Vegan Chili

3 08 2010

This vegetarian chili is a little non-traditional in that A) it has a nice Middle Eastern/Indian flavor, and B) it is actually quite good for you. Every spoonful will deliver hearty beans and chunks of veggies, and the only fat in the dish is what comes naturally from the beans (which is fairly minimal). But this isn’t one of those veggie soups that you love because it tastes okay and is really good for you. This stuff tastes really good! Meat- and non-meat-eaters alike have fallen for this chili, and I hope you will, too!

veg chili


Ingredients:

•5 garlic cloves
•3 medium cooking onions
•3 celery ribs
•1 green bell pepper
•1 red bell pepper
•1 orange or yellow bell pepper
•2 small zucchini
•2 small yellow squash
•2 cups yellow corn kernels (fresh, canned or frozen)
•28 oz can red kidney beans
•28 oz can black beans
•28 oz can garbanzo beans
•15 oz can pinto beans
•28 oz can diced tomatoes
•15 oz can tomato sauce
•4 Tbs tomato paste
•2 tsp chili powder
•1 Tbs cumin
•1 Tbs coriander
•2 tsb cayenne pepper
•salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

1. Finely chop the garlic. Chop the rest of the vegetables so that they are roughly the same size (you want them to cook at the same speed). I generally chop into larger pieces so you can bite into the vegetables, but smaller pieces will cook faster.
2. Rinse and drain all beans (and corn, if canned).
3. Combine all ingredients in a large (8 quart) saucepan.
4. Once all ingredients are thoroughly combined, cover and heat over medium heat. Stir occasionally.
chili 35. Once the chili begins to simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until vegetables are tender. Stir regularly to make sure the bottom does not burn.
6. It should take about an hour from the time you turn on the burner to when the vegetables become tender, but timing will depend on your pot, stove and size of vegetable pieces.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

chili 4My preferred way to serve this chili is with a dollop of plain yogurt, and if I want a little extra spice, a dash of cayenne pepper. The cool dairy and little extra spice go well with the cumin and coriander. However, don’t worry! You can still sprinkle with chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese and/or some sour cream and serve with corn tortilla chips. Or even serve in a bread bowl. The traditional chili accompaniments work quite nicely!


Tips:

•Where’s the liquid? When you first combine the ingredients, you’ll notice there is very little liquid/sauce. Don’t worry, as you cook the vegetables, water will be released and it will get cooked into the sauce. You don’t want to add any additional liquid because it will become too soupy. This should be fairly thick.
•The timing for cooking the chili is really more of a suggestion. About an hour is the bare minimum of what you should do. If you want something lighter and crunchier, do less time (just note the flavors may be less cohesive). I tend to let it simmer a little longer (an additional 20 minutes or even more), to make sure the flavors fully develop. You’ll be surprised how long the veggies will hold up before becoming too soggy or overcooked.
•This dish is freezer friendly. It makes 4 to 5 quarts. When I was living alone I would make it and freeze in several single-serving containers and it would last several weeks.


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Coconut Red Curry

22 07 2010

As a vegetarian, you tend to eat a lot of stir-fry. And getting creative with stir fry can be a challenge. In the end, it’s all sautéed vegetables, perhaps with a new combination of vegetables and/or spices. That’s why I’ve been trying to make more homemade dishes that are just as convenient and full of good-for-you veggies, but with a little more pizzazz – dishes that provide a little more sense of adventure and accomplishment. So here’s one that has become a good ol’ standby. It’s super fast, inexpensive and, of course, delicious!

coconut curry


Ingredients:

•1 Tbs vegetable oil
•2 tsp sesame oil
•4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
•1/2 large red onion, diced into large pieces
•1 green bell pepper, diced
•3 cups broccoli florets
•1 zucchini, halved and sliced
•3 cups green beans
•2 Tbs red curry paste
•1 tsp grated ginger
•1 tsp red pepper flakes
•16 oz can coconut milk
•Salt
•8 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
•prepared brown rice


Directions:

curry 11. Heat vegetable and sesame oils in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add garlic, onion, pepper, broccoli, zucchini and green beans and sauté for 4 minutes.
3. Add red curry paste, ginger and red pepper flakes and mix well. Sauté an additional minute.
4. Add coconut milk and stir until thoroughly combined.
5. Add salt to taste and bring to a simmer.
6. Add tofu and gently simmer for 10 minutes until all vegetables are tender throughout and the tofu is thoroughly heated.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

This dish is best served over rice with a garnish of fresh basil.


Tips:

•This meal is so easy and quick. You can substitute vegetables with whatever you have in your crisper or whatever you find at the store. You can also omit the tofu for a lighter dish, or replace tofu with other items (potatoes, seitan, etc.).
•Play around with the spices some. When I’m sick, I like to make this dish with more ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. When I have people with “milder” taste buds I back off on the red pepper flakes, sometimes even just replacing with a pinch of black pepper.
•For a slightly lighter dish, use light coconut milk. It makes the dish a little less heavy and less sweet, but still very flavorful.






Sundried Tomato Gnocchi

22 07 2010

I’ve never gotten into the whole make-your-own-pasta thing. But here’s one pasta I will make over and over again. The recipe is easy, malleable and produces delicious (non-traditional) gnocchi! Instead of waiting for potatoes to cook and using a special flour, you just have to purchase a container of ricotta and use the all-purpose flour you have sitting in your cupboard.

This is from yet another great recipe from the amazing BrokeAss Gourmet.

gnocchi


Ingredients:

•1 1/3 cup ricotta
•16 sundried tomatoes (from a jar), chopped
•1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
•2 1/2 cups flour
•2 egg yolks
•3 garlic cloves
•salt


Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, sundried tomatoes, parmesan, flour, yolks, garlic and a pinch of salt.
2. Mix until a sticky dough forms, adding more flour if/as necessary.
gnocchi 13. Turn out dough onto a floured surface roll into 4 or 5 long snakes, about 3/4 inches to 1 inch thick.
4. Cut into 1 inch pieces.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a light boil and add gnocchi. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until gnocchi floats to the surface.
6. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

This gnocchi has a great flavor in and of itself, so you don’t want to serve it with anything overpowering. My favorite is what you see in the picture at the top. Sauté 2 cloves of garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for a minute or two. Add the cooked gnocchi and pan-fry over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Add 1/2 a pint of grape tomatoes (cut into halves), 2 cups of fresh spinach, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until the tomatoes start to soften and the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with a little parmesan and serve immediately.

This is also good in a simple cheesy cream sauce (think: most filling, rich, tasty pasta dish EVER). Also, a great appetizer is to take some cooked gnocchi, pan-fry in olive oil until the edges are caramelized, and serve as an appetizer with toothpicks and a tomato dipping sauce.


Tips:

•I liked the idea of having a couple bites of pure sundried tomatoes in my gnocchi, so I opted not to use the food processor and to just mix by hand (chopping the sundried tomatoes somewhat small beforehand). It was also for this reason that I opted to use jarred sundried tomatoes over dry ones. The recipe didn’t specify, but I would recommend this just to have the added moisture.
•My first inclination was to add all sorts of spices and herbs into the gnocchi. I did finally opt for some garlic. But there are two main takeaways here. 1) You can really mold this into whatever you want. Replace sundried tomatoes with some other flavorful veggie or herb (perhaps roasted garlic?). 2) Just be careful not to overdo it. It is, afterall, pasta – something that is normally basically flour and salt. One or two additional flavors is enough, and the more simple you make it, the more different things you can do with it once it is made.






BLUEBERRY! Pancakes

10 07 2010

I tend to stock up on berries anytime they look amazing, or worse, when they are super on sale. This weekend was one of the first times in a while I could sleep in and be lazy, and it happened to coincide with having several pints of blueberries in the fridge. So what to do? Make my favorite blueberry pancakes, of course!

blueberry pancakes

These are delicious, packed full of berries and easy to whip together. The only downside is the time it takes to cook all the pancakes (I am generally not too patient in the morning) – but if/when you have the time, it’s totally worth it!


Ingredients:

•1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
•3 Tbs sugar
•2 1/2 tsp baking powder
•1 tsp salt
•2 large eggs
•1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
•4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking
•3 cups fresh blueberries


Directions:

batter1. Preheat oven to 250º F and place baking sheet in oven.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together eggs, milk and melted butter.
4. Mix wet mixture into dry mixture until thoroughly combined. Gently incorporate blueberries.
cooking pancakes5. Heat large skillet (or large griddle if you have it) over medium heat. Once hot, melt enough butter just to cover the bottom of the pan.
6. Pour 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook about 3 minutes per side (or until browned to your liking) and transfer to baking sheet in oven until ready to serve.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

I’m not a big butter-and-syrup pancake-eater to begin with, but I swear these pancakes don’t need a thing. Just plop them onto a plate, cut into them with a fork and enjoy the sweet blueberry goodness! (Although if you REALLY love syrup, feel free to top with some good maple syrup and even a few toasted walnuts. It’s okay, I won’t judge.)


Tips:

•One of the best things about this recipe is that you can just replace blueberries with most any other berry or fruit and it works well. One of my favorite alternatives is to make banana walnut pancakes (mash 2 ripe bananas into the mixture and add 3/4 cups walnuts).
•The problem of making pancakes for 1 (or even 2) is that there’s too much batter! It’s usually too complicated to half a pancake recipe accurately. And you can keep the batter for only another day or so (if that). My recommendation is to just make the whole batch (even if it’s WAY more than you’ll eat). Then let any leftovers sit out to cool to room temperature (only an hour or so after eating) and then seal in a Ziploc bag and freeze. They’ll be good for a week or more and all you have to do is pop in the toaster oven to reheat.






Sweet Potato “Enchiladas”

7 07 2010

I love enchiladas, I love sweet potatoes – I LOVE sweet potato enchiladas! Below you will find the recipe for my favorite meal. The recipe is simple, takes a small investment in time and rewards big with large quantities and big flavor. I particularly love this using my favorite tomatillo sauce recipe.

sweet potato enchiladas


Ingredients:

•2 large sweet potatoes, diced small
•1 large cooking onion, diced
•1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
•1 Tbs ground cumin
•2 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp salt
•6 cups tomatillo sauce (32 oz. pre-made salsa verde can be substituted)
•12 corn tortillas, cut into halves
•2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (yellow or white – whatever you prefer)
•2 cups Monterey jack


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450º F.
2. Toss sweet potatoes, onion, vegetable oil, cumin, garlic powder and salt and place in a large casserole dish.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and bake an additional 10 minutes until edges are brown.
4. Once baked, remove sweet potatoes and turn down the oven to Preheat oven to 375º F.
5. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. And then spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom.
6. Take 4 tortillas and layer to cover the bottom of the dish.
7. Spread 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the tortillas.
8. Spread half of the sweet potato mixture over the tortillas.
9. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of each cheese over the sweet potatoes.
10. Take 4 tortillas and layer to cover the sweet potatoes.
11. Repeat steps 7 through 10.
12. Spread another 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese over the top.
13. Loosely cover the dish with foil and place in the oven (set to 375º F). Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
14. Optional: Remove foil and turn oven up to 500º F. Bake on top rack until starts to brown.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

This dish is great by itself. However, my ideal dinner is this served with short grain brown rice, refried black beans, a small side salad (of baby spinach, grape tomatoes and red onion), and a little fresh salsa and sour cream. Yum!


Tips:

•So, as I’m sure you could tell, this is not exactly a recipe for enchiladas. I like to make this more lasagna style because a) it’s easier, b) it gets you more filling without having to use TONS of tortillas (but without seeming like there is not enough tortilla), and c) I always mess up enchiladas when I serve them, so this just makes it messy to begin with, allowing you to say “it looks like that on purpose!.”
•If you do want to make this into actual enchiladas (as I occasionally will), just make individual enchiladas by dipping tortillas into the sauce (you’ll need probably closer to two dozen tortillas), and fill with 1/4 cup of filling and a large sprinkle of each kind of cheese. Wrap and place seam side down in a casserole dish. Cover with extra sauce and sprinkle with cheese and bake as instructed above.
•You can really use any quality tortilla for this dish because it will soak up the sauce and melt into the dish. However, if you make enchiladas, I recommend trying <a href="https://beetnikrecipes.com/2010/06/23/favorite-things-1-tortillas/"these hybrid tortillas – it will make wrapping easier. If you use a less flexible corn tortilla, simply wrap in foil and bake for 10 minutes at a low temperature and that should help.