Roasted Bell Pepper and Spinach Sandwhich

This is the sandwich to go with my gazpacho recipe. Not too complicated but tasty!

This recipe makes 2 sandwiches, but can easily be multiplied.


1 red pepper pepper
Olive oil
1/4 onion, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach (frozen is fine)
2 rolls (I used torta rolls)
Mustard
Horseradish
2 slices of vegan swiss cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Rub the pepper with some olive oil. This does not really help with the roasting process, just adds flavor.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the upside is lightly browned.

While the pepper roasts, sautee the slices onions and spinach in a pan over medium heat, with a touch of olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, set aside.

Remove the peppers from the oven and turn them over.

Bake for another 15 minutes.

The skin should be charred now and the pepper should practically be falling apart.

Place your pepper in a zip-lock bag. Let it sit and cool for 5 minutes.

Now the skin will be soft and cool enough to peel off. I usually peel the pepper in the bag, so there is less mess. Just peel off all the charred skin either with your fingers or a small knife.

Now cut the pepper in half. The steam and attached seeds will come out easily.

Wipe away any remaining seeds.

Set the two pepper halves aside.

Now we can assemble….

Heat a pan (the one you did the spinach in is fine) over medium-high heat.

Take spread of mustard and horseradish on each roll.

Add a slice of cheese on one side of each roll.

On half of the bell pepper on top of the cheese for each roll.

Add the spinach mixture on top of the pepper pepper.

Top with the other piece of the roll.

Squish the sandwich down a bit, this will help it all stay together

Place in the hot pan. Cook a few minutes, until the roll is crisp and golden.

Flip over and repeat on the other side.

Now you have a tasty grilled sandwich to go with your soup!

Gazpacho

Before I ever started eating a plant-based diet, I did have a vegetarian roll model: Lisa Simpson. I remember when the The Simpsons Episode “Lisa the Vegetarian” premiered. After snuggling with lamb at a petting zoo, Lisa deicdes to become a vegetarian for Animal Rights. Homer, of course, has a big BBQ, with the main dish being a whole smoked pig. Lisa decides to help out her fellow meat-gorging Springfielders and makes gazpacho. Someone askes what it was, she answered “It’s tomato soup served ice cold!”….no one is really cares.

The other day I wanted grilled cheese and tomato soup. That is not really the most nutrious meal, so I decided to jazz it up a little. I could add some veggies and avocado to my sandwhich to add nutrients, no problem. I could make my own tomato soup, but I wanted some than just cooked tomatoes, espcially because it was a little warm out that day. Then it hit me, “It’s tomato soup served ice cold!” A cool bowl of delcious raw gazpacho would be a lovely compliment to my veggie sandwhich.

I based the recipe on my own knowledge and a bunch of other recipes I saw on Google (I really liked all the veggies in The Pinoneer Woman’s recipe). I added or left out what best suit me. By the way, some recipes will call for worcestershire sauce. It is not vegan or vegetarian, it contains anchoivies. I left it out, but a little bit of soy sauce would be a good replacement.

I will post my sandwhich recipe in a separate post.

The soup recipes make 4-6 servings.

Gazpacho
4 cups diced tomatoes (I used canned, but fresh would be lovely)

2 cloves of garlic
1/2 medium onion, pealed
1 cucumber, cut into quarters
1 zucchini, cut into quarters
1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
2 stalks of celery
1 large carrot, cut into quarters
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
2 tbs fresh clinatro
1 tbs fresh chives
Water, as needed
Chili powder
Salt and pepper

It is pretty simple, throw everything in a food processor, except the  chili powder, salt, and pepper. I recommend pulsing it slowly at first to break chop the big pieces. I left mine a little chunky. Add water as needed to bring it to a soup-like consistency.

Season with the chili powder, salt, and pepper as desired.

Pour the soup into a big bowl and let it chill. The longer it sits, the better it tastes. I let mine chill while I made my sandwhiches.

Once it is cold, serve it up and garnish with some hot sauce, extra clinatro or chives, or anything you like.

Fresh, healthy, and full of flavor! It is a good thing I am a Simpsons junkie, or I would have missed out on a great dinner. Actually, you would be surprised how often I quote the show. It even helped me in my car accident. There is an espisode where the family’s car is sliding on the ice and everyone is shouting out what to do. My dad told me that Lisa was right, “Tap the breaks and turn away from the slide!” and I always remembered it. When the police officer came to my accident, he said I did the right thing to keep the car from spinning more. Thank you Simpsons!

And hey Mom, “Give me a slice!” (family joke)

Peanut Butter Noodles

I cannot remember where I got this original recipe years ago. It seems like something from “healthy college living” magazine, but I know I made this while I was still in high school.  Oh well…

I make this often and it indeed came in handy in college. Cheap ingredients that are usually already in your pantry and very filling. However,  it can be high in calories so you need to keep your portions reasonable. But have no fear, it tastes even better the next day so no need to polish off the leftovers right away.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Peanut Butter Noodles
8 oz. of spaghetti
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, does not matter)
3 tbs rice wine vinegar
5 tbs soy sauce
2 tps fresh ginger, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Siracha, to taste
Water
1 medium cucumber, pealed, cut in half, and sliced
Chives, minced
Cilantro

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Then cook the spaghetti according to the package.

While that cooks, in a small bowl combine the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and Siracha. Add a little bit of water as need to help it come together. It should be smooth (unless you used chunky peanut butter) and slightly runny. It wont coat the noodles properly if it is too dry and clumpy.

Drain the spaghetti, reserving a cup of the water.

In a large bowl, add the spaghetti and the peanut sauce. Mix together well, adding a little of reserved pasta water as need to help it coat evenly.

Next add cucumber slices and chives, mix well.

Top with the cilantro and little more Siracha is you desire.

You can eat this warm or cold, and like I said,  it is better the next day when all the flavors settle in.

Krupnik: Polish Barley Soup

I mentioned before that I am predominately Polish and I learned about my heritage mostly from my amazing grandmother (see my Pierogi post). I am heartbroken to say she passed away this week. My family has another angel to watch over us all now. She died of atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries to due to fatty build up. I originally went vegan after my uncle passed from a heart attack, vowing I would do everything I could to counteract my family health history. Now I know I will never go back to the standard American diet.  The best way I can honor her memory is to live a long healthy, happy life. I want to live to see my great-grand children. I will tell the stories my grandma told me about her mother’s life back in Poland, and teach them how to make delicous Polish dishes.

I heard my grandma mention barley soup before, but when she visited we usually made pierogi or kapusta. I have wanted to make this soup for awhile, mainly because it is already vegan friendly. This is popular dish is quintessential peasant food. There are various recipes with different vegetable variations. This is common version (and it happens to already be vegan). There are ones that have meat, but meat scrapes used to be hard to come by, so it was a treat on occasion only.

This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

Krupnik
Olive oil
1 large  yellow onion, chopped
2 cups porcini mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
10 cups vegetable stock (a few cups can be water)
1 cup pearl barley
1 tsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat some olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes. Cook until the onions are slightly translucent and the potatoes soften.

Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add the vegetable stock.

Add the barley, parsley and the bay leaf. Mix together well.

Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Cover and cook for 1 hour, stir occasionally.

Once the barley is cooked, season with paprika, salt, and pepper.

I garnished it with a bit more paprika and some dill. I also had a side of pickled beats and kapusta I bought at a Slavic store.

I miss you so much already my beautiful babcia. Thank you for teaching about my heritage. I will always be a proud little Polish girl.

Southwest Quiche

I have done a quiche recipe before but I wanted to try a different recipe. This is a Southwest inspired quiche, mainly because I work at a Southwest cafe and thought that sounded good. This can be a lovely brunch or can be paired with a fresh salad for dinner.

Southwest Quiche
1 vegan pie crust (I used frozen)
1 block of firm tofu
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup soy milk (add more if not blending well)
2 tps turmeric
1 tps cumin
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 cup salsa of your choice ( I used the black bean and corn salsa from my work)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a pie pan with cooking spray.

Shape the pie crust into pie pan, set aside.

In a food processor or a blender, add the tofu block and soy milk, blend until smooth. Add the turmeric, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Blend until combined.

Pour the tofu mixture into a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients Mix well.

Pour the tofu/veggie mixture into pie crust.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the filling is firm.

 Topped with tomatillo salsa and paired with a cabbage salad.

Top your Southwest treat with some salsa and enjoy!

Mashed Cauliflower

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was very lovely, so nice to spend time with my new family.  I thought I would post some of the recipes I made. I am going to break it into four posts to make it easier.

Here is the recipe for mashed cauliflower. It has a lot less carbs than potatoes. Now, I am not going to lie…I did not have high expectations. Mashed Potatoes is one of my favorite foods and I thought nothing could replace it. But this was fantastic! It is just as good, if not better. And it was so easy.

Mashed Cauliflower
1 medium head of  cauliflower
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Wash the cauliflower head and dry.

Remove the florets from the base stem.

Fill a large pot with water and add the florets.

Place the pot on the stove over high heat on the stove. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, uncover and add a bit of salt. Cook until the cauliflower is tender.

Drain well and return to the pot.

Add the remaining ingredients and mash everything together well.  Try to get the cauliflower as smooth as you can.

Now your mashed cauliflower is ready to serve! I topped mine with vegan gravy but any traditional mashed potato toppings would work great too.

Vegetable Stew with Red Wine Gravy

I don’t have a cute story behind why I made vegetable stew. I just thought of it and made it. Regardless, it was delicious and hearty. A lovely fall dinner!

This makes about 4 servings. I made this in a slow cooker but it can be done over the stove as well.

Vegetable Stew with Red Wine Gravy
3 tbs of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
6 small red potatoes, cut in half
3 large carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 large parsnips, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 a medium white onion, chopped
3 tbs of flour
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 bottle of red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 tsp herd de provence
Salt and Pepper
Water, as needed
Turn the slow cooker to low. Add the vegan butter and let it melt.
 Add the halved potatoes, chopped carrots and parsnips, and the chopped onion.
Add the garlic and flour. Mix until all the veggies are coated in flour.
Add the wine, herb de provence and enough water to ensure all the veggies are covered.
Cover and let it cook on low to medium-low heat until the veggies are soft the gravy is thick.
Season with salt and pepper.
You can serve this with a big piece of bread like I did for dinner the night I made this. Or have it over rice like I did the next day for lunch. Both were delicous.

Veggie Pot Pie

Like I have said before, Michael is usually no help when it comes to figuring out something for dinner. But tonight he actually said pot pie! I had all the ingredients already so I was more than happy to oblige his request.

I made the crust using Bisquick because it was what I had on hand, and I used fresh veggies too.

This recipe makes two small personal-sized pies.

Veggie Pot Pie
Crust:
2 cups Bisquick
1/4 cup soy milk
Filling:
2 large carrots, chopped finely
1/2 medium onions, chopped finely
4 stalks of celery, chopped finely
1 large potato, cut into small pieces
5 tbs flour
1 can of veggie broth
Flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
2 veggies patties (I used black bean burgers)

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the Bisquick and soy milk. Once it comes together, transfer to a well-floured surface and knead until smooth.

Spray two ramekins or pie pans with cooking spray.

Roll out the dough into 4 circles. Make sure two of the circles can will fully cover the bottom and sides of the ramekins, with a little over hang. The other two need to cover the tops with a little overhang.

Cover the bottoms of the ramekins with the circles for the bottoms. Press the dough down firmly and seal the edges tight.

Heat some olive oil in a large pot over the stove.

Add the minced carrots, minced onion, mince celery, and the potato pieces. Saute until the veggies are soft.

Sprinkle the flour onto the veggies. Stir to coat thoroughly.

Add the can of veggie broth. Stir and break up any flour chunks.

Season to taste with the parsley salt and pepper.

Simmer for a few minutes until the gravy comes together. Remove from the heat.

Crumble up the veggie patties, add to the pot and mix together well.

Put half the filling into each ramekin. Cover each with the other dough circle. Seal the edges well.

Cut 4 slits into the top for ventilation.

Spray the tops with some cooking spray and place in the oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden.

Creamy veggies and a crunchy golden crust! Yum!

Aloo Mattar

Sorry I haven’t posted in so long, I’ve just been lazy. But I am going to make up for it with a totally awesome meal. The other day I couldn’t decide what I want to make for dinner, so I asked my boyfriend. He usually says “I don’t know”, but this time he actually had a request! He wanted this gravy peas and potato dish his mom used to make. After some research on the internet, I found what he was talking about. This recipe is based on the one from Manjula’s Kitchen called Aloo Mattar (Potatoes and Green Peas). And, he’s family eats roti, which I’d never heard of before. I am used to naan bread, but I thought I would try making it. And, since I had cilantro in the fridge, I decided to make a chutney too. I will post the other two recipes later, but here is the aloo mattar for now. 


A few of the spices might take a bit of work to find, but if I can find them on the Big Island, I am sure you can too. 

Aloo Mattar

3 medium boiled potatoes

2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 cup frozen green peas

1 minced green chili, minced

1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon asafetida
2 tablespoons coriander 
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika 
2 teaspoon garam masala
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro 



Peal and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  
Add them to a pot of cold water and bring to boil on the stove. Cook until soft. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
Add the onions and cook until translucent. 
Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. 
Add the frozen peas and cook until warmed. 
Add the potatoes. 
Add the minced green chili, cumin, asafetida, coriander, turmeric, paprika, turmeric, and gram masala.  Mix together well and cook until for about 10 minutes, covered, and stirring occasionally. 
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they are soft. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with some cilantro. 
It is good on it’s own, but it is amazing with the cilantro chutney, which I will post tomorrow. Michael’s only complaint was it is more like “white people Indian food”….my answer was “well, a white girl made it!” hahahaha.  I really suggest this dish, it’s easy and so freaking good. 

Spinach Tofu Quiche

I am so sorry I have not posted in awhile. Life got busy all the sudden. But let me update you! I am doing much better after my car accident. My back is sprained and my neck is still stiff, but I am up and about so it’s okay. I also got a new kitty, kind of a long story so I will spare you. Her name is Zoey and she is a stray who is still in the process of being tamed. She and Penny are getting along like sisters now. Love my little ohana 🙂  And, I also have a boyfriend now! Which brings me to my recipe for this post….

Zoey ‘Uala

Michael, my boyfriend, has been really sweet and helping me figure out what is wrong with the power steering on my car so I thought I’d make him something nice. He is a meat eater, but what guy would turned down any home-cooked meal from a girl? I was bored in class so I was searching recipes on VegWeb and came across The Best Spinach Quiche Ever, and thought it sounded amazing. And, like I said, I figured Michael would eat it anyways. I did some variations from the recipe, mainly using red pepper instead of zucchini and added some turmeric. I used silken tofu because I think it has a more egg-like texture, but it didn’t quite set-up right like extra firm tofu would have. It made it harder to take out of the pan while hot, but overall no big deal. It was delicious, had the nice fluffy egg texture, and Michael enjoyed it too.

Spinach Tofu Quiche
Olive oil
1 pie crust (I used a pre-made Pilsbury one)
1 red bell pepper
1/2 of an onion
1 carton of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups fresh spinach
crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 block silken tofu
Turmeric

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

Roll out the pie crust into the pan,  here is a video if you don’t know how to do so.

Chop the bell pepper, onion, and any really big mushroom slices into bite size pieces.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the veggies and saute until the begin to caramelize.

Pour the wine in to deglaze the pan. Once all the liquid is absorbed, remove from the heat.

In another skillet, heat more olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, spinach, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat.

In a blender, add the tofu and the spinach mixture and blend together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, add the tofu mixture and the red pepper mixture. Mix together well.

Now pour the the filling into the pie crust and smooth out the top.

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. The center will be a little jiggly but firms as it cools.

Michael’s only complaint was it needed more salt, which as I’ve mentioned before I am a salt queen so I held back on the salt while making it so he would not be overwhelmed.

But I loved it, so making this again sometime.

I promise I will post blog more regularly again now that my life is back together!