Friday, February 13, 2015

Chicken noodle soup, only not

Sometimes, especially during the winter months, I like a simple bowl of chicken noodle soup for lunch.  That's a bit of a problem since we no longer eat meat so I want to share this successful recipe as a way to satisfy the need for a soup similar to Campbell's but without animal protein.

Brown rice pasta with celery and soy sausage bits in broth.

3 1/2 cups water
2 cups organic vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon, No-chicken flavor
2 tablespoons sausage flavored TVP, dry
2 cups dry brown rice pasta
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced—optional
a dash of dried parsley

Bring water and broth to boil, add bouillon and TVP and pasta in a 3 quart saucepan.
Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid off, then turn off the heat and add the vegetables and parsley.  Let sit for 8 to 10 minutes with the lid on.
When the pasta is perfect so is the soup—not too al dente and not too soft.  Just right.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Vegan Almond Chicken

Soy curls made to taste like Almond Chicken on a bed of steamed kale

Do you ever find yourself remembering a great meal at a restaurant from years ago, and develop a craving?  We used to like to go to this very typical American-Chinese restaurant in Spokane that served Chinese food the way we liked it, the tackier the better.  Sticky, bright red sweet and sour sauce, bright yellow lemon chicken, you get the idea.  My favorite item on their menu was Almond Chicken.  It was something I never figured out how to make at home (and probably would have cringed at how unhealthy it was anyway).  I found myself wondering how to re-create the essence of what I liked about this dish without re-creating the bad stuff—the animal protein and the greasy gravy.

God Bless Soy Curls.  

A plant based version of the standard American Chinese Restaurant "Almond Chicken"

1 cup              soy curls
1 cup              boiling water
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon, No Chicken Base
2 tablespoons Sliced almonds
1/4 cup almond flour
(or grind up your whole almonds with a food processor)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup bread crumbs (whole grain, dry)
1 cup water
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup almond milk, lowfat
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour
1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon, No Chicken Base
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 tablespoon Miso paste
1 bunch steamed kale 
1.  Dissolve 1 teaspoon of bouillon in 1 cup of boiling water and pour over soy curls to dehydrate.  Let sit for 15 min. or longer while you prepare the other ingredients.
2.  Toast sliced almonds in small skillet until golden brown, set aside to use as topping.
3.  Toast 1/4 cup almond flour (ground almonds), then combine with flaxseed meal and bread crumbs.
4.  Drain broth from soy curls and reserve.  Dredge soy curls in almond flour mixture.
5.  Toast coated soy curls in medium-hot skillet until browned on all sides.  Set aside in warm oven.
6.  Combine sauce ingredients (1 cup water, 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, garbanzo bean flour and 1/2 teaspoon bouillon) in blender or Magic Bullet.
7.  Pour sauce ingredients into skillet and bring to simmer, cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and add almond extract and miso paste, stir to combine.
8.  Place 1 cup of steamed kale or brown rice and 1/4 of the soy curls on each plate, cover with the almond sauce and sprinkle toasted sliced almonds over the top.

8.  Remember to close your eyes with each bite, sigh and be happy and grateful to be alive.  Bless the cook.  Don't bother wiping the grin off your face.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pot Pie Filling over Baked Potatoes

The other day while walking through the freezer section of Yokes, our local market, my daughter mentioned that one of the foods she misses (now that we don't eat meat) is Chicken Pot Pie.  I agreed and mentally filed it away as a recipe to someday turn into a vegan dish.
Nearly Chicken Pot Pie Filling over a baked potato

Pot Pie Filling Recipe, plant-based with no added fat

(First bake 2 or more large potatoes for an hour at 375, or until fork tender.  Let rest for a few minutes wrapped in foil)

2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic 
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 fresh carrots, sliced thin
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon Not Chicken Bouillon 
pinch each of sage, Bragg 24 herb seasoning, dried parsley 
dash black pepper

Brown mushrooms in large skillet, then add the carrots and cook for a couple of minutes.  Combine water with cornstarch and bouillon in a small measuring cup, whip to remove lumps.  Place all remaining ingredients including cornstarch and water mixture into skillet and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes or until thick and bubbly.  (In my opinion frozen veggies don't need to be "cooked" for long, just "heated" so they keep their nice color and texture, so please don't overcook).

Spoon filling mixture over the prepared baked potatoes. Take a picture.

Optional:  If you really want something in this to taste like "chicken meat", I recommend using soy curls chopped into bite size nuggets.  Just add 1 cup soy curls and 3/4 cup more liquid, broth or water.
Optional toppings:  nutritional yeast flakes and flaxseed meal

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Chocolate Orange Truffle Cookies

Chocolate Orange Truffle Cookies, enlightened a bit

When I was a child one of the Christmas cookies my Mom would make each year was something she called, "Pomander Balls", a no-bake cookie made from crushed Nilla Wafers and melted chocolate chips together with sugar and orange extract.  The recipe has since been a favorite of most of our extended family and especially of my husband and daughter.
I wanted to try and create a version without chocolate chips since I am avoiding fat and oil.
This is my version of Pomander Balls, which I respectfully re-name "Chocolate Orange Truffle Cookies" since they aren't exactly the same.

In a food processor combine all the ingredients:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp Grand Marnier
1 tsp orange extract
1 cup pecans
2-3 cups original Grape Nuts cereal, not the flake kind, processed to a fine crumb

Blend everything together and shape into balls about the size of a walnut or about 3/4" diameter.  Roll in more powdered Grape Nuts or chopped pecans.
Store for up to 4 weeks in airtight container in refrigerator.  If they seem dry, occasionally sprinkle with more Grand Marnier as they mature.
Good luck having any at Christmas unless you hide them.

Note:  The goal is to have a crumb mixture that holds together when squeezed so you may have to bump up the moisture by adding more of any or all of the wet ingredients.  Today I had to add a lot more moisture because the air is so dry. Makes about 32 cookies.  (Hard to tell since someone kept snitching as I was making.)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Plant based Quinoa Casserole in the spirit of Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Spinach, Edamame and Artichoke Quinoa Casserole
(inspired by "")

Stirring together ingredients (could be served as a cold salad at this point).

Ready to pop into the oven

2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup plain dry quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup filtered water
2 cups boiling water for soaking cashews
1 13.75 oz can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
10 oz. frozen edamame beans (out of husk), coarsely chopped
2 cups fresh raw baby spinach chopped coarsely
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup vegan mozzarella shreds
1/4 cup vegan cheddar shreds
1 teaspoon flaxseed meal plus more for dusting pan and top of casserole

Ingredients for sauce to be pureed:
1 box soft silken tofu
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

Cover cashews with boiling water and set aside for 15 minutes or longer.
Cook quinoa in vegetable broth and filtered water, let rest for a few minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
Drain and divide soaked cashews in half.  Place 1 cup soaked cashews into food processor with other sauce ingredients and process until smooth.
Coarsely chop remaining cup of cashews and fold into other ingredients with the sauce.
Spread into prepared 9x13 baking dish (oiled lightly and dusted with flaxseed meal) and top with a sprinkling of cheese shreds and flaxseed meal.
Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes at 300 degrees F.

Note to self:  I actually prefer this prior to baking as a cold salad.  I think that making it a couple of hours ahead of serving time would be perfect.

Plant based Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie ready to pop into the oven.
Recipe for bourbon sweet potato pie made without eggs, sugar or butter for the plant based dieter for the holidays:

1 pre-made whole grain pie shell
2 cups baked sweet potato, without skin
1/2 box silken soft tofu
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup almond milk
4 ounces pitted dates
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon agar powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Soak dates in boiling water for 5 minutes, process in magic bullet or equal until smooth. Combine all ingredients in vitamix or food processor until smooth and pour into shell. Sprinkle coarse raw sugar over the top before baking at 350 degree Fahrenheit for one hour. Cool on wire rack, the agar will continue to set the custard as it cools.  Serve at room temperature and refrigerate leftovers.

Plant based Pecan Pie

Recipe for Pecan Pie without eggs, sugar and butter:

Glazed pecans prior to pouring custard filling over the top (which turned out to be less than optimal for the finished appearance—thus, no photo of the baked pie).

1 pre-made whole grain 9" pie shell
10 ounces pecans
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons vegan butter
1/2 cup boiling water
4 pounces whole pitted dates
1/2 box soft silken tofu
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon agar powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place pecans in nonstick skillet with the vegan butter and 1/4 cup of the maple syrup. Stir over medium heat until sauce is hot and bubbly and all nuts are coated for about 4 minutes--do not burn! Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, soak dates in boiling water (in a mixing cup used with a magic bullet if you have one). Purée until creamy.  Combine with all remaining ingredients in a vitamix blender or food processor and process until smooth. Stir custard mixture into nut mixture and pour into pie shell.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note: On my first attempt I thought that placing the nuts in the shell first and then pouring the custard over the top would work but the pecans didn't rise to the surface while baking and the pie didn't turn out looking like a traditional pecan pie.  Learn from my mistake.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pumpkin Pancakes for a Plant based diet

Pumpkin pancakes on the griddle
 Recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes without eggs, butter or dairy:

1 15 oz. can Libby's Pumpkin
1 1/3 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon coconut or date sugar
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Stir together until well combined but don't over-mix.
Heat griddle to 325 degrees fahrenheit and scoop batter with 1/3 measuring cup.  Flip when the pancakes look dry around the edges.