Category Archives: Veggies

April 2017 Cooking Class – The Versatile Chickpea

April 2, 2017

Lasagne, salad and foccacia

April’s class featured the versatile chickpea. Chickpeas are not just for falafels and hummus. There is a myriad of different ways to cook with them. We enjoyed Roasted Chickpeas as a snack, Cauliflower Bites made with chickpea flour as an appetizer, a Tomato Based Lasagne with a chickpea ricotta, a White Lasagne using chickpeas blended into the white sauce. The meal was served with a green salad dressed with Oil Free Italian Dressing and Roasted Chickpea croutons and a sprouted grain focaccia. The meal was topped off with a frozen Pineapple Whip.

Chickpeas, also called garbonzo beans, re a powerhouse of nutrition. These legumes are a good source of dietary fiber, protein, iron, folate and magnesium (just 1 cup of chickpeas will provide 84% of your dietary requirement of magnesium)

Chickpeas can be purchased already cooked in tins or frozen. Or you can easily cook them from dry beans. Two of my favorite methods are:

  1. OVERNIGHT SOAK – Soak chickpeas overnight in a large pot with plenty of water. In the morning, drain the soaked chickpeas and cover with fresh water to about 1 inch above the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and they are ready to use in any recipe.
  2. QUICK SOAK – Place the chickpeas in a large pot with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover. Let stand for 1 hour. Drain and cover with fresh water to about 1 inch over the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and use.

I like to cook a large batch of the beans and once cooked and cooled, freeze on a rimmed baking sheet. Once frozen store in a freezer bag and you have cooked beans on hand for any time you need them. They can be quick thawed by placing them in a strainer and running hot water over them.

Besides the whole bean, chickpeas can also be used as a flour. It is common in Indian cooking, but I use it mainly for making an eggy batter for breading veggies like cauliflower (recipe below), eggplant and zucchini. I also use the flour for a vegan omelette and French toast.

As usual, our class started with a Green Smoothie. This month the smoothie was pineapple blueberry with parsley. I love parsley smoothies.

Pineapple Blueberry Parsley Smoothie

Pineapple Blueberry Parsley Smoothie

2 cups parsley

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups pineapple (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

 

 

Breaded Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower Bites

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ cup unsweetened and unflavoured plant based milk (almond, cashew, soy, etc)
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour (also called besan, chana or gram flour)
  • Salt, onion powder, garlic powder, to taste (about 1/2 tsp each) and pepper (1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix milk, flour and spices in a large bowl until well blended. Add cauliflower florets and toss until well coated. Place bread crumbs in small dish. Dip cauliflower florets in bread crumbs and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Serve as is or with a dipping sauce. Use this same recipe for other veggies like eggplant and zucchini.

Tomato Based Lasagne

NOTE: You may not need all of the noodles, tomato sauce, cheese, or chickpea mixture that you make.

  • 1 pkg lasagne Noodles
    • Prepare according to package directions
  • Approximately 5 cups Tomato Sauce (make your own marinara or use purchased spaghetti sauce)
  • Cashew Cheese:
    • ½  cup cashews
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • ½  tsp garlic powder
    • ½  tsp onion powder
    • Juice of ½ lemon (or up to 1 lemon)
    • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • ½ cup water (plus more as needed)

Soak cashews for 2 hours or overnight. Place all ingredients except the water in a blender.  Add about ½ cup water and blend until smooth. If necessary, add a splash more water to keep it blending. Taste and adjust seasonings – add more salt, nutritional yeast, lemon juice or spices.

  • Chickpea Ricotta

    Chick peas:

    • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, mashed fine
    • ½  cup chopped spinach or kale
    • 1 tbsp miso (or substitute soy sauce)
    • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • pepper

Mash chickpeas with a fork or by pulsing in a food processor till a fine texture. Mix miso with lemon juice and add to chickpeas.  Flavor the chickpeas with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Mix in finely chopped kale or spinach. (if using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out excess water)

You can substitute your favourite hummus for the chickpea mixture.

  • Veggie Layer

    Veggies:

    • Mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 or 2  cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 large pepper (your choice of color), diced
    • 2 carrots, grated or chopped in a food processor
    • Salt and pepper
    • Also can use zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauli, etc

Dry fry veggies, without oil, until just tender crisp. If necessary, add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Use any mixture of vegetables you like. You will need 4 to 6 cups of cooked veggies. Season with salt and pepper

To Assemble:

A standard baking dish will accommodate two layers plus the top layer of noodles and sauce.

  1. Assemble all ingredients, noodles, tomato sauce, cashew cheese, chickpea mixture, and cooked veggies.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Line a large baking dish or lasagne pan with parchment paper
  4. In your parchment lined dish, spread a layer of your tomato sauce
  5. Spread noodles, 1 layer thick over the sauce. Break noodles if necessary to cover all areas
  6. A thin layer of chickpea mixture
  7. A layer of veggies
  8. A layer of cashew cheese
  9. A layer of tomato sauce
  10. Repeat noodles, chickpeas, veggies, cheese and tomato sauce
  11. Top with noodles and tomato sauce for final layer.

Cover with a lid or foil. (Covering the dish first with parchment then foil will keep the topping from sticking to the foil when you remove it.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbling.  Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

White Lasagne

Note: you may not use all the noodles or white sauce that you make.

  • 1 pgk Noodles (brown rice or whole grain)

Cook noodles according to the package directions

  • White Sauce
    • 3 cups cauliflower florets
    • 2 ½  cups water
    • ¾  cup cashews, soaked
    • ¾  cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • ½  cup nutritional yeast
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • Juice of 1 ½  lemons
    • 1 ½  tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp salt

Boil cauliflower until tender. Drain and place cooked cauliflower in a blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

  • Veggies
    • 4 cups sliced Mushrooms
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 large pepper (yellow, orange or red), diced
    • 2 carrots, grated or chopped in a food processor
    • Finely chopped kale or spinach
    • Salt and pepper
    • Also can use zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauli, etc

Dry fry veggies until just tender crisp. If necessary, add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Use any mixture of vegetables you like. Add kale or spinach at the end of cooking. You will need 4 to 6 cups of cooked veggies. Season with salt and pepper

To Assemble:

  1. A standard baking dish will accommodate 2 layers plus the top layer of noodles and sauce.
  2. Assemble all ingredients – noodles, white sauce  and cooked veggies.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F
  4. Line a large baking dish or lasagne pan with parchment paper
  5. In your parchment lined dish, spread a layer of white sauce
  6. Spread noodles, 1 layer thick over the sauce. Break noodles if necessary to cover all areas
  7. A layer of white sauce
  8. A layer of veggies
  9. A layer of white sauce
  10. Repeat noodles, white sauce,  veggies, white sauce
  11. Top with noodles and white sauce for final layer.
  12. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake at 350F for 1 hour or until hot and bubbling.  Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

 

Oil Free Italian Dressing

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar, or to taste (or substitute your vinegar of choice)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp agave, honey, brown rice syrup or raw sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings (or to taste)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 10 to 15 seconds on high speed.  From The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can (15 oz/425 g)  or 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of ½ lemon or lime
  • Spice option 1: 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp each salt and onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne
  • Spice option 2: 1 tsp each garlic powder, cumin, curry, paprika, ½ tsp salt
  • Spice option 3: ½  tsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp onion powder; 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, ½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Drain and rinse chickpeas and place on a baking sheet. Bake until almost dry throughout, about 30 minutes, shaking the pan and tasting every 10 minutes. Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl. Add lemon or lime juice and toss until coated. In a small bowl, mix spices. Add spices to chickpeas and toss until coated. Roast for another 10 minutes being sure the spices don’t start to burn. Turn off oven and leave chickpeas in the oven until cool. If chickpeas are still moist inside after they cool, reheat oven to 200F and roast until dry.  Store in sealed glass jar. If they get moist, place in low oven until dry.   Use as a nutritious snack or in place of croutons to top a salad.

Pineapple Whip

Pineapple Whip

  • 1 ripe pineapple (or purchased frozen pineapple)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tbsp agave or honey
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • Toasted coconut for topping

Peel and core the pineapple. Chop and freeze on a cookie sheet overnight. Place can of coconut milk in fridge overnight. Open bottom of coconut milk can and pour off coconut water. (Reserve the coconut water for another use.) Place coconut milk solids, honey and ginger, if using, in a high powered blender. Blend until well combined. With blender running, slowly add frozen pineapple until mixture is thick and creamy, about the consistency of soft ice cream. . Transfer to a shallow container, cover and place in freezer to firm up for 2 to 4 hours.  Serve with toasted coconut on top. (If the whip freezes hard, let it rest in the fridge for ½ to 1 hour before serving.)

If your blender is not powerful enough to handle the frozen pineapple, thaw slightly before using and add a bit of pineapple juice to keep mixture moving.  Can also be made in a food processor.

Adapted from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

Pineapple Whip topped with Blueberries

 

 

Homemade Vegetable Stock or Broth

March 20, 2017

I make a lot of soups, stews and chowders, especially during the cooler months. And I also use stock for sautéing veggies, instead of oil. As a result I go through a lot of bullion cubes. I always assumed making your own stock was a waste of good veggies. Many recipes call for onions, garlic, carrots, celery and leeks. You boil these until a tasty stock results then strain out the veggies and throw them out. Why not just make a veggie soup and eat the veggies???

A short while ago, I had a chance conversation with a friend of my daughter’s. Turns out he also follows a plant based diet and loves to cook. He shared with me his method for stock and it changed my opinion on homemade stock. The next day, I began saving veggies for my own stock making. Thank you Shain Brown. I am forever in your debt. (Check out Shain’s Not-Meat Loaf and Creamy White Bean Soup recipes as well.)

Shain’s question to me was, “What do you do with your vegetable scraps?” I compost them, of course. He challenged me, “Why not make a broth with them, then compost them?” Now that makes perfect sense.

Returning home after our conversation I was gung-ho to start my stock. For two weeks I threw every veggie scrap into the pot. Almost nothing went in the compost pail.  It’s cold here in Manitoba right now, so I can keep my stock pot in the porch and the veggies stay frozen until I am ready to make stock. (You can store yours in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.) When the pot was over half full, I set out to make my stock. The result was not bad but not as good as I had hoped. I consulted Google and found that some veggies can produce a bitter broth, namely the crucifers – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussell sprouts. Quite a few of those had made it into my stock pot.

For my second batch, I was more choosy on my veggie scraps, opting for the trimmings from onion , tomato , garlic , carrot , parsnip , celery and leek. After a couple of weeks, I had enough to try again. Eureka! It was delicious. I am hooked on homemade stock now. If you are not convinced, read the ingredients on the box of your favorite bullion cubes. I used an organic, non-GMO boullion cube and the first ingredients are: corn starch, salt and palm oil. All of these before any veggies are listed. None of these in homemade stock.

I have now finished cooking my fourth batch of stock, still mostly the basic veggies – onion, garlic, leek, carrot, parsnip, celery and tomato.  (Mushroom stems can also be used, but I seldom have any to throw into the pot.)  I also add the insides of one jalapeño pepper (the pith and seeds left when you slice of the outer flesh). It gives the stock just the slightest hint of spiciness. But limit it to one pepper unless you want a spicy stock. Two makes a pretty fiery stock!

A few ground rules in making stock. Don’t use any veggie that you wouldn’t throw into a soup – that is, nothing dirty or rotten. Scrub your carrots and wash you leek and celery trimmings well to remove any dirt. Avoid cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts). Also they say potatoes, sweet potatoes and squashes will result in a cloudy stock. However, I now add small amounts of sweet potato and squash trimmings just because I love the flavor they bring. You can also add herb trimmings in small amounts – rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, but keep in mind how you use your stock and if these flavors will complement. You may not want a strong rosemary flavor in every soup you make. However, a handful of parsley or cilantro stems makes a good addition. A bay leaf is also a good addition to the pot, as is a pinch of peppercorns. I have also added the remnants after squeezing one organic lemon. It gave the stock a mild bit of zip.

You can add salt or not, depending on your preference. I prefer no salt in the stock, instead adding it to the final product to the desired degree. In my last batch I added a teaspoon of no-salt seasoning (like Mrs. Dash).

Watch this good video clip on making broth from scraps.

Vegetable Stock

  • clean vegetable trimmings – onion, garlic, leek, carrot, parsley, celery, mushroom, tomato
  • optional – small amount of sweet potato or squash trimmings
  • small amounts of herb trimmings – parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc (optional)
  • water
  • bay leaf, peppercorns (optional)

Save your vegetable trimmings and freeze until you have at least a few litres of trimmings. (Keep a plastic bag in the freezer for trimmings.) When you slice an onion, save the top and bottom you slice off as well as any fleshy leaves you peel off. The dry outer skin can be used in small amounts as it makes the broth darker. When you use garlic, save the bottom heal part you generally cut off. You can also add the garlic skins.  With leeks, wash well and toss in the top green parts you usually throw away.

When you are ready to make stock, place the trimmings in a large pot and add water to fully cover the veggies. Throw in a bay leaf and some peppercorns if desired. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for several hours. (about 5 hours) A crock pot set on low and simmered for 12 hours or more will also work. When the veggies are very soft turn off the heat and let the stock cool. Once cool, strain out the veggies. Taste the stock and if desired, you can continue to simmer the stock to reduce it to make a stronger, more concentrated stock. Compost the veggies.

Finish broth, with head space for freezing

Store the stock in containers in the fridge or freezer. If freezing, leave at least 1 inch of head space in the jar for expansion during freezing or your container will crack. You can also freeze the stock as ice cubes if you often use small amounts, or if you have made a very strong, concentrated stock. I like to keep one jar in the fridge at all times for oil free veggies sautéing,  If you are planning on making soup, take a few jars out the night before to thaw or place sealed jars in warm water to speed thawing. (Warm water not hot, as you don’t want glass jars to crack due to sudden temperature change)

 

 

 

 

April 2016 Plant Based Cooking Class

April 10, 2016

 

April mealThe theme for this month’s plant based cooking class was Cooking with Tofu. The 16 participants enjoyed a green smoothie, fried rice with scrambled tofu, stir fried veggies in Chinese Brown Sauce topped with marinated tofu, and a granola bar. All the items were whole, food plant based and no oil was used. The recipes for the class are below.

Digestive Green Smoothie

I believe one of the most important things you can do to improve your diet is to add more dark leafy greens to your diet, and one the best ways to do that is by consuming a green smoothie every day. Challenge yourself to a 30 day trial and see the difference it makes.

This green smoothie uses ingredients that are good for digestion – parsley, pineapple and ginger. It follows the basic green smoothie recipe from the Raw Family (see there website for great information on the importance of greens in your diet) of 2 cups greens, 2 cups fruit and 2 cups water.

SmoothieThe parsley makes this a stronger green tasting smoothie, so if you are new to green smoothies, feel free to substitute half the parlsey with spinach.

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup banana chunks, fresh or frozen
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (or to taste)
  • 2 cups parsley
  • 2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Scrambled Tofu

TofuScrambled tofu can be part of a hearty breakfast or lunch (served with pan fried potatoes and veggies) or can be added to a grain dish like fried rice for an extra protein punch. If using on its own for a meal, a little tofu goes a long way, so be sure to add lots of veggies to tofu.

For the class, we were using the scrambled tofu in the fried rice dish. Since the rice was already chock full of veggies, we didn’t add the kale or mushrooms to the scrambled tofu.

Feel free to use any combination of veggies you like. Asparagus would be great for a spring breakfast meal.

As demonstrated in class, dry frying without oil is not difficult. We used a non-stick electric frying pan and did not need to add any water to prevent sticking.

  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 red pepper, diced fine
  • 1 ½ cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups kale or spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • Pinch turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (350 gram) package firm or extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the tofu into small cubes and break apart with your hands (or rub on a grater or metal sieve) or a food processor into crumbles (do not puree).

Sauté onion and pepper, and mushrooms until tender in a frying pan on medium heat, without any oil. If mixture begins to stick, add a tablespoon of water at a time to keep it from sticking. Add kale, garlic, smoked paprika, turmeric and chilli flakes (if using) and mix well.  Add crumbled tofu and nutritional yeast and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

The tofu scramble will keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 days, or in the freezer for about a month. If freezing, spread on a baking sheet and freeze then transfer to a air proof bag or container then when you need a scoopful for a stir fry you can just scoop out what you need.

Adapted from Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, and from her Breakfast Burrito post.

Marinated Tofu

Marinated tofuI have been making this marinated tofu for over 30 years and it has always been a favorite with the kids as well as adults. You might even win over the most ardent tofu hater with these. They are great as toppings for a rice, grain or veggie dish. For the class, we topped the Veggies in Chinese Brown Sauce with it.

Note you can change up the spices in the marinade to your liking – add crushed chilies or cayenne for a spicier tofu.

For a bacon substitute, slice your tofu into 1 inch by 4 inch strips and add 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or 1/4 tsp chipotle chili for a spicier option) to the marinade. These are great in sandwiches.

  • 1 (350 gram) package of extra firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp dry ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup water

Drain tofu and slice into ¼ inch sticks. Place tamari, ginger, garlic and water in a non-stick frying pan and mix well. Add tofu and coat thoroughly in marinade. Slowly cook on very low heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid absorbed by the tofu. (this will take about 30 minutes depending on the amount of heat used) Place tofu strips on parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake in a low oven (250F) for about 40 to 60 minutes or until desired firmness. (Give them a stir every 15 minutes. ) Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Also freezes well.

Fried Rice with Scrambled Tofu

Fried RiceThe whole grain, or brown, basmati rice is my favorite. Cooked as directed below, you get a light fluffy rice that kids and white rice lovers will enjoy. Remember, rice also freezes well, so cook up a big batch and freeze the left overs for a quick supper. (Freeze on a baking sheet and then transfer to a air tight bag or container. That way you can easily scoop out whatever you need.)

  • 1 cup whole grain basmati rice, uncooked
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 – 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup scrambled tofu (optional)

To Cook Rice – Bring approximately 6 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Add salt, if using. Add rice and boil uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large frying pan, add onion, peppers, celery and carrot and stir fry until almost done. Add garlic, kale and soy sauce and cook a few minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Just before serving,, unthaw green peas by running under hot water. Add to the rice just before serving. If adding scrambled tofu, add just before serving.

Note, fried rice is also good with added marinated tofu pieces instead of the scrambled tofu.

Chinese Brown Sauce

Rather than buying low sodium soy sauce (which is about the same price as regular), I buy the regular and dilute it by about 1/2 for each recipe.

This sauce recipe, from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook, has become a staple in our household and I often use it for company dinners. I generally triple the recipe and keep a jar in the fridge for fast suppers.  For the class, we served this veggie dish topped with marinated tofu and alongside stir fried rice.  However, it is also fabulous as a topping on noodles. Feel free to change up the veggies and even use as a sauce with frozen veggie mixtures.

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup brown rice syrup, honey, agave or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp arrowroot powder or corn starch

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened. Store in fridge in airtight container for up to 1 week.  Use with vegetable stir fries with grains or noodles.

Five Spice Sauce

 The Five Spice Sauce, from Forks Over Knives, The Cookbook, is our favorite takeoff on the Chinese Brown Sauce. It is especially good over noodles and veggies.

  • ½ cup Chinese Brown Sauce
  • ¾ tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • ¼ tsp crushed red chillies

Combine spices with the brown sauce. Use with stir fried veggies and grains or noodles.

Stir Fry Veggies

VeggiesFor the class, we used a simple combination of onion, red pepper, mushrooms and broccoli but any vegetable combination would do.  For a dish alongside rice, I like to dice the onion and pepper in large 1 inch square pieces and leave the mushrooms large by cutting them into quarters. But if I am serving this over noodles, I like to cut the onion and red peppers into thin strips and slice the mushrooms.

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 6 large mushrooms, cut into quarters (cremini or button mushrooms)
  • 1 head broccoli, stems removed and separated into small florets
  • Chinese brown sauce
  • Toppings – marinated tofu, roasted cashews or toasted sesame seeds

Peel broccoli stems and slice inner core into slices or match stick size pieces. In a large frying pan, non-stick preferred, add onion, peppers, mushrooms and broccoli stem pieces. Over medium heat, stir fry until almost done, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary to prevent sticking.  Add Chinese Brown Sauce and broccoli. Steam until broccoli is just bright green and tender crisp.  Serve topped with marinated tofu pieces, roasted cashews or toasted sesame seeds.

Veggie options – snow peas, cauliflower, carrots, gai lan, etc.

Oil-Free Granola Bars

Granola bar ingredientsThis is a very versatile recipe you make so many different ways. And unlike my previously posted granola bars, this one contains no oil and requires no baking time. Be sure to pack the mixture firmly into your pan to ensure the bars hold together well.

Granola barsThese bars have just the right amount of sweetness. They are perfect for a breakfast on the go (pair up with a green smoothie), a snack, for the lunchbox, or as a dessert.

  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1 ¼ cup rice crisp cereal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup add-ins of your choice (see example list below)
  • ½ cup brown rice syrup
  • ¼ cup peanut or almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add-In Examples:

  • Seeds – Hemp, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame or Flax seeds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Chocolate – Cocoa nibs or small dark chocolate chips
  • Dried Fruit – Cranberries, Raisins, currants or chopped apricots
  • Chopped Nuts – pecans, almonds, peanuts or cashews

For the class I used ½ cup sliced almonds, ¼ cup currants, ¼ cup cocoa nibs.

Line a 9 inch square cake pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats, rice crisps, cinnamon and add-ins. (If using chocolate chips, add in later)

In a small saucepan, combine brown rice syrup and nut butter. Cook over medium heat until mixture bubbles, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour hot nut butter mixture over oat mixture, using a spatula to remove everything from the saucepan. Mix well until everything is evenly coated. If using chocolate chips, add once mixture has cooled slightly, or they will just melt. (It helps to freeze the chocolate chips) Transfer mixture onto the prepared pan and pack down well using wet hands (careful, it might be very hot). Using a rolling pin, pastry roller or your hands, compact the mixture firmly and evenly. Use your fingers to press the edges well. (This will help the bars stick together).

Place the pan, uncovered, in the freezer for 10 to 20 minutes or until firm enough to cut.  Using the parchment as a handle, lift the mixture out of the pan and cut into bars. Return the bars to the freezer or fridge for storage. If desired, you can individually wrap each bar for on the go snacks.

Double the recipe and pack into a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

From the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

 

Bonus Recipe – Singapore Noodles

We didn’t make this recipe in the class, but it is one I often serve to company alongside fried rice and stir fried veggies in Chinese Brown Sauce.

  • 1 onion, cut into slices
  • 2 carrots, cut into match sticks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin slices
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 4 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder, or to taste
  • ¼ pound brown rice noodles, cooked
  • Ground black pepper

Stir fry onion, carrots, pepper and mushrooms in large skillet without any oil for 3 to 4 minutes. If necessary, add water 1 tbsp at a time to prevent sticking. Add vegetable broth, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and curry powder and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add cooked noodles and season with black pepper.

Change it up by substituting your favourite veggies.

From Forks Over Knives, The Cookbook

 

Green Bean Casserole

July 26, 2015

It’s green and yellow bean season. The only way we generally eat fresh beans, other as an ingredient in soups and stews,  is steamed with a bit of salt. However, I understand that the Green Bean in Mushroom Soup Casserole has been a staple for ever. I just have never eaten it. Faced with a bowl full of leftover steamed green beans, I went in search of a vegan Green Bean Casserole. Oh She Glows had a variation of one from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, and both had rave reviews on the casserole. Being a fan of both of these blogs I decided to try it out, with some modifications.

Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole
Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole

Both Oh She Glows and Fat Free Vegan Kitchen used a vegetable broth thickened with flour and either almond milk or soy creamer for their mushroom sauce. Since I wanted this to be gluten-free as well, I decided to go the cashew cream route for a super rich creamy mushroom sauce base. I used unsweetened cashew milk and soaked cashews for a sauce that thickened up like crazy. If you don’t have cashew milk (its new on the market and not always in stock) you can always substitute a bit more soaked cashews and water for your own homemade cashew milk.

Also, both blogs recommended topping with canned French fried onions. Instead, I fried thinly sliced onions until crispy, seasoned them and used them as the topping. And both baked the casserole but I just did it on the stove top. However, you could make this ahead of time and pop it in the oven to heat it up.

I have to say this recipe lived up to all the rave reviews. It is delicious. Rich, creamy and bursting with flavor, without the addition of butter or cream.

Ingredients for green bean casserole (missing the soaked cashews)
Ingredients for green bean casserole (missing the soaked cashews)

Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole

  • 3 cups steamed green or yellow beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms (I used cremini)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for about 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup water, or more
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • green onions
  • 1/2 large Spanish onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Steam your beans until tender crisp. You can do this step ahead of time. I used leftover steamed beans from yesterday’s dinner.

Saute the Spanish onion in olive oil (add a bit of garlic if desired) until crispy but not burned. This is best done slowly on a low heat. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a blender, blend cashew milk and soaked cashews until creamy.

In a small saucepan, sauté onions, garlic and mushrooms in 1 tbsp olive oil until onions are translucent and mushrooms have released their liquid. Add cashew milk mixture and about 1/2 cup water. Season with salt and pepper and cayenne. Cook until thickened. If the sauce thickens too much, add a bit more water. Add green beans and green onions and simmer until beans are very tender. Top with the crispy fried onions and serve hot.  (Alternatively, you can add the green beans to the sauce, top with the onions and put in a 350F oven to bake until heated through.)

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