I have been reading other VeganMoFoers posts this month and I am thoroughly impressed. Lots of people have themes, or an outline for specific days of the week… 31 days of unique spices. A month devoted to orange food! Or 1 food, done 5 ways x5 (cashews and kale so far!). Recipes with ingredients following the alphabet. Me, I just want to be able to post every day.
Then I thought.. 1 week in, a bit late on the theme-front, why not showcase my love of beans. So I will share with you bean dishes for the rest of the month. Get ready for your daily dose of bean!
Lately, I have been on a white bean kick. Baby lima beans, giant lima beans, flageolet beans, bring them on! Ashley thought it was amusing that my bean collection had so many of the same white beans in different containers.
Look closely, and while they are all white beans, they are definitely not the same!
While I also don’t mix different batches of beans, since they may cook at different lengths of time, all my white beans are different. In fact, I don’t have any more lima beans left and only a handful of dried flageolet beans. What I have left are Great Northern beans, white kidney beans, navy beans, Macedonian tetrovac beans and Turkish dermason beans. I am so curious as to how the latter two taste but still fall into the simplicity of the familiar!
I feel so naked now that I am out of lima beans. I used the last of the baby lima beans in this delicious quinoa corn chowder from Viva Vegan. The small, plump yet creamy baby lima beans melded well into this perfect end of summer stew-like corn chowder. Light, yet creamy with a dash of soy milk, a bit of zip from chili flakes, sweetness from the fresh corn and hearty with both the quinoa and lima beans.
It wasn’t even 6 months ago that I likely would have shunned lima beans based on my childhood disdain, but I am so glad that I made the leap to try something new. If you haven’t yet tried cooking up your own lima beans, definitely give it a go. You may never look back!
I hope my white kidney beans don’t get shunned too long… they are just so unsexy compared to its other white bean counterparts. I wonder if the dermason beans will be just as good as the lima beans?
Thankfully, because if not, my pantry-substitute, Better Bulk, has baby lima beans, so the next time I have a hankering, they are right around the corner.
Can you tell I have a few foodie crushes?
Tess Challis, the obvious choice.
You could possibly surmise I love Ottolenghi‘s recipes.
You don’t yet know how much I adore Denis Cotter’s recipes, because I haven’t posted them yet, but I am loving his latest cookbook, For The Love of Food.
There is something so unattainable about cookbook authors.
Then there’s Sarah at My New Roots. I adore her approach to whole, natural foods and want to make everything on her blog. Plus she’s seriously cute and makes adorable videos.
And equally unattainable since she doesn’t respond to my emails. (turns out she has just been UBER busy!)
I have become smitten by her food, instead. So far, her recipes have not let me down: the raspberry dream cake, the sultry peaches and blueberries, the 11-spiced lentil salad, the raw tacos with walnut meat, cashew sour cream and a cherry tomato salsa and the chickpea salad with the Mexican mango dressing.
So when I wanted a recipe for grilled portobello mushrooms for the barbecue, I quickly turned to Sarah’s blog. There were heaps of meat for everyone else, so I only made one burger. No worries if it didn’t work out. But of course, there were no failures. The mushroom burger was fabulous. I shared it with Rob so he, too, could relish in the culinary delicacy he had just grilled for me.
While I only modified her recipe by decreasing the oil and using fresh herbs, this would also be good with dried herbs when I don’t have them blooming on my patio. After grilling, you have a nicely spiced meaty burger with a balsamic glaze. It didn’t taste like a mushroom, so you could possibly convert mushroom-haters, but you won’t be able to fool anyone into thinking this was meat. But it was surprisingly filling!
However, I had one problem.
I made one mushroom; I ate one mushroom; I did not photograph said mushroom.
Thankfully I had some more portobello mushrooms, so after the hubbub of the party subsided, Rob offered to grill me up some more burgers the next day.
However, this time, I chose to smear it with a white bean puree spiced with thyme and garlic, from Power Foods (recipe also here) and then I sprinkled some leftover corn kernels on top. Now we had a complete meal. And a photograph!
Rob prefers hummus to this bean spread, but personally, I found it to be a great twist to a bean spread. The baby lima beans made it creamy with only a touch of oil. The garlic and thyme heightened its flavour, making this a nice and bright spread. Use it just like you would hummus, though: it would be great with raw vegetables, crackers or in a wrap.
This is my submission to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Preeti, to Ricki’s Summer Wellness Weekends, to this month’s Ingredient Challenge Monday for mushrooms, to this week’s Summer Favourites potluck party, and to this month’s Simple and in Season.
I am not sure why, but I feel the need to apologize for my overuse of mango in my recipes.
In the spring, Rob will treat himself to a case (or 2!) of Alphonso mangoes and savour each one, unadorned, possibly over top his breakfast oatmeal. The King of Mangoes does not come cheap, though. They also make Rob a mango snob.
At Sunny’s, they have 3 mangoes for a $1. They are not Alphonso, nor Ataulfo, rather the Tommy Atkins mango. I can’t help myself, though. 3 for $1!
You will notice the difference if eating the mangoes raw (they aren’t as sweet nor as creamy and luscious), and Rob has no interest in eating them for breakfast. But for me, they are a guilt-less way to cook with the mangoes.
In this meal, you have Mango Gazpacho diving into French lentils with an earthy undertone from the cinnamon and cumin, frolicking with the coriander, thyme and oregano. Joanne called it Lentil Mango Picadillo, based off of the Latin Pork Mango Picadillo, but that means nothing to me since I am a novice to Latin foods. Whatever the name, this is quick, easy and healthy. It is a lovely, light lentil salad infused with a savoury tomato-mango salsa. I loved the background of the cinnamon and the bite the French lentils imparted to the salad. Delicious, despite using Tommy Atkins mangoes.
This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Preeti, to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends and to this month’s No Croutons Required featuring lentils.
Please pardon my oven use during the heat wave. The Greek Baked Beans were worth it, though. Delicious lunch-friendly leftovers.
I should be absolved of my wrong doings with this meal. No oven. No stove top. Not even a blender.
Instead, I christened my new spiralizer (thanks Rob!) by making zucchini noodles. I have done julienning by hand, and this is infinitely easier, consistent and pretty! Just look at these long strands of zucchini! In 30 seconds tops, you have your noodles!
I went for a quick, super easy raw tomato sauce. 15 minutes, tops. I told you, no cooking or blender required.
A love of garlic, a must, though.
Adapted from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth (the original recipe was posted here by Tess), this is a zippy, rich tomato sauce. The raw ingredients really make this sauce pop. All you do is mix together crushed tomatoes, raw garlic, fresh basil, fresh oregano, a bit of olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and you’re done!
You’ll be laughing at how simple and healthy this recipe is… but then afraid to bring the leftovers to eat at work, with all that raw garlic.
Now, if you don’t have a spiralizer, this sauce would be equally delicious over linguine or spaghetti, but then you’d have to boil some water for that!
What’s your favourite sauce for zucchini noodles? Or your favourite pasta dish?
Toronto is having its first long heat wave of the summer. Tomorrow’s forecast is for a high of 38C and who knows what it will feel like with the humidity. It is a positive sauna outside and I don’t like it one bit!
Figures that all I want to make are baked beans. Turning on my oven when my house is already 28C inside. I must be nuts.
Nuts for beans, of course!
I am not bent on making your typical ooky sweet ketchup baked beans. I’ve already done the non-traditional, but uber delicious Mango BBQ Beans (not baked but the stovetop preparation makes this much more summer friendly!). I am talking around-the-world type of baked beans.
Because, every country has a different spin on the classic bean dish.
Apparently vegan New Brunswick-style is to use blackstrap molasses and ginger for a zippy punch.
Or I could go more into southern soul cooking, using baked black eyed peas.
How about Mexican-style with Anasazi Beans Baked with Ancho Chile?
Then there’s Sephardic White Beans with Leeks.
Substitute the leeks with onions, add allspice, cinnamon and cloves, and you have Syrian baked beans.
If you were Serbian, you’d bake your white tetovac beans with sweet paprika.
When in Nigeria, you might add curry powder, cumin, coriander, and peanut butter.
A quick glance onto my back porch, with its bountiful flat-leaf parsley, steered me into the direction of Greek Baked Beans (Gigantes Plaki), where giant lima beans are baked with a luscious tomato sauce spiced with smoked paprika, oregano, garlic, parsley and dill. Already a creamy bean, the giant lima bean is brought to a silky high as it is baked in a delicious sauce. Baking confers even heat distribution and somehow allows the beans to continue to become creamy without losing its shape. Lima beans, if overcooked, can quickly disintegrate into mush if you don’t watch them carefully while they are cooking. Browning the beans during the last 15 minutes, allows a slightly crusty exterior to the top beans. The mixture of textures is wonderful.
Serve slightly warm, or at room temperature, with slices of bread, or just as is, which is my preference along with a sprinkling of fresh herbs.
I had lofty gardening goals. My mom told me not to get disappointed if things didn’t work out as planned. I told her all I wanted was my kale to grow.
Let’s just say my garden is not as prolific as Angela’s.
I know the summer has only just begun, but the only thing I have harvested from my garden has been herbs. Since they are in pots, on my back porch, does it really count as my garden? (Of course it is, but you know what I mean!)
I can grow mint and basil.
Last year, somehow, I used mint in so many recipes, that I picked my plant clean and it never bounced back. I thought it was a weed, a perennial at that, but it didn’t even come back for a second year (my garlic chives did, though!). Fair enough, my cousin, who also got a portion of the same plant from my mom, also did not get her mint to return a second year. So it isn’t just my black thumb.
I used this as an opportunity to try different varieties of mint. Richters Herbs sells over 40 different kinds, ranging from the wacky like Marshmallow Mint and Cotton Candy Mint to Peppermint and Swiss Mint. We sampled each one before narrowing in on English Mint, Moroccan Mint and Chocolate Mint. My cousin replaced hers with Mojito Mint!
For basil, I know the problem of the flowering basil and thus am really pleased with my Pesto Perpetuo basil that won’t flower. Just luscious leaves! We also planted some Lesbos basil which has a savoury note and not as pungent as the traditional Genovese basil. My favourite, though, purely by how I acquired it, is my prolific Genovese basil. Remember the 300g of basil I bought when I made the delicious Asparagus, Strawberry and Basil Salad with Mosto Cotto? Since the bunch of basil included the roots, I planted a bunch of the plants into my pot and they have flourished!
Most of my herbs are doing well! The oregano, thyme (English and French varieties), rosemary, Vietnamese coriander, lemon verbena, parsley and cilantro… Even the lemongrass looks bushy! The Thai basil isn’t looking too hot, though, but I didn’t really have any culinary masterpieces picked out for it since I don’t like its anise flavour.
We have some green tomatoes and a few snow peas are beginning to show up, too, but my kale is still tiny. So is my rainbow Swiss chard. I swear my kale is still 6 inches tall and has seemed to have hit a slump in growth. Stuck at 6 inches for the last month. While baby Red Russian kale would be delicious, I only have 4 leaves on each plant! Hopefully as the summer progresses, they will be revived.
In an effort to use my bountiful basil crop, without resorting to the typical pesto (yet), I found this delicious lentil soup with veggies and basil in The Natural Vegan Kitchen. It is slightly different than the recipe posted online here and my adapted recipe is below.
I seem to have an affinity for lentils and carrots, and this soup did not disappoint even though it was a minor component. I don’t often cook typical Italian, but the hint Italian flavours of basil, oregano and thyme were lovely in this soup beefed up with sweet potato and cabbage. Of course, the full cup of fresh basil is what brings this soup out of the standard Italian fare. Scrap soup, I mean stew, even after adding another 2 cups of water. I like my soups hearty, though, so no complaints from my end.
What are your favourite recipes with basil? This is what I have enjoyed previously:
Blueberry Mango Quinoa Salad with a Lemon Basil Dressing
Asparagus, Strawberry and Basil Salad with Mosto Cotto
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup
Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Almond Pesto
Saffron Marinated Paneer Cheese with Fresh Basil, Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds (not vegan, substitute paneer with tofu)
Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew
Asparagus and Chickpea Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce
If you want the best, sweetest cabbage, I suggest braising it for 2 hours. However, I can’t do that every day, especially in the summer when I’d rather not use the oven.
But just like tofu, a cabbage dish can be more about its accompanying ingredients than anything else. Who says cabbage needs to be boring? Adapted from Happy Herbivore, this is a quick stir fry overflowing with cabbage. Mexican in its flavours with a tomato-based sauce spiced with cumin and oregano, there are also red peppers and black beans for a healthy punch. Top with avocado for a creamy accent.
I found this worked perfectly as a meal for 2-3, but if doubling for a larger portion, you will definitely need a big skillet!
Salads can be costly.
I’m not talking about the lettuce, or the vegetable toppings, or even the dressings…
I needed to buy a bigger pannier for my bike when I started to eat huge salads at work. One container for the lettuce, another for the toppings and another for the dressing. It takes up a lot of room, but the fresh salad is definitely worth it.
Last year, I lamented that my Mexican salad with the creamy avocado dressing needed to be eaten soon after assembly. Once dressed, lettuce doesn’t last that long (more the power to wilted kale salads!). This year, when I spotted a tomato-based Mexican salad at Namaste Gurl, I was smitten. Her salads were gorgeous and while her tomato-based dressing seemed quite unorthodox, it sounded delicious. If I kept all the components separate, I knew I could enjoy this salad all week long.
Sauces and dressings are what clinch a meal. Fresh, tasty produce helps, too, but oftentimes the dressing pulls it all together. And in this salad, the dressing is what really shines. It is a light, silky smooth tomato and red pepper sauce with a hint of cheese from nutritional yeast, smokiness from smoked paprika and zip from the chili flakes. Cumin and oregano keep this Mexican. You could add your favourite vegetables to the mix, to replace the cabbage, but I highly recommend the red pepper which conferred a sweet silkiness to the dish, almost as if it were roasted. I have never pureed my tomato sauces, but this dressing was so creamy because I used my immersion blender to make it smooth. The sauce was so good, I had to stop myself from gobbling it up straight from the stovetop.
Instead, I held out to use it as the dressing for this Mexican salad with black beans, cherry tomatoes, and avocado overtop mixed greens. Be creative with your toppings – add in some whole grain crackers, fresh bell pepper, cucumber, etc. Romaine worked well with this combination as well. I bet there are countless things this sauce could be used for, and I am sure I will whip it up again when I make my first batch of zucchini noodles!
I don’t cook with broccoli that often. Rob does, though. A LOT. Once or twice a week, I kid you not. It is his favourite vegetable. In fact, he was quite distraught that it didn’t top the list of veggie superfoods. Number 11 isn’t too shabby if you ask me, since it was mainly leafy greens that beat every other vegetable.
While I have been exploring new vegetables that could be grown in my backyard, I don’t want to experience ingredient fatigue. Therefore, I have been incorporating non-garden veggies back into my meals. You see, broccoli (and cauliflower) attract a lot of bugs, and thus, didn’t make the cut for our virgin garden year. I will also be breaking out more sweet potato recipes, since they didn’t make the cut either (too much space needed). Nor watercress (needs a lot of water). Not even leek (harder to grow, not very prolific). I am also very sad that we decided not to grow bell peppers, because we were afraid they would never turn red (and what would be the point of non-red peppers? although we will have a chili pepper plant). We will be focusing our energies on easy-to-grow (and tasty) veggies and herbs. Our current list includes kale, Swiss chard, spinach, arugula, beets, kohlrabi, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, snow peas, snap peas, green beans, lemongrass, Vietnamese coriander, cilantro, Thai basil, mint, basil, thyme, oregano, chives, garlic chives, dill, lemon verbena, and the one strawberry plant we bought on impulse .
Sometimes you need quick-and-easy recipes, nothing too earth shattering, for times when you don’t want to think about dinner. This is that dish. There is nothing mind-blowing about this meal, but it is pleasingly tasty. Adapted from Appetite for Reduction, the recipe is a vegan spoof on the 40-clove chicken recipe that I had seen circulating the blogosphere, and even hails from a 1967 Gourmet recipe. This is a dish that combines roasted broccoli with roasted garlic in a spicy-lemon oregano dressing. It is not spicy from the garlic (since there are only 10 cloves of roasted garlic), but rather from the Aleppo chili flakes I added in. For the garlic lovers out there, you could even add more garlic (you may also like my Spanish Lentil and Squash Stew with Roasted Garlic).
Throw everything into the oven, flip it a few times, deglaze your pan, and you have a simple dinner ready for you while you were doing something else.
One of my friends has a sulphite allergy. In short, she could have an anaphylaxis reaction (ie, really bad difficulties breathing) if she consumes sulphites. Sulphites are a commonly used preservative and found in a whole host of foods (processed food, beer, wine, dried fruit, etc). Canada is very good at making food producers label their products with any sulphites used, so I always check labels when I know my friend will be over.
In reality, though, I don’t make many things from processed foods, so I should be ok, right? Well, as it turns out, I have been cooking with a few sulphite-laden ingredients – vegetable broth (not homemade), coconut milk and even dried fruit were among the many culprits I have found in my recent dishes.
So when we needed an emergency girls night in, and when it was -28C outside (with the wind), I scoured for recipes I could make without venturing to the grocery store AND that had no sulphites AND that would taste best the next day as leftovers (since I wasn’t going to cook after work). A pretty onerous task, if I may say so myself!
I narrowed my choices to two options: The New Spanish Table‘s Lentil and Pumpkin Stew with Roasted Garlic OR the Chili Fest Chili from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. The chili was rife with savoury flavours like cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, paprika and oregano. Oh, and molasses! Considering it was so cold outside, the chili won out instantly.
I modified the original recipe by increasing the onions, red bell peppers and carrots while omitting the celery. I used the sweet paprika and Aleppo chili flakes for the heat (and omitted the chipotles in adobo sauce). I mixed up the bean variety by using both red kidney beans and black beans. But, the best addition, the secret ingredient, was bulgur! (I realize that my title gave it away….)
The result was a hearty chili with the mix of savoury flavours. Not my favourite chili, as something was a bit off and I prefer my chili with a bit more robust tomato flavour. Next time I might add some tomato paste. The bulgur, though, was excellent and a healthy way to get the mouth-feel of ground meat, without any meat at all. Other grains – millet, spelt, etc – could also be used. TVP is also an option. In any case, this is a nice way to warm up during the winter. Pair it with a leafy salad, some crusty bread, or just eat the chili plain. The original recipe called for a yogurt-cilantro topping to help with the heat. Personally, mine wasn’t a spicy chili but that’s because I didn’t put in the chipotle peppers!
I will have to find some more red peppers to make that lentil and squash stew, though…
In my last post, I commented that I could have a hard time making up a tasty meal without advance warning. That’s usually because I buy my produce for each dish and then work around what I have and need for my meals. I don’t tend to make too many meals that are completely from pantry staples (I did during my university days, though!).
However, there is something to say about tasty meals that can be whipped together from stuff in your cupboards. I recently returned from a trip and came home to an empty fridge. What to make? Then I knew it! The chickpea and artichoke salad!
I initially spotted this recipe through the No Crouton’s Required round-up about chickpeas (with two variations from the same original recipe from Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm (also posted here)). My variation is adapted from Diet, Dessert and Dogs.
While I may not always be a fan of chickpeas, this was delicious. The fried chickpeas had a nutty, toasted flavour that worked well with the slightly tangy lemon and herb dressing, the mellow artichokes that were scorched nicely and the toasted almonds with their crunch and flavour wrapped up the salad beautifully. This is definitely a salad that shows how all the flavour is in that brown stuff at the bottom of the frypan.
The pantry staples for this dish will definitely be squirreled away in my cupboards for that emergency salad fix for unexpected guests. Who should be more excited – me or my guests?
This is my submission to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by RuchikaCooks.