Archive for Vegan

Super Veggie Hummus Wrap

One of the coffeeshops I really like here has a great wrap on their menu called a super veggie hummus wrap. I love this sandwich, despite its odd ingredients. The only problem? It costs $9 and doesn’t even come with chips! I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out how to make this delicious lunch at home–and for much less money.

Now because of the broad range of ingredients in this sandwich, it will only be a reasonable price if you plan to use these items in other dishes. For example, you could use some grilled veggies for this wrap, and some on top of pasta, and some in a burrito. But as long as you use all the parts without letting them go to waste, it adds up to a pretty reasonable dish. I would estimate about $3/wrap.

Feel free to adjust the insides based on what you like/have in the house, but be sure to keep the hummus, apple and salsa. I know the three sound a little odd together, but I promise, it’s awesome.

Super Veggie Hummus Wrap

Super Veggie Hummus Wrap

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 1 (easy to turn into more)

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla, approx 10″ diameter
  • 3 tbsp hummus
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 3 kalamata olives (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sauteed (or grilled) veggies–summer squash, zucchini, bell peppers and carrots are all wonderful
  • 1 thin slice red onion (several rings)–approx 2 tbsp when chopped
  • several thin apple (red or green) slices–approx 1/4 apple
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • non-stick spray
  1. If you don’t have any sauteed veggies, chop up what you have around, spray a small skillet with non-stick spray and throw the veggies in the pan on medium heat, stirring occasionally. They’ll be cooked enough by the time you’re ready to add them into the wrap. Quarter the red onion rings and the olives (if using), and chop the apple pieces into pieces about an inch square.
  2. Spread the hummus in a 2-3 inch wide strip down the middle of the tortilla, leaving an inch-wide space from the edge of the tortilla. Press the spinach into the hummus, tearing any large leaves. Add the veggies, olives, onion and apple slices on top of the spinach. Top with the salsa.
  3. Heat a skillet to medium-low heat and spray with non-stick spray. Fold up the wrap: first fold in the 1-inch spaces you left on the edge of the hummus strip. While holding those edges folded in, fold over one side and then the other. Place the wrap seam-side down into the skillet. Heat about 4 minutes, or until light brown. Then flip over and heat the other side for about the same length of time. Enjoy!

Note: Packing a lunch to eat later? This will work! Make it ahead of time at home, leaving out the salsa and bringing it with you in a small container. Add it to the wrap when you’re ready to eat. If you have access to a microwave, heat the wrap for 1 minute on 70% power.

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Spicy Tomato-Basil-Oregano Pesto

A week or so ago, I shared a delicious pizza with someone special. It was topped with with tomato-basil pesto and mushrooms. Mmm, I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it. I’ve been wanting to make a homemade pizza with some of the produce coming into the garden now, and I decided it would go well with some of this pesto. Fortunately, Cooks Illustrated provided me with a road map for what I wanted.

My basil plant is doing pretty well, but it’s my oregano that’s just exploding. And really, no good pizza is without oregano. I decided to throw it in the pesto instead of sprinkling it on it’s own.

This lovely pink pesto was great on my pizza (topped with zucchini and cheese), and it would also be great over pasta, which I’ll be trying soon. Like a basil pesto, this one will freeze well. I recommend freezing it in ice cube trays, and then popping out the pesto cubes into a freezer bag. That way, you can take out however much pesto you need without defrosting all of it.

Servings: Makes about 2 1/2 cups pesto

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 12 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • enough fresh oregano leaves to equal 1/2 cup when combined with the basil (scant 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium-large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp wine vinegar (red or white)
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent scorching. Set the pan aside to cool.
  2. Roughly dice the garlic clove. Add the garlic, tomatoes, herbs, pepper vinegar and salt to a food processor. Add the nuts when cool. Process until smooth, less than 1 minute. Scrap down the sides. Add the olive oil and continue to process for another minute, or if you have a feeder shoot on your processor (I do not), add the olive oil while its running.
  3. Use on anything you like: pasta, pizza, bruschetta…

Note: I only have a 2 cup food processor, so I had to do this in two batches. I just mixed the batches together in a bowl afterwards to make sure it was evenly distributed. For a less spicy pesto, use fewer pepper flakes.

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Kohlrabi Coleslaw

A month or so ago, my favorite apple farmer at the farmer’s market, Al, started to get in his apple crop. The early varieties are all tart and best for cooking in some way. But in the middle of summer, I like to keep my baking to a minimum so pies and tarts were right out. That’s when I hatched the idea for this ‘slaw.

This is a coleslaw in a minimal sense. There’s no thick dressing weighing it down. However, it’s very refreshing to have at an end-of-summer picnic. It’s nice and crisp, which is the point of coleslaw in my mind. It’s there to balance out the chewy hotdogs, tender baked beans and juicy fruit cobblers. And this one does just that.

Servings: 8-10 side dish servings

Cooking time: 20 minutes prep, 1 hour+ chilling

Ingredients:

  • 1 kohlrabi bulb (enough for 1 1/2 cups when chopped)
  • 2 small, tart apples (enough for 1 cup when chopped)
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp+ ground pepper (or white pepper if you have it)
  • dash of salt (less than 1/8 tsp)
  1. Peel off the outer layer of the kohlrabi. Chop into thin, matchstick-like pieces (julienne). Place in a medium bowl. Peel the apples and remove their seeds. Julienne them and add them to the bowl. Squeeze the juice of half the lime over the mixture (you may want to squeeze a little bit onto the apple immediately after you cut the first one to prevent it from turning brown). Finely chop the mint and add to the bowl. Add the spices and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Taste and adjust seasonings with additional lime juice and pepper if necessary. Serve with sunshine.

Note: this would be good with a 1/2 tsp of celery seeds mixed in.

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Vegetable Chili

I probably should not call this chili. I have a “vegetarian chili” recipe, and this is not it, though it does happen to be vegan. This is more of vegetable stew that happens to use chili powder. I created it to make use of all my wonderful farmer’s market vegetables, and it turned out quite well. The only things in it that didn’t come from the market were the spices, onion, beans, mustard and beer.

You can substitute anything you like in this recipe. It is mostly an exercise in timing. Things like sugar snap peas hardly need any time, while my farm-fresh carrots needed a while. One of the best things in this stew was the earthy, floral quality of the fresh oregano. Fresh herbs need very little heat to release their essence.

Vegetable Chili

Vegetable Chili

Servings: 4 large

Cooking time: 40 minutes or so

Ingredients:

  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion (white or yellow)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp+ chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tomatoes (I used yellow)
  • 1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli
  • 1 15 oz can of beans (I used kidney)
  • 3-4 oz good beer
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ear of fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup+ sugar snap peas
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • cheddar cheese (optional)
  1. Mince the garlic and chop the onion and carrots (if the carrots are fresh, they only need to be scrubbed well, not peeled). Begin heating the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Chop the broccoli, keeping the stems separate from the florets. Try to make the pieces as evenly sized as possible.
  2. When the oil sizzles when you put a drop of water in it, add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes or so, until almost clear. Add the carrots and garlic. Saute 4 minutes or so, until the carrots begin to soften. Add the cumin and chili powder and saute one minute. Add the water.
  3. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off of the corn. Snap the peas and cut them in half if they’re longer than 2 inches. Rinse the beans. Dice the tomatoes (do not seed them).
  4. When the water begins to simmer, add the beans and dried oregano. When the water returns to a simmer, add the tomatoes with juices, broccoli stems, mustard and the beer. Simmer about three minutes. Add the broccoli florets and corn. Simmer two minutes. Stir in half of the fresh oregano leaves and the sugar snap peas. Simmer one minute. Serve immediately, topped with grated cheese and the rest of the fresh oregano.

Note: When reheating leftovers, do so on medium heat, or you’ll overcook the vegetables.

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Mint Iced Tea

There’s nothing like a cold beverage to refresh you on a hot summer day. One of my favorite is mint iced tea. I recently found mint leaf in bulk for about a dollar for two dry cups. I find the mint leaf by itself doesn’t have quite enough body for my liking, so I add in a little loose black tea. Sometimes I also use a little honey if I’m in the mood for something sweet. Iced tea is easy to make ahead of time, particularly for picnics. In fact, I think I’ll make some more for my July 4th festivities.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp mint leaf
  • 1 tbsp loose black tea
  • 32 oz water
  • 1-2 tsp honey (optional)
  • ice

Tools:

  • kettle for boiling water
  • tea pot
  • enough jars for 1 quart of water
  • a fine mesh strainer or other sieve
  1. Boil the water. While the water is boiling, put the mint leaf and black tea in the tea pot.
  2. Pour the water over the tea and cover. Let it steep for at least ten minutes. You want strong tea since it will be diluted with water.
  3. If you want sweet tea, put about a teaspoon or so of honey in the bottom of your jar(s). The hot water will make it easier to dissolve the honey. When the tea has steeped, pour the tea slowly through the strainer and into the jar(s). If you added honey, be sure to give the tea a stir.
  4. Put the lid on the jar(s) and stick it in the fridge for later. Serve over ice. If you want to drink it immediately, I recommend putting it in the fridge for a least a few minutes with the lid off the jar to let out some of the heat.

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Spring Stir-fry

It’s farmer’s market season!! I love this time of year because I get to eat really healthy food for very reasonable prices. I can buy almost all my groceries there, except milk (and I usually don’t buy cheese there just cause it’s so expensive), including bread and pasta and eggs, even hummus! This week I bought asparagus, four bunches of baby bok choy, spring garlic, red and yellow tomatoes, hummus and a cinnamon roll, all for $14.50. (I have to admit that while I could by all my groceries there, I inevitably supplement with other items, such as the red pepper in the following recipe. It is definitely not bell pepper season yet.) I will buy asparagus almost every Saturday and Wednesday until the season ends. Mmmm…asparagus…

To use my delectable produce, I decided to make a light stir-fry so I could still taste the freshness of everything in it. Spring garlic is like a green onion with mild garlic taste (so mild, in fact, that a friend who planted some couldn’t really tell the difference between it and green onions, which he had also planted). You can definitely smell the garlic in the aroma, but it is not a strong flavor. Which is just fine for this dish where the mild bok choy and asparagus are really the stand-outs.

The key to stir-fries is to have everything chopped in advance and arranged into groups depending on how long it takes things to cook. The actual time in the wok for this dish is only 5-7 minutes.

Spring Stir-fry

Servings: 2 main course servings, 3-4 side dish

Cooking time: half an hour or less

Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks/heads baby bok choy (large is fine, but you’ll have to chop it up more)
  • 1/2 a bunch asparagus-should make about 1 1/2 cups once chopped
  • 1 med. red bell pepper
  • 4 stalks spring garlic
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1-2 tbsp lime juice (sorry, I didn’t measure)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • two servings of cooked rice if serving as a main course
  1. Chop the bell pepper into 1 inch pieces. Break off the asparagus at the root end (it will snap naturally-discard the root end or save it for asparagus soup). Break or cut off the tip of the asparagus, about 2-3 inches depending on the size of the asparagus. Cut the remaining asparagus stalks into 1 inch pieces. Cut off the root end of the spring garlic and discard. Like you would a green onion, chop the white part of the garlic, then make a separate pile of the thinner, greener parts. You can add the white parts into your red pepper pile and the green parts into your pile of asparagus tops. Chop off the root end of the bok choy (look for sand on the leaves you’re keeping-you may need to rinse again). For any large leaves, chop the white ends into 1 inch pieces and add to the pile with the asparagus stalks (not tops). Depending on the size of the leaves, you may want to chop them once or twice.
  2. Heat a wok or other skillet over medium high heat. When it is hot add the oil and give it a swirl. Throw in the red bell pepper and garlic ends. Cook for about a minute before adding the asparagus stalks, white parts of the bok choy, and red pepper flakes if using. While that cooks for about three minutes, mix together the remaining ingredients in a small dish. Toss or stir the stir-fry every minute or so. When the asparagus is starting to brighten (about 3 min.), add the asparagus tops and the bok choy leaves. Toss. Add the garlic greens. Toss. Cook about two more minutes, until the asparagus is tender and the bok choy wilted.
  3. Give the sauce a quick stir, then pour it over the stir-fry. Turn off heat. Toss the stir-fry to coat everything with sauce. Serve over rice if it’s a main course, or on the side of a meal.

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Ginger and Mary Ann Soba Salad

The tale of a salad inspired by a waffle.

I was reading SimplyRecipes on Thursday while taking a break from my studies for a huge exam in Asian Religious Traditions the following morning. I saw this recipe, which I thought sounded pretty tasty. I needed a dish to bring to my department end-of-semester get together Friday evening, and I thought it might work pretty well. I already had the soba noodles…but when I started looking at the other ingredients (mango, lots of fresh herbs, peanuts), I could see the grocery bill mounting in my head.

I liked the idea of a soba noodle salad with fruit in it, but what could I use that would be a little cheaper? Strawberries are in season! As for the rest of the flavors, you could at best call the original recipe Thai inspired, but I was thinking about the Japanese origin of those soba noodles (they’re buckwheat noodles-I get them at a great price from the Asian grocery down the street). My ruminations on the soba were particularly pertinent since we ended our class with religion in Japan, so really, it was like I was studying while coming up with this recipe, right? Studying…

Studying would be exactly what I would be doing for the rest of that evening and again in the morning before my test at my favorite coffeeshop for studying, Fair Grounds. There, I would order my favorite waffle, the Ginger and Mary Ann, with pecans (for extra protein-and I’m from Texas!). This is a waffle with strawberries and fresh ginger in it, made on a normal waffle iron, not the stupid Belgian ones with the gigantic pockets in which all the toppings get stuck. I should admit that this is my favorite waffle, but I’ve only had one other kind there, the Apple and Sage (I think you can guess what’s in that). It was really good, but not as good as the Ginger and Mary Ann, with pecans.

And thus I found my inspiration for the rest of this salad. Fresh ginger is a great Japanese flavor. I wanted to use yellow bell peppers instead of red, for the contrast, but alas, the co-op had neither yellow nor orange. Oh well.

This recipe makes a massive amount of food, as I was bringing it to a potluck (for which I was inevitably late and thus had a lot of leftovers…). I would guess this would serve 12-16 as a side. You can divide this recipe in half pretty easily. Also, while I’m usually not a noodle-breaker, I intended to break these soba noodles in half before boiling them, since they were going in a salad. However, I forgot to break them. It was fine, but I think that would make it easier to eat.

The salad was a big hit (with one exception, but I think he just doesn’t like soba). And the test went alright too. 🙂

Fruity, tangy and fresh pasta salad

Prep time: 1 hour, plus chilling time (I went almost directly to the party with this, but it would be fine made a day ahead I think)

Ingredients:

  • 12-13 oz soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles. Mine come in a package with portion sizes rolled together. I used four portion sizes.)
  • 1 quart ripe strawberries
  • 2 small red, orange or yellow bell peppers (should make a cup or so when chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger (could use up to another whole tbsp, but that was all I had)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp+ red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp, plus 1 tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup pecans
  1. Put water on to boil for the pasta. Fill a large bowl with cool water. Gently dump in the strawberries and swish them around with your hand. Rub their tops a little bit to loosen up any dirt around the tops. Then let them sit in the water for a few minutes. The dirt will fall to the bottom, and you can skim the strawberries off the top of the water (any that sink are bad). (This is the way my mom taught me to wash strawberries–thanks Mom!) Rinse off the peppers.
  2. Add the pasta to the water when it’s boiling. Soba does not take that long to cook, so be sure to test it after five minutes or so. Drain it when it is al dente. Rinse it with cold water (I do not usually rinse my pasta–my mom says that rinses off some of the vitamins–but Soba gets very sticky, and since you are trying to cool the pasta off for a salad anyways, it is necessary here). Put the noodles in the fridge until you need them.
  3. Cut the tops off the strawberries. Cut the rest of the fruit into 1 inch chunks, or whatever size you’d like for your salad.
  4. Put the vinegars, sugar and salt into a microwave safe bowl (I used my Pyrex measuring cup). Microwave on high for one minute. While that’s in the microwave, peel and dice the fresh ginger. Stir the vinegar mixture. Add the fresh ginger and red pepper flakes. Microwave again from 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until you can see it really bubbling in the microwave. Stir, then put in the fridge for a little while. Cut the bell peppers. Stir into the vinegar mixture the lime juice, 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, ground ginger and sesame oil. Taste the sauce and adjust any flavorings. (Don’t add too much soy sauce because the pecans will be salty, as are the noodles.)
  5. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the strawberries, peppers and sauce. Then add the noodles, a little at a time until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate.
  6. Meanwhile, heat your oven or toaster oven to 375. Line a small baking pan with foil. Chop or break up the pecans (not too small, into a quarter or eight size of the nut, depending on the size of your pecans). Toss with the 1 tbsp soy sauce. Toast for about five minutes. Watch carefully! You don’t want them to burn. While the nuts are toasting, roughly chop the spinach.
  7. If you are serving the salad soon, toss the spinach and a 1/4 of the nuts with the rest of the salad. Add the rest of the pecans to the top of the salad for presentation. If you are making this ahead, reserve the spinach and nuts until serving.

I’m going to go eat leftovers now! Mmm…still good the next day. (Pic above is from the leftovers.)

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