My neighbor Stacy gave me a challenge--to make one of her favorite soups healthier. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about the recipe, and perhaps even more skeptical that a vegan version would be good, but I wound up with a recipe that I think will become a regular meal around here. I'll let her post a comment here about whether it was successful for her, as I just dropped off a taster.
The original recipe went like this:
2 cans of butter beans
1 lb. bulk sausage (cooked and drained)
1 can of diced tomatoes with their juice
1 can of cream of celery soup
1/4 cup of milk
a couple of handfuls of kale
So, two challenges here--the sausage and the cream of celery soup. I believe that pretty much anything savory needs onion and garlic (I could never be a Hare Krishna). So, my solution to the cream of celery was to roast together celery, onions, and garlic and then puree that. The sausage is swapped out with well-seasoned TVP. Here's the redo:
Stacy's Veganized Butter Bean Soup
2 cans of butter beans, drain and rinse
1 can of diced tomatoes and their juice
1 1/2-2 cups of unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used homemade almond)
1 1/2 cups of frozen chopped kale, thawed
Combine in a baking dish:
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
3 stalks of celery, cut in chunks
1 medium onion, rough chop (you can see the size in the picture above)
3 cloves of garlic, sliced in big chunks
Salt and pepper
Toss and roast at 425 for 30 minutes or until fairly soft and starting to show some color. Puree in a food processor or blender.
In a heat proof bowl stir together the dry ingredients below, then add the hot water. Let sit until the water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork. This and the puree can be made the night before or on a weekend so you can pull them out and throw the soup together quickly.
1 cup of TVP
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 t. smoked bittersweet or sweet paprika
1 Tablespoon of no-chicken broth powder
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of ground sage
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, well crushed
a few dashes of liquid smoke
1 cup of boiling water
When you are ready to get cooking, put the TVP "sausage" in a nonstick skillet with a bit of oil, just to keep things moving. Once that's heated up a bit, throw in the celery puree, stirring it to distribute it. Add your beans and kale, the tomatoes, and almond milk. I actually just refilled the tomato can with almond milk (hence my inexact measure above).
Heat through. Stacy recommended crusty bread and hot sauce, and I second those recommendations.
The fat could be cut more if you dry roast the vegetables (no oil) but I didn't want to completely cut the fat, as I was already making a gamble with the TVP.
I have a bag of dried cannellini beans so my next batch will probably swap out three cups of those. I would imagine that Cranberry/Borlotti beans would be awesome in here, too.
I hope more folks will ask for recipe renovations! I had great fun with this one, and Dani and I were thanking Stacy for the idea with every bite.
I love eggplant, so I often just buy it with no clear plan. That's what happened last week, and I wasn't in the mood for Eggplant Parmesan or Roasted Eggplant Pizza, so I was not sure what I was going to do with it. Pair an eggplant with my current obsession with Almond Milk Béchamel, and a vegan version of Moussaka made sense.
Apparently, there are a lot of varieties of this dish, and sometimes the variations are based on the locality. So, since I don't really care for nutmeg in my béchamel, I didn't use it. Feel free to if that's your thing. This version is sort of a marriage of my mom's zucchini lasagne and a moussaka and all made vegan.
Grilled Eggplant Moussaka
1 cup of dry TVP (texturized vegetable protein), or 4 servings of veggie crumbles thawed (Morningstar, Gimme Lean, etc)
1 teaspoon of bittersweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 cup of boiling water
Stir together and let sit until the TVP absorbs the water
Brown one diced onion and two (2) minced garlic cloves in a nonstick skillet. Add the seasoned, reconstituted TVP and cook together for a few minutes. To this, add two (2) Tablespoons of tomato paste ad two (2) Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Finally, add one can (14 ounces) of diced tomatoes (fire-roasted if you can get them). Taste for seasoning.
To prepare the eggplant, I simply rubbed the slices of one regular Italian eggplant with olive oil and salt and pepper and then grilled them on my grill pan. If you don't have a grill or grill pan, you could simply brown the eggplant in a skillet to get some sear on it ad cook it through.
The béchamel is basically the same as in my Seitan Divan. I toasted two (2) Tablespoons of flour in my skillet, added one (1) Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and then whisked in 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk. I then seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. I will confess I also did some nutritional yeast for the savory almost cheese like flavor, but if you don't care for Nooch, feel free to leave it out. This would be where you put in the nutmeg if you want to use it. Cook until creamy.
To assemble, lightly grease or spray a casserole dish and put in enough of the TVP sauce mix to cover the bottom, then a layer of eggplant, a layer of sauce, and so on until you're out of both. I wound up with two layers of eggplant and three layers of sauce. Top with the béchamel ad bake at 375 for 30 minutes or util bubbly. You can brown the béchamel under the broiler, I suspect, if you want more browning and blistering.
Notes: This could be easily made gluten-free by simply swapping out the flour in the béchamel with a gluten free flour. Also, I used balsamic vinegar here to avoid using wine just because I didn't have a bottle open and didn't want to open one, but feel free to swap out some red wine for the vinegar. I often use balsamic in place for red wine in tomato sauces.
One of the biggest challenges for me as a plant-based eater is lunch. On days where there are leftovers from the night before, lunch is usually the leftovers as i always cook for four, even though there are just two of us. I'm a pretty left-over friendly person the first time, and when something is really good, I welcome the opportunity to eat it the next day.
But I digress.
Sandwiches and wraps can be especially hard for the newly vegan or veganish. After all, we tend to think of sandwich meat and sandwich slices of cheese--everything is sliced to go on the sandwich to the point that the meat and dairy industry have shaped their foods to fit on a slice of bread. So, it can take some invention to figure out how to do sandwiches that are not animal centric. If you're ovo-lacto and eat eggs and/or cheese, it is not quite as difficult. But even then, how many variations on grilled cheese can you eat?
Enter today's lunch. This recipe is inspired by Giada De Laurentis' Tuna and White Bean salad, which I used to make fairly often when I still ate fish. Here, the artichoke hearts stand in for the tuna. I was working from memory here, which is why I didn't do the full 1/3 cup of capers.
Artichoke and White Bean Salad
Serves 4 (mileage may vary); approximately 1 cup per serving
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts in brine
1 can of white kidney beans
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (substitute 1/4 t. ground cumin in that's what you have)
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced celery (the leaves are nice to leave in)
Parsley (I had dried, so I put in a heaping Tablespoon)
Zest and juice of one large lemon
1 Tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon of capers (optional, but I love capers. Sliced green olives would be good here, too, if you are into that kind of thing)
Drain and rinse the white beans. Put them in a bowl. Drain the liquid from the artichoke hearts and add the hearts to the bowl. I like to paste the garlic, salt, and cumin seed together. To do this, simply mince all of it together, then take the flat side of your knife and press the mix between the blade and your cutting board. This helps break up the garlic and the flavor of the salt and cumin gets in the garlic juice which means better distribution in the bowl. Add that to the bowl, and then add all of the other ingredients. Stir, taste, and add more salt and fresh ground black pepper if you like.
I scooped a cup of this onto a flat out bread and went to town. Note that tomatoes are optional and I would not recommend you stir them into the salad for storage because they get wimpy and water things down.
I went through a pretty major Bisquick phase when I first started cooking for myself. I remember being very impressed with the Bisquick recipe for Turkey Divan back when I was eating meat regularly. I happened to have some homemade almond milk on hand as well as some broccoli that needed to be eaten, so I decided to give it a shot in vegan form. I went on a research trip around the web and discovered that this little dish has a history. In the 1950s, apparently a New York restaurant (since gone) by the name of Divan Parisienne wanted to come up with a dish that sounded and looked elegant. The resulting concoction was a hit, and it soon became a star in home kitchens with the substitutions of canned cream of chicken or mushroom soup standing in for the mornay sauce and cheese subbing for the almonds.
So, not only does this recipe veganize the classic, but it takes us back to a more whole foods version that may actually be more traditional than the versions made from canned goods. Note that I do not blanch the broccoli, but if you wanted to, go for it.
For the Seitan:
3/4 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup Garbanzo bean flour (AKA chickpea four or Besan)
1 Tablespoon No chicken broth powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Up to 1 cup of filtered water
Stir everything but the water together. Start adding the water, putting in about 1/2 a cup. I find that this recipe needs a different amount of water than the recipe calls for (the original link is above), and this might have to do with the brand of vital wheat gluten flour and other factors. You want a slightly wet dough, but not so soft that you can't knead it to develop the gluten. Knead it fairly well, until you see it is forming strings. I tend to punch it in the bowl to get a cohesive mass as possible without layers caused in the kneading process.
In a standard loaf pan, put 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of no-chicken broth, and 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce. Place your flat oval of kneaded seitan in the broth mixture, cover the pan with foil and bake for one hour at 325. At the end of an hour, uncover, flip the loaf, and bake covered for another hour. Remove and let cool (you can make this the day before).
The second picture above shows the cooled loaf. I know it doesn't look glamorous. That's ok. You're going to pretty it up with almonds in a bit. What I did to cut this into four serving was to slice it down the middle and then I set the flat ends on the board and sliced down through the two halves, forming four cutlets. If you don't want to do this, you could always make four cutlets instead of a loaf, but I like the firmness of the loaf for applications like this. Save the broth in the loaf pan, as you'll want to add it to your béchamel.
Combine 1/4 cup of flour of your choice with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, salt and pepper. Dredge the seitan cutlets in this flour mixture. In a non-stick skillet brown those pieces. Your goal here is to add a bit of texture on the outside, as well as some seasoning. This also helps to dry the seitan out a bit--it is going to bake on top of broccoli that will release a bit of moisture and under your béchamel. So, you want to dry it a bit--that's my theory, at any rate. I'm sure it would be fine if you skipped this step.
Take your broccoli and cut into florets. Spray or lightly oil a casserole dish and place broccoli in the bottom. I tossed mine with a little salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder. Place the sliced seitan on top.
In the same skillet you browned the seitan in, put in 2 Tablespoons of flour and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to make a quick roux. The pan is probably still hot, so it won't take much time at all for the flour to toast and for you to pull the roux together. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of almond milk and add to that the reserved seitan cooking liquid. Whisk this into the roux and cook until thickened like white gravy. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, yet another 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of dried parsley. Taste for seasoning. One it tastes good to you, pour this over the seitan and broccoli.
Scatter sliced almonds on top, cover the pan with foil, and bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake another five minutes to ensure the almonds have a bit of crunch, if that's your thing.
Variations: You could use cheese here, and there are plenty of vegans who whip out the Daiya for this one. Gluten intolerant? I would think that Soy Curls would work well here. I would reconstitute those, squeeze out the excess water and toss them with some of the No Chicken broth powder or seasoned salt before putting them in the casserole dish. Tofu cutlets would probably work fine, as would Tempeh cutlets that are browned prior to assembly.
In a hurry or scared to make your own seitan? I would think this would work great with those store bought "Chik" patties or with Gardein chicken style cutlets. If you are wanting this quicker than the process above, use store bought unsweetened plant milk (I'd go almond, just because you have almonds on top, but that's me), Chik patties, and frozen broccoli instead of fresh.
The other day, Crochet Renee and I were talking about needing to use up avocados. I mentioned I was going to make a pot of Chili. She countered with Tortilla Soup, and so, that's what I wound up making too.
Vegan Tortilla Soup
Inspired by Food Network Kitchens
1/2 bag of Butler Soy Curls
Cover the soy curls to rehydrate before you get started. Once they are soft, drain off excess water and set aside.
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 small sweet peppers (the mixed ones in the bag) or one bell pepper diced
1 cup frozen corn kernels
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped (or a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes. Or a can of Rotel. Use what you've got)
1 quart (4 cups) or so of vegetable stock
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon or more of HOT smoked paprika (this is to sub for the chile in adobo. If you have chile in adobo, use that)
Juice of 1 lime
Garnishes: lime wedges, chips, quacamole
It doesn't get much easier than this. Saute the onion and garlic for a bit. Threw in the peppers, then the corn and tomatoes. Once everything has a bit of heat to it, stir in the stock and seasonings and the drained soy curls. Bring it to a boil, stir in the lime juice, taste and adjust the heat, salt. This isn't a soup that has to simmer for long; you basically are just making the vegetables tender and heating things through.
Crepes are one of those foods that seems really fancy, but they are really pretty simple. The hardest part here is getting in a rhythm with the swirling and flipping. Oh, and having a pan you can trust is important. Know that most of the time, the first crepe will be a throw away, especially until you get your crepe making merit badge.
My tips for good crepes:
! cup white whole wheat flour (I'm currently using Bob's Red Mill WWW pastry flour)
1 cup homemade almond milk
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Whirl that up in your blender or food processor until smooth and pop in the icebox for an hour or more. I get approximately 18 crepes out of a batch, but mileage will vary based on how big you are making these.
I filled these with a mixture of mushrooms, onions, broccoli, carrots and a bit of Mornay sauce (made with the last of my almond milk from the tutorial). There was Edam cheese involved, as well. That took care of about 12 crepes.
Guess what I did with the others?
I am currently nuts over coconut butter. All you do for this magical stuff is take unsweetened coconut, throw it in your Vitamix and let it go until it is buttery and smooth. I hear you can do this in a food processor, but it will take a good long time, and involves scraping the sides a lot (like ten minutes compared to maybe two minutes in a high powered magic machine). I did three cups in the Vitamix this morning and got about a cup of coconut butter.
Oh, you can also buy it already made. Nature's Own has it in KC, and I'm sure Whole Foods probably does. Internet shoppers can find it at any of my Internet grocery haunts (Amazon, VitaCost, iHerb).
I decided it wasn't enough, though to just have coconut butter in my crepes. I got out the almond butter, the cocoa powder, and the maple syrup. In a bowl, put the following:
4 Tablespoons of coconut butter (if you are not using fresh, you might want to zap this a bit to loosen it up)
2 Tablespoons of almond butter (peanut butter would work, or any nut butter of choice)
2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons of maple syrup
Stir. You just made vegan Nutella. Spread on everything. Especially on crepes. I just took a couple out of the refridgerator, spread with a bit of the lovely stuff, folded over, microwaved for about 10 seconds and then top with fruit.
Angel lives in Camden, Arkansas where she writes stuff and sometimes sends it out to other people to read. She used to grade papers, but not anymore. Check out her main site to see what she's up to lately.