Tag Archives: vegan

Instant Pot Tomatillo-Poblano White Beans

Tomatillo Poblano White Beans

Beans are the perfect introduction to the Instant Pot.  If you are new to the Instant Pot craze, or even if you’ve had yours for a while now, these beans will make their way into your regular rotation.  Tomatillo Poblano White Beans are my new favorite thing.  I made them a few weeks ago when there was some football game.  Everyone was making *quite* the fuss over it. Well, I had promised nachos for this sporting event and I delivered BIG thanks to these beans.  I warmed some tortilla chips in the oven, sprinkled a few things on them and then heaped these beans on top.  It was so dang good!!!

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Curried Cauliflower with Golden Raisins

Curried Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and GingerCurried cauliflower with golden raisins and ginger is a great side for chicken or steak, but it can stand on its own as  a meatless meal.

We are eating more vegetables these days.   Also, we are eating healthier.  At least, we are trying to eat healthier (when I’m not eating cookies).  I love vegetables, I honestly prefer them over meat most of the time.  However, they can be boring  if you never jazz them up.  Otherwise, we’d eat them without complaint.  A little spice can go a long way.  For example – curry powder.

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Winter Vegetable Soup

Winter Vegetable Soup l Pook's PantryThis post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes. As always, all opinions are my own.

It’s winter.  That means comfort food.  But, we’re also trying to eat a little healthier too, right? We’re making an effort to eat more vegetables because we want to get more bang for our buck in the nutrition department.  I’ve got you covered.  This soup is nearly fat free, it’s low in calories and contains a ton of vitamins, minerals and fiber.  While you are cozied up in the house, it’s the perfect time to put on a pot of this hearty winter vegetable soup.

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Crash & Burn Potatoes

Crash & Burn Potatoes l Pook's Pantry
This post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes. All opinions are my own.

If you are looking for a new way to serve potatoes, this is it!  I made these a few days ago with the intention of saving them for dinner that night.  I have news for you, they didn’t survive the afternoon.  We ate a few and then we ate more.   We even ate them cold because they were delicious.  Normally, the phrase “crash & burn” has a negative connotation to it, but not in this case. These little spuds are smashed (flattened) and roasted until super crispy then bathed in a spicy cinnamon malt vinegar sauce.  Hence, the name Crash & Burn Potatoes.

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Swamp Monster Slow Cooker Jackfruit Gumbo

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Halloween is fast approaching and if you are a fan of this fun holiday, you’re in for a treat (not a trick).    My friend Kathy has written a new cookbook full of fun, vegan Halloween food.   Her blog Healthy Slow Cooking is full of healthy options and is my “go to” source for vegan recipes. Whether you follow a vegan diet or not, there is something that everyone can enjoy.

I wanted to share this recipe with you because jackfruit is probably a fairly unfamiliar ingredient to most people.   I find it at my local Asian market.  Sometimes they sell the whole fruit, but more often it’s cut into pieces.  

jackfruit
A whole fruit can weigh as much as a small child, so getting a piece at the market is a much better option!  The best option when you don’t need 40 pounds of jackfruit: canned for convenience.

I love Kathy’s unique spin on this classic recipe.  If you are trying to eat less animal protein or you are curious about a vegan diet or you just want to try something new,  I would wholeheartedly recommend this and any other recipe by Kathy.   

Swamp Monster Slow Cooker Jackfruit Gumbo
Serves 4
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For the main gumbo
  1. 4 cups water
  2. 4 cups sliced okra (fresh or frozen)
  3. 3 cups diced tomatoes or 2 (14.5 ounce) cans
  4. 1 cup minced bell pepper (any color)
  5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 can (20 ounce) young green jackfruit in brine, rinsed with seeds removed *
  7. 2 large vegan sausages (Italian, Chik’n Apple, or Andouille), cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced
  8. 2 bouillon cubes (vegetable or vegan chicken flavor)
  9. 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning blend (see recipe at bottom)
  10. 3 bay leaves
For finishing
  1. 1 cup chopped spinach, kale or other mild green
  2. just enough water to puree, about 1/4 cup
  3. salt and pepper, to taste
  4. more Cajun seasoning blend, to taste – optional
For serving
  1. steamed rice (white, brown or forbidden)
  2. hot sauce
Make Your Own Cajun Seasoning Blend
  1. If you’re looking for a salt-free version or just can’t find it in your area, this little recipe will keep you in spicy goodness for awhile. The best part is you can make it as spicy or mild as you like!
  2. 2 teaspoons paprika
  3. 2 teaspoon thyme
  4. 2 teaspoons oregano or marjoram
  5. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  7. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  9. 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  10. 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  11. Combine all the ingredients well and store in a lidded container. You can also use a spice grinder to make it look more like store-bought.
Instructions
  1. In the morning: Add all the main gumbo ingredients to your 4 quart slow cooker. Cook on low 7 to 9 hours.
  2. 15 minutes before serving: Add the greens to a blender with a little water and purée until smooth. Then add salt, pepper and more Cajun seasoning if needed.
  3. Remove bay leaves and serve gumbo topped with the green “swamp” purée and a scoop of rice.
  4. * shred the jackfruit with your hands – it will happen easily as you remove the large seeds.
Notes
  1. This chunky stew is full of okra, tomatoes, vegan sausage and stringy jackfruit. One of my testers, Robin Fetter of The Real Vegan Housewife, says the soup had “an awesome foamy green effect on top” when she served it immediately, but that the green became less bright after twenty minutes. She highly recommends puréeing the greens into the soup.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/

Below is a link to the Kindle edition of Kathy’s book!

Soba Noodles and Stir-Fried Vegetables

Soba Noodles with Stir Fried Vegetables - Pook's Pantry

Soba noodles with stir-fried vegetables is a quick, easy and delicious healthy option for meatless Monday, or any day of the week.  Soba noodles cook in a only a few minutes, the veggies get a quick sauté and dinner is done.  From fridge to fork in less than 20 minutes – faster if you prep vegetable the night before.

It’s another New Year and once again, after the gluttony that was Thanksgiving and Christmas overindulgence, it’s time to rein it back in.  One way that we have decided to do that around here is sticking to a “meatless Monday”. 

While we were whooping it up in Vancouver a few months ago, we had a warm soba noodle appetizer at our favorite sushi restaurant.  It was loaded with seafood and unbelievably delicious.  I wanted to have something reminiscent of that salad, but suitable for a vegetarian dinner.   The only restriction I gave myself (aside from the seafood) was that I had to use what I had in the kitchen.    It wasn’t like there was a “rule” in play…  I just didn’t feel like going to store.  Out of sheer laziness, deliciousness was born!

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Get Your Freekeh On

 

 

Freekeh Salad.jpg

No, this is not a new MIssy Elliott song, but it is all about that grain. 

Freekeh is one of those grains that gets overshadowed by the “in” crowd…  You know the cool kid of the grain world at the moment: quinoa.  I love quinoa, I’m not bashing it AT ALL, but there is a whole world of grains that people have never heard of, including myself until about 15 years ago.  Freekeh has a wonderfully nutty flavor and a chewy texture, similar to barley or other hearty grains.   

I absolutely adore grain salads.  During the heat of summertime, they are chock full of bright red tomatoes and crisp cucumbers, but as we move into fall they transition to root vegetables, dried fruits and nuts.

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Kung Pao Green Beans

Kung Pao Beans.jpg

As a proclaimed lover of vegetables, I can’t quite understand anyone over the age of 8 wrinkling their nose at the sight of them.   That being said, I have a few clients who fall into that category and it is my job to come up with recipes that will entice them into eating something green.

I’m not a parent, so I can’t imagine what it is like on a daily basis but I can tell you that once a week I find myself trying to figure out what I can cook for vegetable-hating clients that will actually end up on their plates.   This one came to fruition solely based on the fact that one of my clients loves anything spicy.  I figured if I disguised the flavor of the vegetable with chilies and garlic, maybe I’d have a hit on my hands.

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Falafel… or “Fal-Awful”

Fal-awful is much more appropriate for what I had at a restaurant not too long ago.  It can only be described as the worst falafel I have ever been served.   It was greasy and burnt to a crisp.  Against my better judgment,  I tried a tiny bite and not so graciously spit it into my napkin.

When the waiter came to clear plates and saw the entire order still sitting there he said to me
“They were burnt, I know”  
So, here is where I wanted to ask him:  If you knew they were burnt, why in the world did you ever let them leave the kitchen?!
But I was his customer, not his boss.   I was dumbfounded and could not think of a response that wouldn’t bring him to tears, so I said nothing…  I just looked at him.  

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Pa amb Tomaquet (Bread with Tomato)

 Balcony in BarcelonaI had been dreaming about travelling to Spain for nearly a decade, so when I finally landed there back in April of 2000, I cried.   The moment my feet touched Spanish soil, I was almost in disbelief.    I was so overwhelmed that I could not contain my pure joy.  It felt as if the entire universe lined up and planted me exactly where I was supposed to be for that one perfect moment.  I wanted for nothing.

Flower stand along Las Ramblas
 
Boqueria
When people ask that hypothetical question “If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?”  My answer has always been: travel.

After everyone has been taken care of; debts paid off, college funds set up, etc…  I would pack a bag, get on a plane and be a gypsy for a little while.   Those experiences would be priceless.

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Don Quijote, Sancho Panza & Miguel de Cervantes

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The windmills of La Mancha

I enjoy experiencing different countries through their food, culture, traditions, etc.   It reminds me that we are not all that different from one another.   I had been studying the language, history and politics of Spain and Latin America since I was 14 years old.   I was more than ready to be fully immersed and gain experiences I could not get from a book, no matter how much I studied.   Everything was different:  the food, the language, the sounds, the smells… and I couldn’t have been happier.

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Las gambas at Mercado Boqueria
Random Street in Spain

My first stop was a little tapas place in Barcelona.   I knew Spanish food, or at least I thought I did back then.  There were the obligatory patatas bravas, croquetas and of course the tortilla espanola, but I was in Catalunya and the menu was written in Catalan, not Spanish…  

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