Virtual Vegan Potluck: Stuffed Squash

vvpLOGOI’m super excited to be participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck again this fall. I took part in the Potluck for the first time over the spring, and I discovered a lot of wonderful blogs I didn’t know about beforehand. I also made some new friends in the blogosphere. 

  

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This time I have brought Stuffed Acorn Squash to the potluck. This recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner and it’s extremely versatile. Don’t like kale? Use spinach instead! Trying to stay away from processed foods? Mushrooms or chickpeas would work well in place of sausage. Trying to eat gluten-free? Use gluten-free breadcrumbs. Have fun with it!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved down the middle and seeds removed
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 7 ounces vegan sausage, such as Field Roast or Tofurky (2 large links), sliced or crumbled
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

 

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Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Mix together 2 teaspoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Brush onto the inside of the squash.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the squash on it, flesh-side down. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and tender.
  4. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the sausages in 1 teaspoon of olive oil, until browned and slightly crisp, between 7 and 10 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the leek, cook for about 7 to10 minutes, until slightly brown. Add the garlic, kale and broth. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the kale begins to wilt. Remove from heat.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together the sausage, leek and kale mixture, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast and the remaining sea salt and pepper.
  7. Stuff the squash with the mixture. Sprinkle a little more breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast on the top, if you like. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated throughout.
  8. Serve hot. Enjoy!

  

Serves 4

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

 Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I used to make stuffed mushrooms as one of my Thanksgiving side-dishes. While they were always a favorite with my guests, I dreaded making them, as it seemed to take forever to stuff the tiny little mushroom caps. Not only do these Stuffed Portobellos come together very quickly, they can take center stage on your plate, both impressing your guests and saving yourself some time in the kitchen. 

 

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 medium-sized shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups cooked cannellini beans
  • ¼ cup vegetable or mushroom broth
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaved parsley, chopped
  • 2 tightly packed cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

 

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the mushroom caps on it, upside down.
  3. Whisk together 3 teaspoons olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, ¼ teaspoon sea salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  4. Brush in the mushrooms with the mixture and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until tender.
  5. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the shallots in the remaining olive oil for 5 – 10 minutes, until slightly brown and fragrant. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the spinach and broth. Remove from heat as soon as the spinach begins to wilt.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together the shallot-spinach mixture, beans, parsley, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast and the remaining sea salt and pepper.
  7. Stuff the mushrooms with the mixture. Sprinkle the tops with a little extra breadcrumbs and nooch if you’d like a little extra crunch. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until heated throughout.
  8. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Serves 4

 

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Pumpkin Baked Ziti

Pumpkin Baked Ziti

Ah, November. It’s the month when we need to pull our heavy coats out of storage, the time of year we when turn to warming comfort food to get us through dark and chilly evenings, and it’s the month we here in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving can be a tough holiday for those who don’t partake in meat, but with some careful planning, it is possible to get through the day relatively unscathed. I’ll be sharing Thanksgiving dinner worthy recipes all month long. Even though pasta isn’t traditionally thought of as a Thanksgiving dish, it’s been showing up on the table more and more throughout recent years. The pumpkin and pecans in this recipe give it a fall feel, and the tofu ricotta tastes close enough to the “real” thing that even omnivores will enjoy it. This recipe is adapted from a cheese-filled dish I found on TheKitchn.com.

 

Pumpkin Baked Ziti

Ingredients:

Tofu Ricotta

  • 1 pound container firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh sage

 

Casserole

  • 12 ounces ziti or penne pasta (I used Tinkyada gluten-free pasta)
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/8 cup nutritional yeast, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped

 

Pumpkin Baked Ziti

Preparation:

  1. To make the ricotta, crumble the tofu into a food processer fitted with an s-blade. Add the lemon juice, garlic, broth and nutritional yeast and blend until the mixture is thick and looks like ricotta cheese. Add more vegetable broth if the mixture is too thick. Add the sage and pulse until it’s mixed in. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  3. Prepare pasta according to the package instructions, but for about 3 minutes less than the package calls for. This is to ensure that the pasta won’t get too mushy while being baked.
  4. In a large bowl, gently mix together the cooked pasta, tofu ricotta, pumpkin, garlic, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, sea salt and black pepper.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly in a 9×12” casserole dish. Sprinkle with the pecans and remaining nutritional yeast.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for half an hour. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  7. Serve hot. Enjoy!

 

Serves 6

 

 

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I’m submitting this recipe to Healthy Vegan Fridays and Gluten-Free Fridays.

One-Dish Vegan from Robin Robertson with a Recipe & a Giveaway

One-Dish Vegan

I’m happy to be hosting cookbook author Robin Robertson on her One-Dish Vegan blog tour today! Robin is here to share her recipe for Mac and Thai, and she’s brought a copy of the book with her for one lucky winner to enjoy. You can enter the giveaway contest at the end of the post.


Polenta Bake with Spinach and Mushrooms

As the title implies, One-Dish Vegan focuses on one-course meals, which is the type of meal I like to make. These meals come together quickly, and some can even be assembled ahead of time, which is a big help on busy work nights. As with Robin’s other cookbooks, the ingredients are easy to find and the recipes are omnivore friendly. The recipes in One-Dish Vegan range from soups, stews and salads to pastas and casseroles. There’s even an entire chapter devoted to chili! This book is perfect for the new vegan who is trying to figure her way around in a meatless kitchen as well as the seasoned cook looking for some new dishes to add to her repertoire. It’s also a great book for the omnivore who is trying to reduce her meat consumption.


Spinach and Quinoa Tart

 I did something a little different with One-Dish Vegan. Whenever I get a new cookbook, I tend to make a cup of tea and then curl up the book as if it were a novel, marking off recipes that I want to make. Well, I did do that again this time, but rather than run out to the store to buy ingredients, I made dishes that contained ingredients I already had. Because of this new tactic (“tactic” sounds better than “laziness”) I was able to try some dishes I might not have have otherwise cooked. I hadn’t marked the page for the Spinach and Quinoa Tart recipe, but I made it because I had tub of spinach that was in danger of going bad in the fridge. It was quite tasty and a nice change of pace from the meals I usually make.

 

Penne with Garlicky Escarole and White Beans

A recent co-op share came with a head of escarole, so I checked the index for recipes I could make with it. I went with Penne with Garlicky Escarole and White Beans. I added some onion and sun-dried tomatoes, just because it seemed like the thing to do. This meal came together faster than I could have run out for take-out, and was much more delicious than anything I could have ordered from any local restaurants. 

 

Spicy Peanut Soup

The Spicy Peanut Soup was my favorite dish from One-Dish Vegan. I’m a total sucker for spicy, peanutty soups and stews, and this one is packed with veggies, rice and tofu, making it a perfect meal for a chilly fall evening. 

 

And now here’s Robin with her recipe for Mac and Thai…

 

Mac and Thai

Mac And Thai

One-Dish Vegan

Recipe © 2013 by Robin Robertson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press. Photo by Robin Robertson

 

Gluten-free Option | Serves 4

 

Leftover pad Thai was the inspiration for this macaroni pie with Thai flavors. It actually tastes like pad Thai, so I almost called it Pad Thai Pie. Instead of the white beans, you may substitute 1 1/2 cups crumbled firm tofu, if you like. Use rice noodles to make this gluten-free.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans or 1 (15.5-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk or other nondairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 5 scallions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt
  • 3 cups cooked linguine or soaked rice noodles (6 to 8 ounces before cooking)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 6 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into
  • 1-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup thinly sliced white mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari or vegan oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon natural sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chili paste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons crushed unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or Thai basil
  • Lime wedges, for serving

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9- to 10-inch pie plate or quiche pan.

 

2. In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine the beans, almond milk, nutritional yeast, half of the scallions, the lime juice, vinegar, peanut butter, garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree until smooth, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the noodles and mix well to combine. Set aside.

 

3. Heat the oil or water in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes to soften. Add the asparagus, garlic, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms, and remaining scallions. Stir in the tamari, sugar, chili paste (if using), and water. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the noodle mixture and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

 

4. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Arrange the tomato halves on top of the mixture around the outer edge of the pan in an evenly spaced circle, pressing the tomatoes lightly into the mixture. Cover loosely and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle the top with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve with 

 

Enter to win a copy of One-Dish Vegan by following the instructions below. Contest ends a midnight on Sunday, November 10th. US. residents only, please.

 

Lentil Stuffed Eggplant

Happy World Vegan Day!

Today is World Vegan Day! World Vegan Day was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis who was the President and Chair of The Vegan Society UK at the time. The Society wanted to commemorate its 50th anniversary, and while they knew that it had been founded in November of 1944, they didn’t know the exact date. Today also marks the beginning of World Vegan Month. If you’ve been thinking of going vegan, even just for a month, this is the perfect time to give it a try. I can even help you do so!

 

This recipe for Lentil Stuffed Eggplant is for celebrating World Vegan Day with! If you’re cooking for omnivores, this dish can show off how tasty vegan food really is, and it will help you explain to them exactly where you get your protein. 

 

Lentil Stuffed Eggplant

Ingredients:

  • 4 small eggplants
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon all-purpose season mix (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)

 Lentil Stuffed Eggplant

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Carefully scoop the flesh out of the eggplant, leaving about ½” intact around the skin. Chop the eggplant flesh into small pieces, about 1/4”. You won’t be able to salvage all of the eggplant flesh, but that’s okay.
  3. Lightly brush the eggplant shells with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with about ¼ teaspoon of salt. Place them face down on one of the parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  4. Toss the eggplant cubes in 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with about ¼ teaspoon of salt. Place them on the other baking sheet.
  5. Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven and set aside. Keep the oven on, but turn the heat down to 350 degrees.
  6. Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Cook the onion, bell pepper, carrot and garlic for about 10 minutes, until soft.
  7. Add the lentils, eggplant cubes, broth, vinegar, black pepper, all-purpose seasoning and remaining ¼ of salt to the pan. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Flip the eggplant shells on the baking sheet and stuff the with the eggplant-lentil mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4

 

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Coconut Burfi from Diwali Sweets by Richa Hingle

CoverI have to admit that most of what I know about Diwali I learned from Dunder Mifflin’s Kelly Kapoor, which isn’t much since her description was “Diwali is awesome, and there’s food, and there’s going to be dancing.” But what I do know is that I love Indian food and I like sweets, so when Rica Hingle asked if I would like to participate in the blog tour for her new eBook Diwali Sweets, I immediately said yes. 

 

contents

Richa’s new eBook is full of recipes for traditional Indian sweets that are usually made with dairy products and ghee, but she’s veganized everything, and some recipes even have gluten-free options. I’m not familiar with a lot of the treats in Diwali Sweets, but Richa’s mouthwatering photographs make we want to get to know them. While the treats in Diwali Sweets are traditionally made for Diwali, they can, of course, be made for any type celebration – even just a celebration of today! The cost of this eBook is $5 and Richa is donating all of the money to the Visakha Society for the Protection and Care of Animals and Pigs Peace Sanctuary. Celebrate for a good cause!

 

 coconutburfi

Coconut Rava Ladoo and Burfi
Makes 8-10 balls. Easily doubled.
Allergy Information: Dairy, Egg, Corn, Soy, Yeast free, Vegan. Can be made nut, gluten free

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Semolina flour (or Brown rice flour for Glutenfree)
1/2 cup dry Coconut flakes
1 Tablespoon Coconut oil (optional. Omit to make Oil-free)
2 Tablespoons chopped cashew pieces (optional. Omit to make nut-free)
a pinch of salt

Sugar Syrup:
1/2 cup ground raw sugar
3 Tablespoons water
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

Method:
In a large pan, dry roast the semolina on medium-low heat for 6-8 minutes until the color changes and it gets fragrant.
Using a blender/processor, blend the coconut flakes to make coarse coconut flour. Add coconut flour, coconut oil, salt and cashew pieces to the pan. Mix well and roast for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, in another pan, make the sugar syrup.
Add all syrup ingredients and bring to a boil on medium heat. Continue to heat at medium low until one thread consistency.
Add the hot sugar syrup to the roasting dry ingredients and mix well to form a lumpy mixture. (Best result when both contents are hot)
Take off heat. Press immediately into parchment lined or greased baking pan (I used an 8 by 4 inch pan.)
Cut into squares when still warm. The bars will harden as they cool.
Break into pieces when cool. Store in airtight container for upto a week.

 

Purchase Diwali Sweets from Vegan Richa here: http://www.veganricha.com/p/e-books.html

Spicy Coconut Kale

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It used to be that kale was one of those weird foods that only “health nuts” and vegans ate, like chia and mung bean sprouts, but in the last year or two kale has really taken over and become quite the trendy veggie. (So much so that my friend Deana thinks it has “jumped the shark“.) Just with anything that becomes popular, the kale trend is sure to die down soon. Whether it’s fashionable or not, kale will always be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, so it should be always be welcome on your dinner plate. This recipe is super quick and easy to make, and makes a delicious dish for any meal. 

 

Spicy Coconut Kale

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced, about 1 cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 bunches of kale, washed and chopped, with stems removed
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • sea salt, to taste

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, around 8 minutes
  2. Add the chopped kale, coconut milk and broth. Cover and cook until the kale has wilted, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Season with salt and serve.

Makes 4 servings

 

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Zeke the Plumber’s Awful Waffles from Natalie Slater

Bake and DestroyI had so much fun hosting Natalie Slater on the blog tour for her book Bake and Destroy that I’ve decided to do it again! Natalie is here once more, this time with a recipe that’s perfect for Halloween. Since Natalie is influenced by slasher films, pro-wrestling, punk rock and heavy metal, her recipes seem appropriate for the spookiest day of the year. She’s also brought a copy of her book with her for one lucky winner to enjoy. You can enter the giveaway contest at the end of the post. 

 Waffles

If I went as a Salute Your Shorts character for Halloween this year, I would absolutely hands-down be Bobby Budnick. Played by Danny Cooksey, Bobby Budnick was a jerk with a heart of gold. His interests included Megadeth, Zeke the Plumber, and fellow camper Dina. He had a red mullet and I’m not sure any of his shirts had sleeves and he was perfect.

 

Bobby Budnick is my spirit animal. And like Bobby, I am not a nature lover. I am a city kid through and through. I like video games and rock n’ roll, and if I’m going to eat a hot dog, it ain’t gonna be off a stick. It’s going to be Chicago style or someone’s getting roasted, toasted, and burned to a crisp courtesy of menacing, terrifying Zeke the Plumber.

 

This recipe isn’t for everyone – but it would certainly make for lively Halloween party conversation. So here it is, world. The Awful Waffle. My ode to camp counselor Ug Lee, to Donkey Lips, and to you, Bobby Budnick, wherever you are. 

 

Zeke the Plumber’s Awful Waffles

 

Ingredients

For the waffles:

  • 1 & 1/4 cups soymilk
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • a handful of poppy seeds
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • pinch salt

You’ll also need:

  • vegan hot dogs
  • tomato, cut into wedges
  • celery salt
  • yellow mustard

 

Instructions

  1. Warm up your waffle maker. I recommend also warming your oven to about 200 degrees so you can keep the finished waffles warm while you work on the toppings.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, vinegar, oil and Liquid smoke. Stir in the relish and onion. Then, add the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, poppy seeds and salt. Stir until just mixed. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter into your greased waffle maker, and cook according to your waffle maker’s instructions. Mine took 3-5 minutes.
  3. I sliced my veggie dogs first, and then cooked them on a hot griddle. You should cook yours whatever way you prefer, then slice them up. Top your waffles with hot dogs, tomato wedges, celery salt, yellow mustard and of course, a Kosher pickle on the side.

 

One lucky winner will win a copy of Natalie’s book Bake and Destroy. Follow the instructions below to enter. US residents only. Contest ends at midnight EST on Sunday, October 27th. 

Curried Carrot Soup

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I belong to a co-op that sends me carrots every week. Pounds and pounds of them. I can’t keep up. I’m constantly looking for ways to use them up before the next batch arrives. I shred them and add them to salads, chop them and add them to stews, juice them, and sometimes I even give them to my health coaching clients, but it seems that no matter what I do, the fridge is always overflowing with carrots. My next co-op share day is tomorrow and I found myself still fully stocked with carrots, so I thought it was time to take drastic measures with what’s on hand, and make a big pot of soup. This recipe is reminiscent of last week’s Roasted Kabocha Soup, with a hint of my favorite Spicy Lentil and Carrot Soup mixed in.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 ½ pounds of carrots, about 8 medium, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon tumeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons cashew butter
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Chopped greens or sliced scallions, for serving

 

Preparation:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, and cook for about 5 minutes, until it begins to brown and turn translucent.
  2. Add the carrots, ginger and garlic to the pot and cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. If the vegetables stick to the pot, add a little broth.
  3. Add the curry powder, red pepper flakes, cumin and turmeric to the pot. Give everything a stir and let it cook for about a minute. Add in the coconut milk and broth. Bring to a light simmer. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are soft, stirring occasionally
  4. Remove the soup from the heat and puree with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, wait until the soup has cooled slightly and puree in batches in a regular blender. If the soup seems too thick, add a little bit more broth.
  5. Stir in the sea salt and cashew butter and return the soup to the heat. Cook for another minute or two, to let all of the flavors combine.
  6. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped greens or scallions. Enjoy!

 

Makes 4 servings

 

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I’m submitting this recipe to Healthy Vegan Fridays and Gluten-Free Fridays.

Pies and Tarts with Heart by Dynise Balcavage

Pies and Tarts with Heart

I’ve been excited about Dynise Balcavage’s new book Pies and Tarts with Heart for a while. I loved her first two books, and I new this one would be just as good, or even better. Dennis was happy when he heard about it too, because if he could, he would eat all of his meals in pie form. 

 

Pies and Tarts with Heart is chock-full of recipes for, yes you guessed it, pies. There’s a wide variety of pies here, both sweet and savory. There are chocolate pies, raw pies, nutty pies, holiday pies, artsy pies, dinner pies and even impostor pies like whoppie pies and boston cream pie. There’s also a chapter on homemade pie toppings. There’s plenty of info to get you started on your pie making adventure, such as how to stock your pie-making pantry, notes on ingredients and how to make perfect pie crusts. 

 

I’m happy to be hosting Dyinse on her blog tour today, with her recipe for Booze-Infused Mushroom Polenta Pie. I love both mushrooms and polenta, and I don’t mind a bit of booze now and again, so this recipe seems as if it was written just for me. Be sure to enter my giveaway contest for a chance to win your own copy of Pies and Tarts with Heart.

 

BoozeInfusedMushroomPie

 

Booze-Infused Mushroom Polenta Pie

I realize that using “booze-infused” in a recipe title is not my classiest culinary writing moment. But to be honest, I’m a bit weary of foodies who glamorize even the simplest of dishes. And this dish is simple: honest-to-goodness, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. This recipe is not difficult, but it is a bit time-consuming, perfect to make on a chilly winter day when you have cabin fever or when you just feel like puttering about the kitchen. It’s wonderful with a bowl of veggie soup or a tossed spinach salad. And if you want it to sound fancier, just insert the name of the booze you use in the title, such as “Marsala-Infused,” “Sherry-Infused,” or “Vermouth-Infused.”

 

Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) pie

 

For Crust:

  • 2 cups (470 ml) mushroom (preferred) or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (140 g) cornmeal
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) one of the following liquors, in my order of preference: Marsala, amontillado sherry, dry vermouth, dry red wine, brandy
  • 4 cups (280 g) sliced fresh mushrooms (cremini, button, shiitake, or a mixture)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) nondairy creamer
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups (60 g) chopped fresh spinach
  • ¼ to ½ cup (20 to 40 g) nutritional yeast
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC, or gas mark 5). Spray a pie pan with cooking spray.

 

To make the crust: Heat the broth in a large saucepan over medium heat until just steaming, about 5 minutes; do not boil. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, about ¼ cup (35 g) at a time, to ensure the batter does not get lumpy. Add the seasonings and stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low/medium-low and cook until very thick and no longer soupy, about 10 minutes. Careful! It bubbles up and can spatter. Spread about ½ cup (130 g) or so in a 6 x 3 x ¼-inch (15 cm x 7.5 cm x 6 mm) layer (give or take) on a sheet of waxed paper. Let the remainder of the batter cool slightly, then spread in the prepared pie pan. Use a small cookie cutter to cut some shapes from the cornmeal layer. Keep it simple: stars, hearts, and circles work best, because cornmeal dough can be fragile. Set the shapes aside. Bake the pie crust for 22 to 25 minutes, or until golden.

 

To make the filling: Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until softish. Turn the heat to high, add the Marsala, and deglaze the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring to coat.

 

In a small bowl, whisk together the creamer and cornstarch to make a slurry. Add to the mushrooms and continue to cook over low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan, until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes.  

Add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute, then stir in the nutritional yeast and remove from the heat. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

 

Remove the crust from the oven, but leave the oven on. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then fill with the mushroom mixture and decorate with the polenta cutouts. Bake for 5 minutes more. Remove and let cool for 1 hour before serving, either warm or at room temperature. This is best reheated in the microwave, because it helps retain the moisture.

 

Take It Slow!

Onions and garlic browning too quickly? Reduce the heat and sprinkle with salt. The salt draws out water and slows down the cooking.

 

Enter to win a copy of Pies and Tarts with Heart! Contest ends at midnight EST on October 20th. US residents only, please. 

 

Dr. Fuhrman