Holiday Lentil Loaf 

What does a vegan who is nursing a toddler who’s allergic to soy, wheat, and cashews have for Thanksgiving? Lentils! I actually had this last year too before Jack developed his food allergies, because it’s that good!

I posted a lentil loaf recipe before, and I still make that one often. It’s more of a meatloaf than a holiday dinner.

I should have posted this last week, but life got in the way. My apologies! But this is good for any holiday as a poluty substitute. I actually assembled the loaf the night before and baked it the next day. It is very allergy-friendly and tastes great! Even my  meat-loving husband took several bites!

Holiday Lentil Loaf IMG_0439
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups brown lentils
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 stalls of celery, 
chopped fine
1/4 finely chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, 
minced
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, 
minced
1/4 tsp fresh sage, 
minced
1/4 tsp thyme, minced
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 gluten-free flour
1/4 nutritional yeast
1/2 cup coconut aminos
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 

Cook lentils according to directions on the package.

Cook lentils according to the directions on the package.

While those are cooking, sautée the carrots, celery, and onions in a little bit of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Then remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, add all remaining ingriedents, expect the salt and pepper, and whisk together.

Drain both the lentils and quinoa, add to a large mixing bowl.

Add the sautée vegetables and mix well.

Add the liquid mixture and also mix well.

Spray a roasting pan or baking sheet with cooking spray. Form a loaf on the pan with the lentil mixture.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until heated through and a light crust forms.

Cut off a slice and top with some vegan gravy. Enjoy a taste of the holiday season everyone can enjoy!

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Curry Sweet Potato Stew

IMG_6948

In my last blog post, I shared Jack’s food allergy diagnosis. It forced us into a wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and cashew-free diet. I am have been avoiding most of nuts—besides peanuts, he tested negative for those–until more testing is done too. The other day I realized Jack won’t be able to eat most Indian foods now because they contain ghee. My little Fijian baby loves going to Indian restaurants! So I decided to make my own little curry creation that he could eat.

Curry Sweet Potato StewIMG_6949

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tbs coconut oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, mince
1/4 inch of ginger root, peeled and minced
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tbs mango powder
1/2 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs gram masala
1/2 tbs paprika
Red chili flakes, to taste
1 can of coconut milk
2 cups spinach, chopped
Salt to taste

Add the quartered sweet potatoes to a large pot of cold water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and boil until tender.

While that’s going, add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat.

Once it the oil is heat, add the bell pepper. Cook until tender.

Add shallots, garlic and ginger. Cook until the shallots are soft, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the curry powder, mango powder, ground coriander, gram masala, paprika, and chili flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

Once the potatoes are ready, drain and return to the pot.

Mash them slightly. A few chunks left over are fine, we aren’t making a soup.

Add the spice and veggie mixture to the pot.

Add the coconut milk to the pot and mix well.

Season with salt as desired.

IMG_6950

And there you have it! A tasty pot of sweet potato stew!

IMG_6954The boys are pan-fried chicken and I had lentils. Jack decided he wanted lentils later too. A lovely warm dish for the fall!

Thai Peanut Curry

IMG_2234

I had a horrible allergy day on Tuesday. I woke up with a horrible headache and my eyes swollen shut. Michael gave me a Benedryl and sent me back to bed while he took care of Jack. I woke up later that day feeling better so Michael went in for a half day. I wanted to make him a nicer dinner to say thank-you for taking care of me, but I wasn’t feeling totally up to slaving in the kitchen.  So I turned to a mom’s best friend: the slow cooker. I looked in my fridge and quickly saw I had the right stuff to make a peanut butter curry and just ran with it.  I popped everything in, turned it on, and laid down on the couch with Jack. When Michael came home a few hours later, I just made a pot of rice and we had a wonderful dinner. He said it smelled great right when he walked in the door!

Thai Peanut CurryIMG_2235 (1)

2 cups frozen veggies
 (I used a carrot, pea, corn, and lima bean mix)
1 red bell pepper, chopped (frozen or fresh)
1  16-ounce package of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
2 tbs Thai green curry paste
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp coconut oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tbs soy sauce
3 cups cashew or coconut milk
Optional:
Brown rice
Sriracha
Soy sauce

Crushed peanuts

Ready for this? Place all non-optional ingredients in a slow-cooker, cover and set to high. Cook for 2-3 hours, until the veggies are soft, the tofu is hot, and the sauce thickens to coat everything nicely.

Once it was done, I turned it to warm and made some brown rice. You just serve this roti or another tasty bread too. Then I served a big scoop of the curry over rice. I topped it with a few drops of soy sauce, a good squirt of sriracha, and a tiny dollop more of peanut butter.

15 - 1 (1)
Sweet, spicy, and creamy. But not too rich. Jack is a non-vegetable phase, but he loved the sauce over rice. A great family meal to make with little fuss.

Spaghetti and Beanballs

15 - 2

My husband and son love my meatball recipe. When I make them, I often just have some roasted mushrooms or buy frozen vegan meatballs. But last night I decided to make my own—same recipe as the ones I make the boys, just minus the meat. I wanted to use lentils, but couldn’t find any in my pantry. I did find pink beans so went with those. Pink beans look like small pink kidney beans, but taste closer to pinto beans. They are very popular in Caribbean cooking. I bought a bag awhile ago to make a Caribbean dish and forgot about them.

Also, I always make my own pasta sauce. I like knowing what’s in it for sure, and that it’s not loaded with sodium. This is just a basic recipe, feel free to doctor it up as you like. Or use a jar of your favorite sauce, too.

This recipe makes 5-6 servings.

Spaghetti and Beanballs

1 bag of pink beans
Olive oil15 - 4
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
28 ounce can of tomato puree
14.5 can of diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
12 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup water, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
A bag of your favorite pasta

Soak your pink beans in cold water overnight if possible, they will cook a lot faster.

Place your soaked beans in large pot filled with enough water to cover them with an inch of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook as long as directions on the package say (mine took about 45 minutes). Add more water as needed. Cook until they are soft but not mushy. Drain well and set aside.

While those are cooking, you can work on the sauce…

In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat.

Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the tomato puree, diced tomatoes, water, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Cook for a half an hour, then season with salt and pepper as desired.

Remove from heat and set aside for now.

While the sauce is cooking  you can start on the beanballs (assuming your beans are cooked now)….

In a large bowl, mash up the beans. Leave a few chunks for texture.

Add the oil, nutritional yeast,  bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, sage, and fennel. Then season with salt and pepper as desired.

Add a little water at a time to help it all come together.  You want it to still be soft, but be able to hold shape.

So you could make them into balls and pan-fry them in olive oil until they are golden on the outside. That was my original plan until I realized all my burners were being used (I was making lemonade at the same time as this).

I oiled up a ceramic pan and made them into little mounds. Then I baked them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, and broiled on low for 3 minutes.

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Then I scooped them out with an ice ice cream scoop to keep the ball shape.

Lastly, cook your pasta according the directions on the package (I did this while beanballs cooked).

Add your pasta to the sauce and toss together well.

Plate up the pasta, top with some beanballs, top with your favorite vegan cheese, and enjoy!

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The fennel and sage really give the balls that sausage meatball kind of taste. Pair with a nice salad and you have a satisfying complete meal.

This recipe makes a lot of beanballs. You can freeze them or cut the recipe in half, too.

Broccoli and Parsnip Risotto

I don’t really have a cute story to go with this recipe. I had orzo pasta, broccoli, and parsnips. I thought a creamy pasta dish with some crisp vegetables would be nice for lunch. Yeah…that’s about it.

One ladle at a time…

I love risotto, but hate that it’s usually loaded with a ton of cheese, cream, and butter. Too rich and heavy. I like creamy without all that junk. My recipe only has a bit of vegan cheese and some olive oil–just it’s still rich and creamy. Also, I don’t love that it takes an hour to make well. And you can’t rush it, just be patience.

“This is taking forever, I’m hungry!”

Jack didn’t like that either, he had to go up in a back carry to keep him happy. However, he was more than happy to eat it!

Broccoli and Parsnip Risotto 
6 cups vegetable broth (or you can do like I did, 5 cups water with 1 cup of pureed vegetable baby food)
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large parsnips, chopped
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1 cup orzo
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, bring the vegetable to a simmer over medium-low heat.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.

Add the parsnips and cook until tender.

Add the garlic and broccoli,  took until the broccoli is tender.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a another large skillet over medium heat.

Add the orzo and brown the pasta lightly. Stir continuously to prevent burning. It’s okay if some pieces are darker than others.

Once orzo is all lightly browned, reduce heat to medium-low. Then add one ladle of hot broth to the pot, stir continuously until it is all absorbed.

Repeat adding one ladle of broth at a time and stirring until it is all absorbed until the pasta is tender and the broth no longer absorbs easily. This will take around an hour to complete. Don’t rush it by turning up the heat or adding more than one ladleful.

Before you add your last ladle or so, add the broccoli and parsnips to the skillet.

Once the pasta is tender, remove from the heat and stir in the nutritional yeast.

Top with the mozzarella and enjoy!

Creamy, filling, and loaded with veggies. Your patience has been rewarded!

Samosa Casserole with Cilantro Gravy

This recipe is one of the freezer meals I made a few weeks ago. I wanted something filling and flavorful to enjoy after a long, hard day. I thought of freezing one of my Samosa Pizzas, but I didn’t quite know how to store that. Then I though a casserole would be nice, very hearty from all the potatoes and it would freeze very well. And I had just bought a big bag of sweet potatoes, too.  So I essentially made a bigger batch of the potato filling from my pizza recipe, but used sweet potatoes instead. As for the gravy, I wanted something more the usual cilantro chutney. Something creamier, to really stand up to the sweet potatoes.Like how well hash browns go with saw-mill gravy. So I made up a cilantro version.

I made the casserole in disposable pan and covered it in foil. The gravy I made the day of, but you could freezer it as well. Just put it in a freezer bag.

This recipe makes one 8 X 10 pan, and 1 cup of gravy.
Samosa Casserole with Cilantro Gravy
Filling

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp mango powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbs ginger, peeled and minced

1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp garam masala

2 cups frozen peas and carrots (or any other vegetable mixture you like)
Dough 
2 cups baking mix (I used Bisquick)
2/3 cup water
2 tbs tamarind chutney
Gravy 
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cup water
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic salt
2 tbs flour

Add the peeled sweet potatoes to a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil. Cook until they are soft.

While the potatoes boil, in a small pot add the vegan butter and melt over medium heat.

Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander powder, and mango powder. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add the garlic, ginger, and onions. Cook until the onions soften a little and it’s very fragrant.

Turn off heat and set aside.

Once the potatoes are soft, drain well and return to the pot.

Add the frozen peas and carrots, and the spice/oil mixture. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the baking mix, water, and tamarind chutney. It should make a wet dough, like for dumplings. Set aside.

Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray.

Spread the potato filling evenly.

Tear off dumpling-size pieces of the dough and evenly distribute over the filling.

Cover with foil.

To make the gravy,  blend the cilantro and water in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.

add the oil to small pot over medium heat.

Once the oil is heated, add the fennel, cumin seeds, chili powder, and garlic salt. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add the flour and quickly whisk it into the oil. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the pureed cilantro and whisk in quickly.

Cook for 3-5 minutes, until it begins to thicken slightly.

Remove from the heat and pour into another container to cool

Now you can let it cool, then pop it in the freezer.  Or you can bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. To bake after being frozen, 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. To thaw the gravy, place it in warm water and heat in a pot on the stove once it’s liquid again. You may need to add a bit more water on the stove to keep it from thickening too much.

I popped this in the oven after a long road trip to LA and back this weekend. It was totally what my whole family needed. Nutritious, tasty, and filling, Even the baby loved it. I hope your family loves it too!

Curry Vegetable Quinoa


One day I wanted fried rice, but I had no rice. But I had quinoa though. Then I realized I had no soy sauce. But I had a ton of Indian spices. So I looked up what I could make and came across a recipe from Manjula’s Kitchen called Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf. It looked good so I decided to make my own version.

Curry Vegetable Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Dash of salt
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 piece of ginger, pealed and minced
1 small white onion
Kernels from 2 ears of corn 
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces 
3/4 cup tomato juice
1 jalapeno, minced
Dash of asafetida
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilnatro

In a small pot, add the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. 

While that cooks, heat the coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat. 

Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, curry powder, and chili powder. Cook for a minute, just until it becomes fragrant. 

Add the ginger and onions. Cook until the onions are soft. 

Add the corn kernels, bell pepper, and broccoli. Cook until the veggies are tender. 

Once the quinoa is done, fluffy gently with a fork and let it sit for a minute. 

Add the quinoa to the skillet. 

Add the tomato juice, jalapeno, and asafetida. Stir well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with cilantro.

A flavorful Indian version of fried rice, with plenty of protein from the quinoa. No need for meat or egg!And don’t be afraid to make a big batch of this, the flavors get even better the longer it sits.

Red Beans and Rice

One pot meals are genius invention. Whether you be busy with work, a fussy 3 month-old or both,  it’s nice to still have a home-cooked meal. And even better when there is only one dish to clean!

I  came up with this one day while Jack was napping and I had a few spare moments to think about dinner. It’s pretty much your standard red beans and rice dish, just with frozen kale instead of bell peppers.

Red Beans and Rice
1 lb bag of Kidney Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
5 oz frozen kale (about half a bag)
2 cups uncooked brown rice
10 cups water or vegetable broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tbs smoked paprika
1 tps thyme
1 tps oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste

Combine all ingredients–except the salt, pepper, and Tabasco– into a large pot.

Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.

Cook for an hour. The beans will be soft enough to eat but still a little firm. The rice should be fully cooked. There will be a little bit of liquid left, similar to a light sauce.

Season with the salt, pepper, and Tabasco as desired!

There is something so satisfying in a classic simple meal like red beans and rice 🙂

Lentils With Toasted Walnuts

The other day Jack was super clingy and only wanted to sleep on me. I didn’t have anything better to do so I let him. However, as I reached for the remote, I dropped it out of my reach. It changed to the Cooking Channel with French Food At Home. I am not a big fan of this show because she makes stuff that is really not vegan friendly, but I was not about to reach for the remote and wake Jack up. But just my luck she was making vegetarian dishes, and some really good looking ones too!

The minute she said lentils with walnuts, I knew what I was making for dinner. I followed the basics of her recipe, but changed a few things. I left out the goat cheese obviously. I did not use walnut oil because I didn’t have any on hand. I also used brown lentils, not the french ones she calls for because once again, I did not have any on hand. I also added celery for some added green color.

Lentils With Toasted Walnuts
1/4 cup raw unsalted walnuts
1 cup brown lentils
1 and 1/2 cup water
1 tsp Herb de Provence
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes in the oven. They will be slightly brown and start giving off that nutty smell when ready. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the lentils, water, and Herb de Provence. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until the lentils are soft and the water is all absorbed.

While that cooks, heat the oil olive in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, cook until soft.

Add the garlic and cook for just a minute.

Add the vinegar and mix together well. Add more oil or vinegar as needed to make a very light and runny dressing (I needed a splash of each).

Once the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat. Pour the vinegar dressing over the lentils. Add the walnuts and toss together well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with some more raw walnuts and a few sprigs of thyme if you have it.

We had this a big piece of bread and added a few shakes of red pepper flakes. It’s very rich and filling, a lovely hearty dinner!

Taco Pasta

Yesterday evening while waiting for my son to wake up from his nap, I was browsing on Pinterest. I came across this pin for Taco Pasta. Noodles with a Mexican-style meat sauce. It looked so good and I hadn’t had an actual home cooked dinner since my mom left a week ago. So I decided to quickly make a vegan version of it before Jack woke up.

I did not use a taco seasoning packet like in the original recipe. I never buy spice packets like that, too high in sodium and you never know what else in there exactly. Just make your own spice blend with your own fresh spices.

Taco Pasta
5 oz Penne 
Olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped fine 
1 clove if garlic, minced 
1 package of vegan ground beef (I used Tofurky Ground Beef Style
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/2 tsp garlic powder 
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano 
1/2 tsp paprika 
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1 tsp chili powder 
1 cup salsa (I used pico de gallo) 
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese ( I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/2 cup vegan sour cream 
Vegan cheddar cheese, optional 
Cook the pasta according to the direction on the package. 
While that cooks, add a little olive oil to a large skillet. Heat over medium heat. 
Add the onions and sauté until soft. 
Add the garlic and the ground “beef”. Cook until the “beef” is slightly browned. 
Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, and chili powder. Cook until fragrant.
Turn the heat to low. Add the salsa, cream cheese, and sour cream. Mix well and cook until heated through. 
Once the pasta is ready, drain and return to the pot. 
Add the “meat” sauce to the pasta and stir together well. 
Serve it up and add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top if you wish.

Michael was really happy to have a home cooked meal and so was I. This was so filling and tasty after several says of frozen food and sandwiches. I love the tang from the sour cream.