Tag Archives: Vegan

Tuscan Inspired Vegetable Soup

1 Oct

We recently took a vacation to Italy; we went to Rome, Tuscany and Florence. All of which were beautiful but I have to say that Tuscany is absolutely breath taking! The scenery, the food, the wine and the people were all wonderful.


When we left it was still summer, now it is definitely fall. And soup season has only just begun, so with that in mind after scouring several recipes I came up with my own Tuscan inspired vegetable soup. While in Tuscany we took a cooking class, it was so much fun! There were 2 other couples in the class from New Jersey, what are the odds?! The one thing that I learned in the class that was eye opening is that the chef didn’t use white onions or Spanish onions in anything, only red. He said that they only use red onions because they are sweeter and don’t have the bitterness that the others can have. Huh, who would have guessed. So in this recipe I used red onion, normally I would have used a Spanish onion for sure.

One other thing about this recipe is that I used pink beans, most Italian soups with beans call for cannellini beans but I did’t have any and certainly didn’t feel like going to the grocery store…again.

Ingredients:

3 Tbs olive oil

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 celery stalks, sliced

1 red onion, diced

1 zucchini, sliced then cut the slices into halves

3 cloves, garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dried basil

3 Tbs tomato paste

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

6 cups vegetable stock

2 cups spinach

salt and pepper to taste

8 oz. elbow macaroni cooked and drained

Directions:

Heat a large heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven over medium low heat, add olive oil. When oil is heated add onions, celery and carrots. Slowly cook vegetables, stirring every few minutes until they begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic, basil, oregano and zucchini; cook for 5 minutes more.

Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, bay leaf and stock to pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes more. In the meantime cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside.

After the soup has been simmering for 20 minutes add spinach and cook for 3 or 4 minutes more. Remove from heat.

I like to add the pasta as I eat the soup otherwise in my opinion the pasta sops up the liquid and the soup gets gloppy.

Add some pasta to a bowl, pour desired amount soup over pasta and serve with parmesan cheese and crusty Italian bread. And of course a nice glass of red wine doesn’t hurt!

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* Photographed on Patio Fashions Chambray tablecloth with Patio Fashions Chambray napkins*

 

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Cacciatore, Hold the Chicken!

16 Aug

Since becoming a vegetarian I learned how to make all kinds of recipes without meat, and this has become a favorite. Summer time in New Jersey means lots of fresh local vegetables including eggplant, peppers and the famous Jersey tomatoes all of which I used in this recipe. Now I know most of you think of New Jersey as crowded and dirty, with bad drivers but in fact, there is a lot of farmland and beautiful rolling hills. We have lots of local farmers markets where we can get everything from local produce to homemade pies. (We are called the Garden State for a reason.)

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This is the perfect summer time pasta dish that is light, has lots of taste and loaded with healthy veggies!

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Just a few notes-I peeled the eggplant, I don’t like the skin but it’s up to you. You can use your favorite mushrooms, I used baby Portobello, just about any kind will do. Finally, instead of the 14 oz can of diced tomatoes I used fresh Jersey tomatoes.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb eggplant, sliced into 1/4 thick slabs

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

6 oz dried penne pasta

1 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, any color, sliced into strips

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp capers

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dry

1/2 tsp dry oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub eggplant slabs with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake until eggplant are slightly browned and tender, but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

 

While eggplant is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to instructions. Drain when done and return pot, toss with a bit of olive oil. Set aside.

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While eggplant bakes and pasta cooks, coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and  place over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes more. Add garlic and sauté’ for another minute. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook until liquid is reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, capers, rosemary, oregano and red pepper flakes to skillet and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and add eggplant, simmer 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Serve over pasta with a salad, crusty bread and a glass of delicious wine!

Thank you to Connoisseurusveg.com for this recipe and the photo of the final dish, mine didn’t look quite as good.

 

Summer Salad Series III: Hearty Roasted Veggie Salad

28 Jun

This is the perfect salad for a healthy summer meal, the potatoes and chick peas make it a bit heartier than a typical salad. For those of you who need protein you can always add chicken or salmon. And the balsamic dressing for this salad is super simple and really delicious, you should definitely keep it handy and use it for other salads!

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Ingredients-Salad:

12 asparagus spears, ends cut off and cut in half

1 cup red potatoes, quartered

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs balsamic nectar or vinegar

Salt and pepper

2 cups arugula or baby spring greens (I’m not a fan of arugula)

1 avocado, sliced

1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, halved

1/3 cup canned chick peas, drained and rinsed

Ingredients-Dressing:

4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbs balsamic nectar or vinegar

1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pinch of dried oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the potatoes and asparagus in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, tossing once or twice during that time. Add the asparagus to the potatoes and roast for another 10 minutes. Once the vegetables are done remove from oven, let cool for a bit.

While the vegetables are roasting, whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

To assemble, grab a nice big bowl; add lettuces, then add the rest of vegetables and sprinkle with the chick peas. Whisk the dressing before drizzling it over the salad and there you have it! Super easy, super healthy and super yummy!

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*Napkin by Patio Fashions

Recipe from Pumpkin and Peanut Butter

Summer Salad Series I: Beets with Herb Dressing

29 May

Kicking off the summer with a summer salad series. I love salad and eat it almost everyday, sometimes twice a day. When I go to someone’s house and ask what I can bring, I am always asked to bring the salad because not only do I love to eat salad, I love to make salad. And apparently I’m very good at it!

It’s easy to get in rut and get salad boredem. So each week I will post a new recipe that will broaden your salad horizon and hopefully inspire you to be more creative in the kitchen.

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Ingredients:

3 lbs roasted medium beets, preferably a mix of colors

1 large shallot, minced

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Salt

Fine grated zest of 1 orange

1/4 cup chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley

1 Tbs chopped, fresh tarragon

1/4 cup chopped, fresh chives

1/4 cup olive oil + 2 Tsb

1/4 cup finely chopped unsalted, roasted pistachios

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut tops off beets and rinse well. Place beets in a bowl, drizzle with  2 Tbs olive oil and toss till well coated. Place beets on a baking sheet lined with tin foil, cover tightly with tin foil. Bake for 1 hour until beets are tender.

Let beets cool.

In the meantime, in a bowl mix the shallots, vinegar and a large pinch of salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in orange zest, tarragon, parsley, chives and oil. Season with salt to taste, stir well.

Arrange the beets in overlapping rows on platter. Stir dressing and spoon it over the beets. Sprinkle with pistachios and serve!

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*Keep in mind that you can always roast the beets and make the dressing ahead of time and then you can assemble right before you’re ready to serve.

**If you’re like me and you like your salad closer to room temperature, take the beets and dressing out of fridge about an hour before serving so that it’s not too cold.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine and Top Chef Masters star Naomi Pomeroy

Tastes Like Take Out Chow Mein

12 Oct

I’m always looking for new ideas for vegetarian meals that will be satisfying and that my husband will like…this is a great one! It is easy to make and you can be creative with the types of vegetables you use. I only suggest you stick with veggies that won’t get soggy (like squash and zucchini), I would stick with hardier types like string beans and peas.

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Ingredients:

4 medium carrots, sliced into 1/2″ pieces

3 ribs of celery, slices into 1/2″ pieces

5 or 6 large mushroom, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can mung bean sprouts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs vegetable oil

5 green onions, chopped (keep some aside for garnish)

3/4 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

1 Tbs corn starch

salt to taste

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Directions:

Mix vegetable broth, Bragg’s and corn starch; set aside.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, add onions and saute until transparent. Add carrots and celery; cook for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until desired tenderness. Then add garlic and cook until fragrant, add mung bean sprouts and green onions, stir well. Add broth mixture and stir until well combined. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat as sauce thickens. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with rice and garnish with green onions…enjoy!

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*I like my vegetables to be tender so I boil the carrots and celery for a few minutes, you may or may not want to do this.

Not just any Slaw, Apple Slaw!

12 Jun

I love a good slaw and this is something I may not have tried it if it wasn’t for my friend and fellow blogger Kimbrough Daniels. This is no ordinary slaw; no mayonnaise and no celery seed but there is apple, red onion, shallots and cilantro. It is light and refreshing with lots great flavor.

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My husband loved it and I knew he would, he loves anything with apples. And this is a great salad to take to a picnic because you don’t have to worry about the mayo getting bad!

Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 Tbs minced shallot

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

Slaw:

1 small head of cabbage, shredded

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 or 2 apples, julienned (Honey Crisp or Pink Lady)

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

In a jar with a lid combine all dressing ingredients. With lid tight, shake well until combined. Place all the slaw ingredients in a large bowl, pour dressing over slaw and toss  until the slaw is well coated. Chill for at least 30 minutes and enjoy!

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*My husband suggested using Granny Smith apples to make it more tart…I think I’ll give it a try next time I make it because I will be making it again!

Carrot Cake, Vegan Style

3 Apr

Love me some carrot cake! So I decided to make one to celebrate Dominic the donkeys birthday, we sponsor him at the Barnyard Sanctuary where we volunteer. All the folks who work there are vegan so the cake had to be vegan and it was delicious! You would never know the difference.  My husband who doesn’t eat sweets had 3 pieces so that says a lot!

The recipe is from Gimme Some Oven and is gluten free, I used regular flour and I did’t put walnuts-don’t care for them at all. I didn’t use the pecans either, I just don’t care for the hardness of nuts in cake.

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Cake Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for dusting pans)

2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

pinch of ginger

1 pound carrots, peeled

1 cup granulated sugar (vegan)

1 cup light brown sugar, packed (vegan)

4 flax eggs (*1/4 cup ground flax meal and 3/4 cup water, see below)

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Icing ingredients

8 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups vegan butter or margarine

3 Tbs unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbs apple cider vinegar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice

pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking spay or vegan butter to thoroughly grease baking pans and dust with flour until grease is completely covered and shake out excess.

You can use:

1 13 x 19 inch baking pan, or

2 9 inch round cake pans, or

3 8 inch round cake pans

In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves and ginger until combined.

In a food processor fitted with the large shredding disk, shred carrots. Then transfer them to the mixing bowl with the flour. Wipe the food processor bowl clean, and fit with metal blade. Add sugar, brown sugar and flax eggs, process until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With the processor running add oil in a steady stream. Process the egg mixture until it is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 more seconds.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl with the flour and carrots. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in nuts if using them.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

9 x 13″ pan about 30-35 minutes

2 – 9″ pans about 25-30 minutes

3 – 8″ pans about 18-23 minutes

Let cake cool in pans until still slightly warm on a wire rack. Run knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, remove cake, transfer to platter and frost.

Combine all icing ingredients in a bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix until smooth and combined. If you want it thicker add more powdered sugar, if you want it thinner you can add more almond milk.

Serve and enjoy!

*Flax eggs: Simply stir together the ground flax meal and water until combined and refrigerate for 15 minutes until mixture becomes thickened, stir again before using

 

 

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