, always thank the person who makes you a meal, or serves you your take-out – especially if that person’s name is “Mom!” A nice thank you really goes a long way. And a sincere thanks never gets old.

Roasted Potatoes and Spinach Curry

veganmofo2013

Butternut Squash Soup – VeganMOFO

butternut squash soup

Butternut squash soup (bisque, or what-have-you) is like, the new chili. There are a million different recipes out there, or so it seems. Here’s mine; it’s fast, simple, creamy, comforting and delicious. A perfect opening dish for an autumn dinner; it’s also hearty enough to serve on it’s own.

butternut squash soup - vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, low-fat, dairy-free

Naturally vegan, gluten and soy-free, but suitable for every dietary choice. Much thanks to my mama, and her bountiful garden, for these beautiful squashes! This recipe is low-fat, and much (much) healthier than my last recipe post using this wondrous vegetable.

Butternut Squash Soup - vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, low-fat

Butternut Squash Soup
makes many, many servings

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil
3 cups peeled, seeded and diced butternut squash
2 cups peeled and diced red potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
sprinkle of paprika
dash of black pepper

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat for a few seconds before tossing in the chopped onion. Caramelize the onion on medium-low heat until it is a lovely caramel-brown color. Add the chopped and diced veggies (in no particular order): butternut squash, potatoes, carrots. Give it a good stir. Add the salt, thyme, sage, garlic, paprika and black pepper and stir again. Pour in the vegetable broth, stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low-boil, cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every once-in-a-while. Remove from heat, and let sit for 15 minutes before pureeing in a food processor. Serve warm!

Butternut Squash Soup - vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, low-fat

veganmofo2013

Mini Falafel Tacos with Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce

Mini Falafel Tacos with Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce

Tacos are basically the perfect, fastest and simplest thing to make for a gluten-free, soy-free and vegan meal. Why not falafel tacos? They are absolutely delicious, and a perfect marriage of two different cuisines.

Mini Falafel Tacos with Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce

Usually when I make falafel, I bake it to keep it lower in fat, but for these tacos, the falafel is pan-fried in a little sunflower oil. The bottoms and edges of the falafel become nice and crisp. I whipped up a spicy, tangy sauce for these tacos, which really ties it all together. The sauce is zesty from the fresh lime juice, spicy from the Sriracha, and the tahini really gives it that classic falafel sandwich flavor.

Mini Falafel Tacos with Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce

Mini Falafel Tacos with Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce

1 recipe of my falafel or my ancient red pepper falafel

1 package mini corn tortillas, or 2 packages regular size corn tortillas
Recipe will make a lot of falafel (about 36 balls); you’ll have a lot of leftovers, or a large taco party!

Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce
3 tablespoons sesame tahini
3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
3 tablespoons salsa verde
juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk, or water

To garnish:
3 fresh Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3-4 leaves green leaf lettuce, chopped

3-4 tablespoons high-heat organic sunflower oil, for frying

For the falafel: Follow my instructions for falafel up until the cooking stage. Roll falafel mixture into tablespoon-size balls and slightly flatten using your palms. Heat a cast-iron skilled to medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil, enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and up about a half an inch or so. Place falafel balls into the hot oil and cook about 2 minutes before flipping to cook the other side, another 2 minutes (until nicely browned). Repeat until all falafel are cooked. Place cooked falafel on a paper towel, or clean cloth-lined lined plate.

For the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, sriracha, salsa verde, and lime juice until well mixed. Then add the coconut milk, or water, to make a smooth consistency. Pour sauce into a glass mason jar with a lid and keep it in the fridge until ready to use.

To assemble tacos: warm corn tortillas in the oven, toaster oven or microwave. Top each tortilla with 3-4 falafels. Drizzle with Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped tomato and crunchy green leaf lettuce and more Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce.

Mini Falafel Tacos with Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce

Falafel is taking over my blog! It’s something that we all love to eat around my house. Is there something you make regularly that you just don’t seem to get sick of? For me, it’s falafel, tacos, and anything pumpkin. Nom……

Mini Falafel Tacos with Sriracha Tahini Lime Sauce

Italian-style Bean and Tomato Chili over Corn Penne

Vegan Italian-style Bean and Tomato Chili over Gluten-Free Corn Penne

Need a simple, hearty and comforting weekday meal? I’ve got a good one for you, try my recipe for bean and tomato chili, and serve it over corn pasta. It is so good, and in my neck-of-the-woods, the weather still permits a warm, filling dinner. The red wine vinegar and cilantro add a wonderful zest to this dish. It would also taste great over brown rice or along side a slice of cornbread.

Vegan Italian-style Bean and Tomato Chili over Gluten-Free Corn Penne

This chili is cooked in the crock-pot, so you can start it in the morning and forget about it until dinner time. You may even have most of the ingredients in your cupboard, saving you a trip to the market. Some of my favorite meals are the ones where you don’t have to do a lot of work, but you can enjoy the aroma of the food cooking all day while you go around doing other things instead of cooking. This dish is low-fat, high-protein, hearty and really very delicious (as well as vegan, soy-free and gluten-free – of course).

Italian Bean and Tomato Chili over Corn Penne
(use organic ingredients if you can)

1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes in tomato puree
4 ounces of tomato paste
1 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 roasted red pepper, chopped (I used canned red peppers)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons mild chili powder
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Sriracha chili sauce to taste (optional)

corn-penne-pasta1 – 16 ounce bag of gluten-free corn pasta, cooked according to package directions in salted water (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

In a slow-cooker, or electric crock-pot, pour in the beans after they have been drained and rinsed. Then add the tomato paste, water and red-wine vinegar. Stir and turn the crock-pot on to the high setting. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir. Cook on high for one hour,  lower temperature to low for another hour or more.

I cook this chili for several hours, about 5, to let all the flavors blend together nicely. When it’s almost dinner time, turn the crock-pot setting to warm and prepare your pasta. I added a touch of olive oil to our penne before covering it with the chili. And that’s that. Another great thing about this dish is that it’s huge! You could feed a small army, or have lunch and dinner again the next day or two.

Italia-style bean and tomato chili

Baked Falafel

VEGANBAKEDFALAFEL

This is a baked version of the classic deep-fried Middle Eastern mezze. The recipe is easy, and if you wanted, you could make these into bigger patties for “burgers” instead of rolling them into balls. My falafel is vegan, soy-free and gluten-free, and is also lower in fat than fried falafel. If you’re not sensitive to wheat, you could substitute the chickpea flour for all-purpose flour.

veganfalafel

Baked Falafel
Makes 36 falafel balls
recipe adapted from design sponge.

2 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup chickpea flour (or gluten-free flour such as Bob’s Red Mill)
2 teaspoons garam masala (a combination of cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, anise, turmeric, coriander)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drain soaked chickpeas and rinse under cool water. In a blender or food processor, add the chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro and parsley: pulse until mixture is grainy. In a seperate bowl, combine the chickpea flour, garam masala, paprika, pepper, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the chickpea mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well-combined. Mix in the olive oil. Gradually add the water, and mix until thick and paste-like (you may not need all the water – the mixture should hold together nicely when rolled into balls, but it shouldn’t be too dry either). Roll into balls about 2 tablespoons in size and place on baking sheet. Drizzle tops of falafel with a little olive oil (optional). Bake for 20 minutes, remove trays from oven and using a flat, metal spatula, carefully flip over falafel balls and drizzle with more olive oil if you’d like. Bake another 10-15 minutes until the falafel is golden brown.

Cucumber Tomato Salsa
6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

baked falafel

Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern street food, and is usually served in a warm pita-type bread with tahini sauce. Because we are now completely gluten-free, I served them as is with cucumber tomato salsa and chipotle hummus. This recipe makes a lot, so you will have plenty to share, or plenty of leftovers! The next day for lunch, we ate the leftovers on corn tortillas, which was delicious! If you make the falafels into larger patties, you could serve them on hamburger-style buns with sliced veggies and hummus. Be creative! Eat falafel!

Calzones!

I’ve been making calzones from scratch since first becoming vegan close to 9 years ago. A calzone is basically a sandwich-size pizza pocket. Traditionally, a yeasted bread dough is filled with leftover vegetables, cheese and tomato sauce, and it is baked to perfection. Calzones are really easy to make, and are great to make ahead and take on the go for lunch. For a vegan calzone, the filling possibilities are seemingly endless: vegan cheese, vegan pepperoni and pizza sauce is an obvious, but how about curried vegetables and rice; or tofu, brocoli and potato; or peppers, onions and tomatoes?  You can be as creative as you want to be with calzones. They are really a fabulous comfort food.

I filled with a balsamic-braised beef-style seitan, green peas, bruschetta sauce and vegan mozzarella. It’s a very delicious combination, comforting and warm. It’s a great movie night dinner, when you just feel like staying in. Or make these ahead, and pop in the toaster oven for a few minutes to reheat for lunch.

Calzone Dough
makes 8 calzones

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
1 – 1/4 ounce packet quick-rise yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted (I use Earth Balance)
3 cups unbleached bread flour
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (a mix of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

In a glass bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water completely. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water, stir gently. Let sit for up to 5 minutes to proof the yeast, if it does not bubble up, it’s inactive and you’ll need to start over. In a separate bowl, or the bowl to your stand mixer, sift together the bread flour, dried herbs and salt. Add the water, yeast and melted vegan butter to flour mixture and knead to form a dough. If you use a stand mixer, with your dough attachment, knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, until it’s soft and no-longer sticky. If you don’t have a stand mixer, knead your dough on a floured surface with your hands for 10 minutes, or as long as you can go! Form the dough into a ball. In the same mixing bowl, pour a little olive oil to coat the bowl, put the ball of dough back inside the oil-coated bowl, and cover with a clean, dry towel. Let rise for one hour. After one hour, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Punch down the dough (which should have greatly expanded in size) and with a little bit more flour, knead for about 3 minutes. Cut and form the dough into 8 balls. With a rolling-pin, on a floured surface, take a dough ball and roll it out till it’s about 1/2 inch thick and about 5 inches in diameter. Place filling on half of the dough circle, and fold over the other end on top of the filling. Fold over the edges to seal the pocket. Poke the top of the calzone a few times with a fork. Drizzle tops with olive oil if desired. Repeat with all of the dough balls until you have 8 calzones. Place calzones side-by-side on a baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until tops are golden.

For the filling:
2 cups beef-style seitan (I used Gardein Beefless-Tips)
up to 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup bruschetta sauce (or pizza sauce)
1/2 cup cooked sweet peas
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and black pepper to taste

In a cast-iron (or non-stick) skillet on high heat, sear the seitan in a teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil for 5 minutes, or until all sides are browned. Reduce heat and pour in the balsamic vinegar, stir to coat, cover pan and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  In a separate bowl, mix the garlic, salt and pepper in with the peas. Assemble the calzones by spreading a thin layer of sauce, topping with seitan, peas and then cheese. Proceed with making and baking the calzones as stated above.

Enjoy!

Broccoli and Potato Soup

Since Vegan MoFo began, I’ve been mostly thinking of pastry recipes, because that is my forte. But these last few days, I’ve been really craving a healthy and comforting post for this cold and damp weather that is now here. Of course I thought of soup, and to me, one of the most comforting soups is a creamy, potato and broccoli soup. To make a really good, creamy, vegan broccoli and potato soup, you don’t need any “cream” at all. Just broccoli, potatoes and a few other things – the broccoli and potatoes do a great job in the creamy department.

One of the greatest things about this soup is that it is 100% fat-free. Just because this soup is low-fat, does not mean it’s low in flavor! I use dried herbs for this recipe, and because this soup is cooked low and slow, the dried herbs are rehydrated and give the soup a great flavor. I used a potato masher to mash the broccoli and potatoes into smaller chunks – leaving the soup hearty and chunky. But, if you wish, you can blend it into puree for an absolutely creamy soup. I really like the texture of the potato and broccoli soup this way though. Plus, I like that I basically only have one dish to clean up afterwards.

Broccoli and Potato Soup

Ingredients:
2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable broth
4 pounds (about 8 medium size) Yukon gold potatoes, skinned
2 large bunches of broccoli (approximately 3 1/2 pounds), chopped (stems included)
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Directions: In a large stock pot, boil the skinned potatoes in salted water until soft (about 35-40 minutes). Carefully drain the water from the potatoes. In the same stock pot, mash the potatoes with a masher into medium to small-size chunks. Add the vegetable broth, chopped broccoli, chopped onion, dried herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low boil, cover and cook for 45 minutes. Then, turn off heat, remove cover and mash the soup once again with the potato masher to blend it together a bit. You can puree it at this point if you’d like to.

Serve this stew with crusty bread, croutons or focaccia. It is delicious topped with a sprinkle of vegan cheese, and/or crumbled tempeh bacon. This dish is perfect for a rainy fall day, and is a great pick-me-up if you’re feeling under-the-weather. It really warms me right up!