Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

WALNUT STUFFED EGGPLANT RECEIVES APPLAUSE!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 5, 2014

How nice it is to be able to serve a vegan entrée that makes people say WOW! That wonderful compliment came my way very recently at a luncheon attended by 80 non-vegetarians.

The luncheon was held at a very large hotel and conference center. When offered the entrée choices of Rosemary Sage Chicken with Piccata Sauce, Roast Salmon with Red Wine Sauce, or Vegan Walnut Stuffed Eggplant, 21 of the 80 people attending chose the eggplant dish–one of my very favorite recipes from The Nut Gourmet, my cookbook that was published in 2006 and is still in print. Especially rewarding was the lively applause when the chairwoman announced the entrée was my recipe.

I really wanted to thank the chef for accepting my recipe and preparing the eggplant entrée. I asked if was possible to speak to the chef. It seemed rather unusual for the chef at large hotel to even be willing to prepare a recipe from a patron. Within a few minutes, the chef came out with a smile. Desi Szonntagh is the executive chef at the hotel. After we chatted a bit, he said he really liked the recipe and felt it was a good idea to introduce his kitchen staff to something unique. He also appreciated the opportunity to experience something vegan that was not just pasta with vegetables.

If you have family members who really love eggplant, and you serve this delicious entrée, better get ready to receive a few WOWs of appreciation. I have no doubt you’ll agree this is one very killer delicious dish!

This recipe is a hearty Mediterranean dish with Greek ancestry and is pure heaven to walnut and eggplant lovers. Its exceptional flavor comes from the combination of cinnamon, tomato paste, and capers. Because the stuffed eggplant is so special, I keep the rest of the meal simple with stir-fried or steamed vegetables, bulgur wheat in place of a rice dish, and a tossed salad.

 

walnut stuffed eggplant

 

WALNUT STUFFED EGGPLANT

 

Yield: 4 hearty servings.

 

2 (1-pound) eggplants

Extra virgin olive oil

 

1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup chopped onions

4 large cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Freshly ground black pepper

 

1 cup raw walnuts, divided

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

3 heaping tablespoons capers, well drained

 

2 to 3 small ripe tomatoes, sliced

Salt

  1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, slicing through the stem end. Using a curved, serrated grapefruit knife, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch shell, and coarsely chop the flesh. Put the chopped eggplant into a large, deep skillet or flat-bottom wok.
  2. Rub the inside of the eggplant shells with a small amount of olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Place the eggplant shells under the broiler, and broil them 3 inches from the heat source for 5 to 10 minutes, until fork-tender. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Remove the eggplant shells from the broiler and set them aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, cinnamon, and pepper to the skillet with the chopped eggplant, and cook and stir for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Coarsely grind the walnuts in a hand-crank nut mill and add 2/3 cup to the skillet along with the tomato paste and capers. Mix well.
  5. Fill the eggplant shells with the vegetable mixture and sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/3 cup coarsely ground walnuts. Top with the tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes.

 

 

 

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Posted in Main Dishes, Nut Recipes, Recipes, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

SHIITAKE TORNADOES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 3, 2013

SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/zelallen/Desktop/SHIITAKE%20TORNADOES%20copy%202.doc

SHIITAKE TORNADOES IN

CASHEW CREAM SAUCE

SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/zelallen/Documents/Zel’s%20Documents/GONE%20VEGAN%20FOR%20THE%20HOLIDAYS/CHRISTMAS/Main%20Dishes/Shiitake%20Tornadoes%20in%20Cashew%20Cream%20Sauce.doc

Shiitake Tornadoes in Cashew-Cream Sauce copy

Picture-perfect, this sumptuous and very festive main dish makes a showy presentation on the Thanksgiving holiday table. Adorned in black sesame seeds, these 12 striking globes rise up from a rosy pool of seductive cashew sauce and entice the inquisitive palate.

To ease the holiday stress, have the cooked brown rice ready and make both the tornadoes and the sauce the day before. Stored them separately and assemble the dish shortly before serving. Briefly warm the tornadoes in a 350-degree F. oven and the sauce on the stovetop.

Presentation is everything with this dish. It’s so simple, yet makes these sesame coated balls look amazing. Hunt for long sprigs of rosemary to poke into each “tornado.” I just know that when you bring this dish to the table, you’ll hear some very pleasing ooohhs and aaaahhhs.

Present the tornadoes on a recessed platter that will hold a pool of sauce and allow you to garnish the edges. If you can’t locate black sesame seeds, roll the tornadoes in toasted or natural sesame seeds and they will still make an awesome main dish.

Yield: Makes 12 balls; 8 to 12 servings

Tornadoes

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps cut into quarters

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon tamari

1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely ground

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 cup black or regular sesame seeds

12 long sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish

6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, for garnish

1.    To make the tornadoes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2.    Combine the mushrooms, onion, tamari, and tarragon in a large, deep skillet. Add water and cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the onion is softened and transparent. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.

3.    Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor and add the olives. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Spoon the mixture into a large bowl.

4.    Add the rice, oats, walnuts, salt, and pepper and mix well. Pour the black sesame seeds into a deep, medium bowl.

5.    Using your hands, form the mushroom mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll each one in the sesame seeds to coat well. Place the coated balls on the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Cashew Cream Sauce

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste

1 to 2 tablespoons tamari

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

Pinch cayenne

1/2 cup cashews, finely ground

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1.    To make the sauce, combine the vegetable broth, tomato paste, tamari, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, marjoram, and cayenne in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer 1 to 2 minutes.

2.    Add the cashews, whisk and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will continue to thicken upon standing. Add extra vegetable broth to thin the sauce as needed. Before serving, stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

3.    To serve, spoon the sauce into a large, deep platter and arrange the tornadoes over the sauce. To garnish, poke a rosemary sprig into each tomato half and push them into the tops of the tornadoes, so they stand upright.

Note: If not serving immediately, refrigerate the tornadoes and sauce separately. Warm the tornadoes in a preheated 350-degree F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes before serving. Heat the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes.

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OPEN SESAME!–DIVA OF THE PATTY PAN

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on February 25, 2013

Like me, you’ve probably rediscovered an old favorite recipe that had somehow gotten lost and ended up at the bottom of a pile of papers you keep meaning to tackle. Well, actually, this little gem of a recipe didn’t end up in a pile because it’s one of the recipes in my cookbook, The Nut Gourmet. But it did kind of get lost between files in a hidden corner of my memory.

An upcoming visit from my friends Vesanto and Cam from Vancouver triggered my memory to bring up that file and I’m thrilled to share this flavor-filled recipe that’s never failed to get raves. I love recipes that can be prepared in advance and still taste great when you serve them a day or two later. This one’s a winner in every way.

The recipe is a unique take on a nut-filled patty that tastes great tucked into a pita, piled into a giant sandwich, enjoyed as an open-faced sandwich, or relished all by its delicious little self. You can even eat the patties cold, right from the fridge and find them perfectly flavorful.

Although the sesame seeds remain on the top and bottom of the patties, they successfully impart their definitive flavor that oozes sesame with each delicious bite. Versatility works great with this recipe–you can vary the nuts and vary the grain. It’s an excellent recipe to fall back on when you have 2 cups of leftover cooked grains. I like the patties with a little dollop Tofu Sour Cream, but you can shmear with any of your favorite toppings.

SESAME NUT PATTIES

Yield: Makes about 12 to 15 two-inch pattiessesame nut patties

1/2 cup hulled sesame seeds

1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup pistachios

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon psyllium husks

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

2 cups cooked wild rice

1. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet or line it with parchment. Put the sesame seeds in a medium shallow bowl and set aside.

2. Grind the walnuts, cashews, and pistachios to a coarse meal in a food processor, and leave them in the processor.

3. Combine the water and psyllium husks in a small cup or bowl and stir well to moisten. Set aside for 1 minute to thicken, then add to the processor.

4. Add the soy sauce, chili powder, oregano, nutmeg, and thyme to the processor. Process briefly until all the ingredients are well combined.

5. Add the wild rice and pulse and process until it is well incorporated. If needed, add 1 to 3 tablespoons of water to moisten the mixture.

6. Form the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, place them on the baking sheet, and flatten slightly with your hand. When all the patty mixture is formed, dip each of the patties into the sesame seeds, covering both sides. Place them back on the baking sheet.

7. Shortly before serving, place the baking sheet under a preheated broiler, about 3 inches from the heat source. Watching carefully, broil for about 1 to 3 minutes, or until the sesame seeds are golden. Turn the patties over with a spatula and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden. Serve with Tofu Sour Cream or your favorite sauce.

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NEW YEAR REFLECTIONS ON VEGAN CHRISTMAS IN A NUTTY WORLD!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on January 2, 2013

Well, 2013 has officially begun and I’ve been considering resolutions to help make this world a healthier, happier, and more peaceful place for humans and animals and a more sustainable one for our planet. Reflecting on the past year, I realized those ideals have been my steadfast focus. They’ve enriched my life with purpose and joy and have helped others who have stopped by to visit this cozy little vegan niche. So, I’ve settled in and look forward to another fulfilling year.

Now I’m feeling a bit sentimental and want to share a smidgeon of holiday nostalgia.

Vegan Christmas – two words that may not go together in every household, but in my home, it was an exceptional holiday with tender memories to cherish. Imagine all the warm and wonderful traditional winter holiday blessings, and, then, put them all together into one special day on December 25th. Bit by bit, I baked a few batches of sweet goodies, sent invitations to friends to join us for a holiday potluck, and readied the house for a comfy crowd. I knew it would be a happy occasion, but I never imagined it would be as cozy, delicious, and nostalgic as it turned out.

I think there was a little vegan magic whirling in the air that day. My sweet hubby built a fire in the fireplace and lovingly tended it all afternoon. Coming in from the cold, our guests immediately gravitated toward the warm and cozy living room as they shed their coats and scarves.

A boldly-spiced apple cider was mulling on the kitchen stovetop ready to offer warming comfort, while the entire house became infused with a rich medley of lively aromas. The gently simmering cider was happily sharing its generous gifts of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg. Floating to the top of the cider were slices of lemon and orange contributing a subtle note of citrus. And, as if that were not enough, whole almonds and golden raisins, borrowed from my Happy New Year Glogg recipe, were also quite visible as one peered down into the large pot.

I loved seeing jolly faces stretch into big smiles as I passed the tray of apple cider. Into each of the small, glass punch cups I ladled the hot cider and included a few almonds and raisins in each glass. Within a couple of hours, that cider-filled, 12-quart stockpot was nearly empty.

When everyone’s potluck contribution was well warmed or perfectly chilled, we gathered around the table to fill our plates with a feast to boast about. There dishes too numerous to list. I will simply remember the tantalizing medley of savory, lemony, spicy, pungent, and sweet flavors that strolled across my taste buds.

Aside from making hot mulled apple cider, cookies, and confections, my contribution was an eye-appealing Tomato Pine Nut Pie with Sweet Potato and Nut Crust, a recipe from my new cookbook VEGAN FOR THE HOLIDAYS. This is what the pie looks like:

Tomato Pine Nut Pie

The pie crust of crushed almonds, tofu, and yams makes this a unique dish and one that was enthusiastically received.

Because we were expecting about 20 people, I thought it would be best to triple the recipe and prepare it in a large rimmed baking sheet. It was the perfect amount and allowed for extra helpings.

Tomato Pine Nut Pie 1

This is what the dish looked like after it was ravished:

Tomato Nut Pie Leftovers

While assembling the pie, I realized this is not a dish that’s just for Christmas. It’s a charming recipe that can be enjoyed year round because the ingredients are readily available no matter what season. During summer, when green tomatoes are available at the farmstand, they can be substituted for ripe ones or intermixed, creating an appealing red and green theme.

This is one honey of a make-ahead dish, even up to two days ahead. To serve, remove the dish from the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature, and warm in a preheated 350-degree F. oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into serving pieces and enjoy.

TOMATO-PINE NUT PIE WITH SWEET POTATO AND NUT CRUST

Melt-in-the-mouth delicious and decked out for the festivities, this attractive Italian-inspired dish makes an ideal savory dinner pie with a unique crust.

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie or 6 servings

Crust
12 ounces sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups whole almonds
2/3 cup mashed tofu
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Light oil a 9-inch pie pan.

2. To make the crust, put the sweet potatoes in a 2-quart saucepan with water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Drain the sweet potatoes well, transfer them to a large bowl and mash them well. Set aside.

3. Put the almonds in a food processor. Process until they are finely ground yet still retain a little texture. Add the tofu and salt and process until well incorporated, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Spoon the tofu mixture into the bowl with the sweet potatoes and mix well.

4. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the prepared pan. Use your fingers to press it onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Build up the sides of the crust 1/2 -inch higher than the pie pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes and let cool.

Filling
2 green onions, sliced
1 to 2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 to 3 tablespoons Homemade Parmesan (recipe below) or prepared vegan Parmesan
2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
4 to 5 large red or green tomatoes, seeded and sliced.

1. To make the filling, put the green onions, garlic, pine nuts, and Homemade Parmesan in individual bowls. Sprinkle the cornstarch on a plate.

2. Cover the bottom of the crust with one layer of eggplant slices. (This prevents the crust from getting soggy). Reserve remaining eggplant for another use. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and pepper.

3. Dredge one-third of the tomato slices in the cornstarch. Arrange the dredged tomato slices over the eggplant, filling all the spaces with small bits of tomato. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle one third each of the green onions, garlic, pine nuts, and Homemade Parmesan over the tomatoes. Repeat the process to make three layers.

4. Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Note: If using green tomatoes, the pie might have to hake another 15 minutes.

HOMEMADE PARMESAN
Often I’ve come to rely on a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan to add sparkle to a dish, soup, a casserole, or an appetizer. With only five ingredients, this recipe is almost instant to make and tastes enough like the real thing to put the Italian touch on everything from pizza to minestrone and a host of holiday or everyday dishes.

1 cup almonds
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Put the almonds in a food processor. Process until they are finely ground, yet still retain a bit of texture, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. (Avoid overprocessing or it will turn into almond butter.)

2. Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder and pulse until well mixed. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. Covered and refrigerated, Homemade Parmesan will keep for 3 months.

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MOUTH-WATERING MAIN DISHES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 6, 2012

Guest host Kathy Hester brings scrumptious slow cooker main dishes to the Thanksgiving table that can be prepared without last minute stress. Kathy blogs at The Healthy Slow Cooker where you can find tasty, from-scratch recipes and helpful advice on choosing just the right slow cooker for you. Kathy is the author of The Vegan Slow Cooker Book and when she’s not cooking, she develops recipes and does free-lance writing for several blogs like One Green Planet as well as magazines. Look for her new, not yet published cookbook The Great Vegan Bean Book.
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Every family seems to have a special recipe for sweet potato casserole. This one is less sweet than the sticky sweet casserole of my youth. It skips the caramel and marshmallow sometimes included. You could add vegan versions of both in if you really want to. After all, any day is a holiday when you get to eat sweet potato casserole!

HOLIDAY SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

8 large sweet potatoes, cut in chunks
1 1/2 (355 ml) cups water
1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 top 120 ml)non-dairy milk (plain or vanilla)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
pinch ground cloves

topping:

2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan margarine
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
3/4 cup (170 g) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (30 g) whole wheat flour (*use gluten-free flour instead)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) non-dairy milk or water
1/2 cup (55 g) pecans, chopped

The night before: Cut sweet potatoes. Make the topping by combining the ingredients and mixing thoroughly. Store topping and sweet potatoes in fridge overnight. Chop pecans and store in a covered bowl, unrefrigerated, overnight.

In the morning: Add sweet potatoes and water to an oiled crock. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.

30 to 45 minutes before serving: Turn slow cooker to high. Mash sweet potatoes in crock. Add spices and part of the non-dairy milk. Add the rest of the milk if the potatoes are still too stiff, but leave out if they are runny. Drop spoonfuls of pre-mixed topping. As the topping begins to melt, spread with the back of a spoon across the top to make it more even.

Serve once the topping is melted and the dish is heated throughout.

Yields: 8 servings
Total Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 6 to 8 hours
Soy-free, gluten-free

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I seem to be on a streak of ugly but packed-full of flavor recipes this month.

I guess the veggies that are available in January aren’t quite as flashy as some of the summer ones. That, and well, stews aren’t always pretty – but you can’t beat a one dish meal for an easy dinner.

In my next incarnation, I think I’ll add a handful or two of chopped greens to shake things up a bit.

You can really add any veggies you have on hand, too. I’m all about options and using what you have on hand. Yellow lentils instead of red, potato in place of turnip, and even carrot would all work just as good as the listed ingredients.

SLOW COOKER INDIAN SPICED CHICKPEA QUINOA STEW
gluten-free, soy-free

serves 4 to 6

4 to 5 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup peeled turnip, chopped
1 cup sweet potato, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped (about 1 stalk)
1 tablespoon not-chicken bouillon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
salt, to taste

The night before: Chop veggies and store in the fridge.

In the morning: Put everything in the slow cooker and cook on low 6 to 9 hours. Taste, re-season if needed (you may not even need the salt if your bouillon is salty.)

This is a good one to make if you are going to be away from the house a little longer than usual. If your slow cooker runs hot add a little extra water if it will be cooking longer than 9 hours.

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Guest Host Carrie Forrest is a graduate student in public health nutrition and the author of the blog Carrie on Vegan. Through her writings, step-by-step photo guides and recipes, Carrie inspires readers to prepare plant-based recipes that are 100% delicious. Carrie firmly believes that superior health is achievable through nutritional excellence and specializes in whole-food, simple recipes that are low in added fats, sugars and salt.
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BUTTERNUT HARVEST STEW

I think fall might be my favorite season. I love the coolness in the air and the transition to warmer clothes. As a homebody, I like the shorter days that force me indoors to cook, read books or just cozy up to the fireplace. What I love most of all about fall is the introduction of fall fruits and vegetables, and butternut squash heads the list. Tips: If you cannot find pumpkin pie spice, use ground cinnamon instead. A medium butternut squash will weigh 2 to 3 pounds.

6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash

1 large onion

1 cup button mushrooms

4 cloves garlic

¼ cup water

3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon no-salt seasoning

1 tablespoon dried oregano

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1½ cups cooked or canned cannellini beans

Vegan Cream Sauce

Directions:
1. Peel, seed, and cube squash.

2. Chop onion. Slice mushrooms. Mince garlic.

3. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add onions and cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until softened. Add garlic, pumpkin pie spice, no-salt seasoning, and oregano. Stir in butternut squash and vegetable broth. Add water if necessary to cover vegetables.

4. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

5. Rinse and drain beans. Stir into soup and cook just long enough to heat through. Remove from heat. Using a hand immersion blender, process stew to desired consistency. Stir in Vegan Cream Sauce and serve hot.

Non-Dairy Cream Sauce

This sauce is the equivalent of heavy cream and can be stirred into savory soups and stews to add richness and flavor. I love using it in my Harvest Butternut Stew. Tip: I use soy milk in this recipe for an extra creamy texture, but you can substitute your favorite non-dairy milk.

6 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup raw unsalted cashews

2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk

Directions:
Combine cashews and non-dairy milk in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

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Mac -n-Cheese–all Melty and Vegan for Canadian Thanksgiving

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 5, 2012

Nicole Abramowski, blog host of Vegan Nom Noms, says few can resist a melt-in-the mouth taste of vegan mac-n-cheese, especially on special holidays when food favorites are a must. Smith Graduate Nicole loves to sample life in far away places and has lived in England, the Czech Republic, Massachusetts, and now resides in Berlin, Germany, a place she has discovered is a vegan paradise. At Vegan Nom Noms shares recipes, food photography, and all things cool.
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This is probably my most-requested recipes by non-vegans whenever I make it for the holidays. Though there are more vegan mac-n-cheese recipes than you can through a stone at out there on the interwebz, this one has pretty basic ingredients, no need for a blender and is super addicting. I even served it to my very non-vegan family at Thanksgiving, including extended relatives, and several of them commented on how good it was and gobbled it all up. Surprise, it’s vegan! Every year I have a phase where I eat this every week for a few months. I’m pretty sure I will become a mac-n-cheese one day. There’s nothing better, now that the cold is creeping in, to curl up with a bowl of noodley saucy goodness! Nutritional yeast, please marry me.

Without further ado, the recipe! I actually make it two different ways, depending what I want that day. One is baking it like below, but I also sometimes throw the veggies in during the last few minutes the noodles are boiling, strain it, set aside, whisk together the sauce, then throw everything together and warm it up again on the stove. Top with some crunchy onions if you’re feeling fancy. Both the baked version and the saucy version have a special place in my heart. One picture is saucy, but you can find photos of the baked version here on my Vegan Nom Noms blog

VEGAN MAC-N-CHEESE

– 1/2-3/4 lb pasta (I usually just fill the baking tray I’m using halfway with pasta and use that amount)
– 1/2 (110ml) cup soymilk
– 1/4 (60 ml) cup water
– 1/4 (60 ml) cup soy sauce
– 1 cup (240 ml) nutritional yeast
– 3/4 teaspoon paprika
– 1/4 teaspoon cumin
– 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
– 3 tablespoons margarine
– 1 teaspoon mustard
– 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
– 2 carrots, shredded (optional)
– 1 medium onion, diced small (optional)
– 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
– 3/4 cup frozen chopped green beans (optional)
– enough french fried onions to cover top of mac-n-cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Boil water in a medium-sized sauce pan and cook pasta (I like to use shells for this dish). While pasta is cooking, combine everything but the french fried onions in a large bowl and mix together. Try and break up the margarine chunks as much as you can, but they’ll just melt in the oven when it’s cooking so it doesn’t need to be perfect. You can put the veggies in frozen, they’ll cook in the oven too.

Once the pasta’s done, drain and add to the “cheese” sauce. Stir until all the pasta is covered and then pour into a baking dish and top with the french fried onions. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until onions are browned and top of the pasta looks crispy. Eat and enjoy!

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CORNBREAD, BUTTERNUT, CANNELLINI, & ARTICHOKES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 29, 2012

Today’s tempting Canadian Thanksgiving recipes come from a true Canadian who lives in Ontario. Lisa Turner, a vegetarian for 22 years, knows how to treat a vegetable with love and creativity. In these irresistible recipes she incorporates a medley of flavors, colors, and textures to reflect the foods of the harvest celebration. Lisa blogs at Lisa’s Kitchen where she specializes in Indian cooking with vibrant flavors and dazzling colors. Lisa’s recipes for Canadian Thanksgiving are just as delectable for our U.S. Thanksgiving.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, HERBED CANNELLINI, AND ARTICHOKES WITH FENNEL AND PARSLEY SALAD

Making a healthy vegetarian entrée look like a gourmet dish isn’t the result of elaborate and technical procedures. Rather, it’s the product of quality ingredients, simple but appealing food combinations, and inviting contrasts in color and texture, all assembled with care, attention, creativity and a love for food. Of course, a fancy menu-style name might impress your guests as well!

This lovely meal, for example, is no less elegant and delicious for all its true simplicity and ease. Tender roasted golden orange butternut squash is mixed with a baked casserole of creamy cannellini beans, delicate artichokes, sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs, and served with a fresh crunchy and slightly tart fennel and parsley salad for a meal that is stunning for its visual appeal, wonderful taste and wholesome nourishment … all with no more than twenty minutes of preparation, apart from the roasting time, and only a little attention and care during the cooking.

As is so often the case when I cook with squash, I was inspired by the fact that I could no longer stand looking at the uncooked squash that I picked up on a whim a little while ago and that just sat forlornly in my pantry ever since. I adapted the recipe itself from one given by a self-described “Dog Shaman” from South Africa who otherwise advocates a vegan diet for dogs. I don’t endorse canine veganism myself (and I know my cat would strongly disapprove of a feline equivalent), but I’m quite happy to try his human food.

Salad:
• 1 fennel bulb, cored, trimmed and sliced
• 1 large cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• juice of 1 lemon
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• fresh ground black pepper to taste

Squash and Cannellini:
• 1/2 cup dried cannellini beans (1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 14 oz can)
• 1 butternut squash, halved, seeded and scored into bite-sized pieces
• olive oil
• leaves from 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• leaves from 1 sprig of fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• fresh ground black pepper

Other ingredients:
• 5 or 6 large oil-marinated artichokes, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• small handful of torn fresh basil leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• fresh ground black pepper
• olive oil
• vegan Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions:
• Rinse the beans and soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water with a little lemon juice added. Drain and add to a medium saucepan. Cover with fresh cold water or vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft. Drain and mash gently with a potato masher. Set aside.

• Prepare the salad in advance to allow the lemon juice and olive oil to mellow the strong flavour of the fennel. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss gently. Set aside at room temperature, tossing again occasionally.

• Pre-heat an oven to 400°. Prepare the squash by cutting in half lengthwise, scraping out the seeds, and scoring deep crosses at bite-sized (about 1-inch) intervals into the flesh. Place the halves on a baking sheet open side up and drizzle the squash with olive oil, a few sprinkles of water, rosemary, thyme and fresh ground black pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 40 to 50 minutes or until the squash is tender and browned.

• Meanwhile, combine the beans, artichokes, tomatoes, wine, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a small oven-safe casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil. After the squash has been roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, place the casserole dish uncovered in the oven beside the squash and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are still moist but not dry. Remove from oven and set aside until the squash is finished.

• Remove the cooked squash from the shell and stir into the bean mixture. If using, scatter the vegan Parmesan cheese on top and place the casserole dish under the broiler for a minute or two.

• Toss the fennel and parsley salad one more time and serve with the squash, cannellini and artichoke mixture. For an added special touch, reserve the squash shells and scoop the squash, cannellini and artichoke mixture into the shells for serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

CLASSIC CORNBREAD

Considering it seems that I put hot chillies and/or jalapeños in pretty much everything I make, my regular readers might be surprised to learn that my very favorite cornbread consists of little more than cornmeal. But my regular readers will also know that I love the sweet taste and crunch of cornmeal, and this dense and filling bread will satisfy any cornmeal craving. For a satisfying snack, serve slices of this cornbread with a bit of vegan butter. It also goes well as a side with any spicy Mexican meal.

Simple, dense and filling, classic cornbread loaded with plenty of cornmeal flavor and crunch — a great snack or addition to Thanksgiving or a spicy Mexican meal.

Ingredients:
• 3 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 3 tablespoons sesame oil or olive oil
• 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar, honey or other sweetener, to taste
• 2 – 3 cups of water

Instructions:
• Preheat an oven to 325° and grease a loaf pan with oil.

• Combine the cornmeal, flour and salt in a large bowl. If you are using a dry sweetener, mix in to the dry ingredients. Add the oil and rub it into the dry ingredients with your hands. If you are using a liquid sweetener, add it now and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the water until the mixture resembles a thick cookie dough — you may not have to use more than 2 cups of water.

• Heat the prepared loaf pan until hot but not smoking. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Increase the heat to 350° and bake for another 50 to 60 minutes or until the bread begins to brown and small cracks form on the top of the loaf.

• Remove the bread from the oven and cool on a metal rack for 10 minutes. Gently remove the loaf from the pan and cool for another 30 minutes on the rack. Cut into 3/4-inch to 1-inch slices and serve.

Makes 8 to 10 slices

Posted in Canadian Thanksgiving, Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, Salads and Salad Dressings, Side Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

MORE TASTY DISHES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 26, 2012

Following are two recipes for a delicious Canadian Thanksgiving by guest host Carolyn Scott-Hamilton of The Healthy Voyager website

Carolyn is the author of The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen: 150 Plant-Based Recipes From Around the World. Because Carolyn loves to travel the globe, she has embraced cuisines of the world and has tasted the exotic herbs and spices that make international foods so compelling. Her recipes, foreign foods she has veganized, take the reader to far away places. Call it armchair travel with one hand in the kitchen.

MAPLE CHIPOTLE SWEET POTATO BISQUE

Makes about 4 servings

4-5 small/medium sweet potatoes
1 cup plain soymilk (keep extra on hand if you want to thin out the soup a bit)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
4 tablespoons softened vegan butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and peel sweet potatoes, then cube and boil until fork tender. Add cooked sweet potatoes in a large bowl.

In a food processor or using an immersion blender pulse the soymilk and chipotle together. In a saucepan bring the soymilk and chipotle mixture to a simmer on low. Then add the maple syrup, sour cream, butter and salt and pepper to the milk mixture. Pour the soymilk mixture over the cooked sweet potatoes and again use the immersion blender or a hand mixer to mix the ingredients together.

MUSHROOM WELLINGTON

Makes 6 servings

Filling:
1/4 cup basmati rice
1 lemon, zest only
1 onion, finely chopped
2 1/4 cup brown cap mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pastry:
9 ounces ready-rolled puff pastry
vegan gravy, to serve

Cook the rice and lemon zest in a pan according to packet instructions, until tender. Drain well.

Heat the onion and mushrooms and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the cooked rice, herbs and cranberries until well combined. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the pastry, cut an 8-inch x 12-inch rectangle from the puff pastry. Spoon the rice mixture down the centre of the pastry. Bring the sides of the pastry together and seal with oil or melted vegan butter. Chill for 30 minutes.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. To serve, place one slice of the Wellington onto each of six serving plates. Top with gravy.
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Posted in Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, Soups | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CANADIANS CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING DAY OCTOBER 8!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 24, 2012

Canadian Thanksgiving is coming soon and I wanted to offer our friends to the North some tasty, festive recipes for their celebration of the early harvest. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. This year their celebration falls on Monday, October 8, just two weeks away.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting several delectable recipes for Canadian Thanksgiving from a number of guest contributors, vegan bloggers who really know how to dish up lavish, mouth-watering foods that will make the harvest celebration for our Canadian neighbors just as special as our November holiday.

Following is a very unique main dish from my book, Vegan for the Holidays. The stunning entree borrows its beautiful structure from a traditional Moroccan dish called bistilla.

THANKSGIVING PHYLLO PIE

Stately, delicious, and aromatic, this is the dish that will change the minds of those who snicker at the thought of a vegan thanksgiving dinner. Like a typical Moroccan Bistilla, this delicious entrée is completely encased in phyllo dough. Uniquely different is the plump filling of whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and all the herbs and spices that say Thanksgiving. Prepare the filling a day in advance to make assembly more convenient.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Filling
3 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup wild rice
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup whole raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely shredded
2 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground pepper

Crust
12 sheets phyllo dough, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil

Garnishes
Ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely ground roasted pistachios
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint or parsley
1 small tomato, cut into a rose

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. To make the filling, combine 3 1/2 cups of the water, rice, barley, and 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt in a 3-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and cook for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the rice and barley are tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.

3. Meanwhile, place the almonds, walnuts, and pecans in a single layer on a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Immediately pour the nuts onto a plate to cool.

4. Put the potatoes in a 1-quart saucepan with water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon and mash them.

5. Cook and stir the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, carrots, celery, garlic, sage, cinnamon, allspice, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and the remaining 1/4 cup water in a deep, 10 to 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.

6. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, raisins, chickpeas, the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper to the skillet, Cook another 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are broken down.

7. Add the rice mixture, toasted nuts, and mashed potatoes to the skillet and mix thoroughly. Adjust the seasonings and set aside.

8. To make the crust, place a dish towel horizontally on your workspace. Unroll the phyllo dough and place it on the dish towel. Cover it with another dish towel to prevent the phyllo from drying out. (Each time you remove a phyllo sheet, cover the dough with the dish towel.) Pour the canola oil into a small bowl and place it nearby. Lightly oil a 10-inch ovenproof skillet.

9. Remove one sheet of phyllo from the stack, and place it into the prepared skillet, allowing the ends to drape over the side of the skillet. Gently brush the phyllo with oil, including the portion that drapes over the side. Repeat with eight more sheets of phyllo, draping each of the sheets in a different direction to form a circle around the skillet.

10. Spoon the filling into the phyllo crust, packing it firmly. Lift up the edges of the draped phyllo sheets and place them over the filling. Place the remaining three sheets of phyllo on top of the pie, one at a time, brushing each with the oil. Tuck the ends of the three sheets down into the sides of the skillet. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

11. To serve, invert the pie onto a large serving platter or tilt the skillet to slide it onto the platter. Garnish the top with the cinnamon, pistachios, and mint and place the tomato rose in the center if desired. Cut the pie into wedges with a serrated knife and remove each wedge with a pie server.

Posted in Celebrations, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

VEGAN FOR THE HOLIDAYS ARRIVES WITH GOOD CHEER!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 17, 2012

My shiny new cookbook, Vegan for the Holidays: Celebration Feasts for Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, has formally arrived this month and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s a beauty!

After a few years of dabbling in a fun and deliriously wild exploration of holiday kitchen alchemy, I gathered up my multitude of little pieces of paper and tiny recipe notes and popped them into the oven.

And –would you believe–out popped this beautiful book of recipes for killer-delicious celebration dishes! Vegan for the Holidays makes Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day a divine season of grand feasting.

Vegans need never feel deprived and never have to resort to a mere salad while others at the Thanksgiving table chatter enthusiastically about the turkey. Now we can feast on awesome dishes like Savory Lentil Terrine with Mushroom-Wine Sauce or Pistachio and Sweet Pea Torte with Roasted Tomato Aioli.

Perhaps, the Thanksgiving Phyllo Pie will be the centerpiece dish at your family celebration.

Bask in the sweet paradise of Santa’s Favorite Panforte for Christmas or rich and savory Potato Latkes and Vegan Sour Cream for Hanukkah.

Dine on sumptuous servings of Mac ‘n’ cheese and Jamaican Jerk Tofu for Kwanzaa. Conclude the year with the dazzling, sweet and spicy Apricot, Date, and Hazelnut Sticky Pie on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

For a mini tour, take a little peek inside Vegan for the Holidays:

Vegan Holidays Peek copy

For more information and to order Vegan for the Holidays, visit my Vegetarians in Paradise page http://www.vegparadise.com/veganholidays.html

Here’s an easy holiday appetizer that puts yuletide spirit on a plate and unveils your hidden talent as a sculptor. Make it mildly spiced or crank it up to muy picante with extra jalapeno chiles and a pinch of cayenne. Just remember to thaw the peas, then you’ll be ready to let the food processor do the work.

JOLLY GREEN CHRISTMAS TREE

Dip
1 pound frozen peas, thawed
1 (150ounce) can cannelloni or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons organic sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 to 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and coarsely chopped’1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powdfer
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch cayenne (optional)

Ornaments
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced’1/2 carrot, finely diced
1 green onion, white part only, sliced (optional)
1 whole star anise, or 6 whole cloves

1. Put the dip ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl.

2. Spoon the mixture onto a large platter and use the back of a spoon to form the mixture into the shape of a large Christmas tree. Decorate the tree with the bell pepper, carrot, and the optional green onion. Place the star anise at the top or arrange the cloves into a radiating star. Serve with baked tortilla chips, bean ships, toasted pita wedges, or your favorite crackers.

Posted in Appetizers, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, Uncategorized, Vegan Desserts, Vegan for the Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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