Saturday, January 13, 2018

Lemony Wheat Berry and Garbanzo Bean Salad

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cans garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped fine
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 large kale leave, sliced in thin ribbons
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest from
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon basil paste, or 1/4 fresh bunch chopped
  • several grinds of black pepper
Prepare wheat berries by simmering in the water and salt until tender. This could take anywhere from 1 hour to 2 1/2 hours. Drain and cool to room temperature. 
Prepare dressing by combining lemon juice with oil drizzle while whisking in small bowl or measuring cup.
Place all ingredients in large bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Makes about 8 cups of salad.  Will keep in refrigerator for 2 days.

Recipe for Pressure Cooker Seitan with no added fat, vegan

"Chicken" Seitan

1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons hemp protein powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons Chicken flavored Vegetarian Bouillon
2 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/2 teaspoon Poultry seasoning
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature

Mix all ingredients together, knead for a couple of minutes and let sit for twenty minutes.
While this is resting place broth ingredients into pressure cooker and bring to a boil without the lid:

6 cups of water
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons Chicken flavored Vegetarian Bouillon

Divide dough into ten equal pieces about the size and shape of a small biscuit, drop into boiling broth then cover and seal pressure lid. Simmer for twenty minutes. Take off the burner and let it depressurize before removing lid.
Keep these in the freezer to use in recipes in place of meat.

Plant-based Eggplant Marsala, low fat

While visiting relatives in Las Vegas during the thanksgiving holiday we had the good fortune to dine at one of the great Italian restaurants there. We ordered eggplant Marsala and enjoyed it very much.  It is eggplant "steaks" in a mushroom sauce which has a complex, tangy taste due to the lemon juice and wine.  Now that we are back home, we couldn't wait to try making it without fat. It turned out fabulous. I borrowed from two recipes posted at SparkRecipes, one by Frenchifal and the other by Ffrench15 and I also mimicked the version we enjoyed on thanksgiving.

Since I didn't have any Marsala wine, I actually used Chianti in this and it turned out well.

Eggplant Marsala

Serves 4


1 eggplant
1 cup Chianti
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups sliced brown button mushrooms
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, whole
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon Bragg 24 herb seasoning
Sea salt for dredging, 1/4 cup or so
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, whole grain low fat
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/2 lb pasta (alternate: serve over brown rice)
6 paper towels

Step 1: Peel eggplant, cut off ends and slice into 4 thick slices the long way (or more depending on size of eggplant). Dredge in salt and press between thick layer of paper towels for 20 to 45 minutes.

Eggplant, peeled and sliced into thick steaks

Eggplant ready for breading in flax seed meal mixture
 Step 2: Rinse slices and pat dry. Coat with mixture made of bread crumbs, flax seed meal and 1/2 teaspoon Bragg 24 herb seasoning. Brown in nonstick skillet without oil, 5 minutes per side or until golden brown and tender.  Alternate method, place under broiler for 4-5 minutes per side.

Breaded eggplant

Eggplant breaded and ready to broil

Broiled eggplant in Marsala mushroom sauce

Step 3: Slice mushrooms and arrange in nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until golden. Add broth, wine, lemon juice, minced garlic, rosemary and Bragg seasoning. Simmer while eggplant and pasta cook, or about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Prepare pasta according to package directions. Do not rinse. Set aside.
Step 5: Combine flour and milk, stir with small wire whip to remove all lumps. Add mixture to wine sauce and simmer for two more minutes until thickened.  Add eggplant steaks to sauce and if necessary simmer until fork slides easily into the eggplant.  Sometimes broiling, although providing a nice brown finish will leave the insides not completely cooked.

Add fresh parsley last
Step 6: To serve, place 1/2 cup or so of pasta on each plate. Spoon 1/4 cup of sauce over it and then lay an eggplant slice over. Spoon enough additional mushroom sauce over the eggplant to cover. Garnish with parsley.

Serve eggplant Marsala with a dark green vegetable like broccoli

Friday, January 12, 2018

Spinach Loaf for the plant based diet

Adapted from "Low Fat Meat-less Meatloaf" this version has quinoa, lentils and lots of spinach!

Vegan Spinach, Quinoa and lentil loaf (don't tell the meat-eaters, they will think it is meatloaf)

Ingredients to be placed into large bowl and set aside:

1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup vegan meat substitute such as ground seitan
1/2 cup wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon chia seed
1/3 cup rinsed quinoa

Ingredients to be placed in food processor:

3 cups fresh spinach or 3 large handfuls (or equal amount fresh kale leaves)
1 box silken tofu, firm organic
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed or pre-cooked equivalent
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 teaspoons garlic powder or 1 tablespoon fresh minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Not-Beef vegetarian Bouillon

Combine processed ingredients with the items in your large bowl until well incorporated, then place in loaf pan.  Cover with balsamic vinegar sauce and bake for one hour at 350 degrees fahrenheit.  Serve with additional sauce.
Leftovers work well in sandwiches!

Balsamic Vinegar Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Meatloaf for the plant-based diet, no added fat

Low Fat Meat-less Meatloaf

The first step is to turn on the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.


1/2 cup boiling water with
1/2 cup dry TVP granules, or beef flavored TSP and set aside while you get everything else going.

In a food processor, combine the following:
(or you can make this entire meatloaf without a food processor by dicing everything very fine but it may need a bit of water to make everything stick together)

1 cup diced tofu
1/2 cup walnuts 
1/4 cup flaxseed meal whisked with 1/3 cup hot water
1 teaspoon hot sauce such as Sirachi 
1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon paste, or "not-beef" flavor powder
2 tablespoon fresh parsley—don't skip this
1 tablespoon fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce—don't skip this
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pour into very large bowl along with:

1/2 cup chopped celery 
1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup finely sliced or shredded carrot
1 cup of dry breadcrumbs (if you are out, put three slices of whole grain bread through the food processor and use that instead, or oatmeal or soda cracker crumbs)
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
rehydrated TVP

Roll up your sleeves and stir it all together with your hands (don't forget the TVP—I can't tell you how many times I forget that….) Knead for a couple of minutes to get the gluten forming.
Form into a loaf shape and place in one large or two medium sized bread pans (lightly spray-oiled).

Brush the top with the super-fantastic-extra-special red sauce (really, don't skip this part):

8 tablespoons ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar or date sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Bake for  75 minutes, remove from oven and let sit for 20 minutes before devouring.  If you want it done quicker, use two smaller pans. If baking as two medium loaves adjust the time down to one hour.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Dutch babies made without eggs, or Puff Pancakes for the Plant Based Diet

Take out of the oven at 35 minutes and dust with powdered sugar and lemon zest.
Dutch Babies are a unique pancake that celebrates the egg and what it can do under the right circumstances.  Normally it puffs up to several times the size of the batter in a hot oven.
We used to make them a lot when our daughter was young and loved the taste and the show of them.  After we stopped eating things with a face or a mother I never even tried to make one but it is one of the breakfast items I have missed.  The new egg replace product, "VeganEgg" is so different that I just had to try and make Dutch Babies again—but I was skeptical that it would work.
Fortunately, it turned out surprisingly well.

Place 4 individual ramekins (4 inch diameter each) in oven and set temperature to 425.
After batter is ready, remove ramekins or pull out oven rack to where you can pour the batter into them. Place 1 tablespoon vegan butter in each ramekin right before pouring in the batter along with a quick spray from your can of spray canola or other oil to coat the inside of each ramekin.

Wet ingredients to be placed in Vitamix or other really good blender:

2 cups non-dairy milk (I used cold coconut milk or almond milk from a carton—not the canned variety)
2 ounces soft silken tofu (or regular tofu blended with some of the non-dairy milk from this recipe in a microblender such as a Magic Bullet)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Then sprinkle in the dry ingredients and blend immediately:

1/4 cup VeganEgg powder
1/2 cup flour such as Bob's 10 grain or coconut flour, or your favorite type
2 tablespoons Low Fat Bisquik
3/4 teaspoon salt

Pour 1/4 of the batter into each hot ramekin as quick as you can after placing the vegan butter and a bit of spray oil in each.  Bake for 20 minutes and then turn the heat down to 375 and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Dust with powdered sugar and a squirt of lemon juice.

Alternate Recipe without Bisquik:

Dutch Baby Pancake for One 

1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon soft tofu
1/4 teaspoon each—vanilla and almond extract

Blend in Magic Bullet (mini blender), then add dry ingredients all at once and blend again:

1 tablespoon VeganEgg
3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour, or your favorite flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt.

Cook same as above.

Batter will be thick like cake batter.

After cooking for 12 minutes
This is as tall as it ever achieved, but taking it out of the oven too soon results in a raw and doughy center.  It will deflate a little as it continues cooking.  Too bad.

20 minutes

Plant based Dutch Baby—I should have photographed them right when they came out of the oven.  This is about 10 minutes later.

Serve with real maple syrup, or your favorite.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sour Dough Bread from a no-knead beer recipe

Sour Dough Bread made with flaxseed meal and whole wheat

This recipe doesn't turn out like a dense brick!!!

Ramona's Starter (altered slightly to what I had in the pantry which wasn't the rye flour called for).
2 cups potato water
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup "Better For Bread" white flour
2 teaspoons yeast
Large jar and cheese cloth with a rubber band to keep it in place.

Place starter ingredients into large jar and stir to combine, let sit at room temperature for about 4 days or until it smells nice and sour.  Add 1/4 cup each whole wheat flour and tap water every other day and stir.  (After the 4th day I kept this in the refrigerator except for when I added the new flour and water, after which I left it on the counter for a few hours.)

Today I had enough to try and make a loaf of sour dough bread.  I have used the "No-Knead" bread recipe with great success in the past, but I have never been able to turn it into a whole grain bread that isn't the consistency of a brick.  I thought using a real sour dough starter might help—and it did.

Recipe for Sour Dough Bread:

2 cups bread flour ("Better For Bread")
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon sweetener, such as raw sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon flaxseed meal
     Toss the dry ingredients together and then add the wet:
1 cup sour dough starter (Ramona's recipe or your favorite recipe)
1/3 cup beer
1 1/2 cups warm water with 2 teaspoons yeast stirred into it

Stir it all together until it forms a nice, sticky ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled.  I have found that leaving the dough very wet results in a much better texture and softness to the final loaf.
Place an oiled sheet of parchment into a medium sized skillet and punch dough down, shape into loaf and place it in the paper lined skillet on top of your stove.  Let rest until doubled in size, then make a slit in the top of the loaf and dust with flour.
While the bread is rising, place a large iron dutch oven (or iron camping pot with lid) into the oven and heat to a temperature of 500 degrees f.  Let the oven and pot get up to this temperature for 30 minutes.
When the loaf looks like it is doubled, open the hot oven, remove the lid and use the paper to transfer the dough to inside the dutch oven.  Put the lid back on, shut the oven door.  Set the timer for 30 minutes and turn the oven temperature down to 400 degrees f.
When the timer goes off, remove the lid and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.

Cool loaf on wire rack before cutting.  Good luck with that.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Stuffed Mushrooms, Vegan No-onions

One of my favorite appetizers during the holidays, or when dining out before we started eating only plants and no added fats was Stuffed Mushrooms.  I used to make them with cornbread stuffing and sausage, or crab and bread crumbs with cheese.

Now I make them with polenta and Smart Dog Vegan Sausage (it only takes one sausage for the entire batch so try not to freak out about the fat in that boy).  And they are fabulous!
Here they are, just starting to cook in a skillet with brown rice and Vegan Not-Beef Broth.

Recipe for Stuffed Mushrooms, plant-based with no added fat


12 large mushrooms, stem removed and use melon baller to remove most of insides

Hollow out the mushroom caps

Filling ingredients:
2 slices polenta, 1/4" dice to make 1/3 cup or so
1 Smart Dog Vegan Sausage, 1/4" dice (or homemade vegan sausage)
2 stalks celery, 1/4" dice
2 tablespoons brown minute rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Bragg essential amino's
2 tablespoons Daiya dairy free mozzarella shreds
2 tablespoons mushroom broth
1/2 cup of mushroom remains, 1/4" dice
1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Stir ingredients together, stuff into hollow mushrooms and place in non-stick skillet with lid and 1 cup of broth and simmer for 30 minutes over medium heat.  Or bake at 350 in a shallow dish, covered, for about 30 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
Done stuffing and ready to cook!