Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pumpkin Bars

1 15 oz. can white beans, drained
one half of a 15 oz. can pure pumpkin (freeze other half for next time)
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dates
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup walnut pieces (optional)

Mix all ingredients except optional walnuts in a food processor until well blended. Stir in nuts. Pour into 8" or 9" square baking dish lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350f degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Allow to cool, then store in refrigerator. Flavor improves overnight, so bake a day before serving if possible.

*Pumpkin Pie Spice: 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Variation: Add 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder for chocolate-pumpkin bars.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Chocolate Nice Cream

Nice cream is non-dairy ice cream made with fruit instead of milk. Make sure to allow the bananas to get nice and ripe first so they can sweeten the dessert naturally.

3 very ripe bananas, frozen
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 to 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
a few tablespoons of plant milk or water if necessary to blend

To freeze the bananas, peel and break into one inch chunks. Place in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for several hours or over night.

In a blender or food processor, mix the frozen banana pieces, cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla and salt. Add a tablespoon or two of plant milk or water at a time if necessary to blend into a smooth consistency.

Taste the nice cream. If the bananas were fully ripe, it should be sweet enough. If desired, add a small amount of sugar, syrup or other sweetener.

Enjoy the soft-serve texture right away or freeze it for later. In the freezer it will firm up to be like traditional ice cream.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Vegan Mac and Cheese

No animal products and no oil are in this healthier version of the classic macaroni and cheese. The "cheese" sauce is mainly potatoes and carrots. Nutritional yeast and lemon juice help give it a tangy cheddar flavor.

16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

"Cheese" Sauce
16 oz peeled potatoes (about 2) cut into 1" pieces
8 oz carrots (about 2) cut into 1" slices
1/4 cup diced onion (optional)
3 cups water - for cooking potatoes and carrots, save the cooking water to add some to the blender
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon tahini (optional)
1 Tablespoon miso paste (optional)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Boil potatoes, carrots and onion in water in a saucepan on top of the stove for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. While the vegetables are cooking, place the other cheese sauce ingredients in a blender. Transfer the hot cooked vegetables with a slotted spoon to the blender. Add one cup of the hot water from the pan, Since the vegetables and water are hot, loosely place the top on the blender. Blend carefully, adding more hot water a little at a time to get a good sauce consistency. (About 1 1/2 cups water.)

Stir the sauce into the cooked and drained macaroni. At this point it could be ready to eat. If desired, spread into a 9x13" baking dish and bake at 350f for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle optional chopped nut topping on during the last 5 minutes of baking.

Parmesan "Cheese" Topping (optional)
1/2 c cashews (or other nuts)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend nuts, "nooch" and salt in blender to a finely chopped consistency being careful not to over-blend and end up with nut butter.

* * *
There are many ways to make the cheeze sauce. Instead of the carrots, use sweet potato or roasted red bell pepper. For richer flavor, add a half cup cashews or other nuts.

Instead of macaroni, use the cheese sauce on top of baked potato with steamed broccoli, or with rice and beans.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chickpea Curry - Pressure Cooker

1 onion diced (1 to 2 cups)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of a 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1 Tablespoon curry powder*
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger
5 cups water
1 to 2 bay leaves
1 lb chickpeas, dry unsoaked
1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) red pepper

Saute' diced onion and mushrooms for 2 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook another minute. Add 2 tablespoons water, garlic, tomato paste, green chiles, curry powder, chili powder, and ginger and cook another minute. Stir in 5 cups water, bay leaves and chickpeas. Cover and cook under pressure for 30 minutes and allow steam to release naturally. Add red cayenne pepper to taste.

* Or 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin and 1 1/2 teaspooons turmeric

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Black Bean Sweet Potato Bars

Sweet potatoes give these bars a moist cheesecake-like texture. Similar to Black Brown Brownies,

1 can black beans, drained (or 1 3/4 cup home-cooked black beans)
1 cup baked sweet potato, peel removed, mashed
3/4 cup dates without pits (firmly packed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Place all ingredients except cocoa powder in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and process until all the ingredients are mixed well.

Spread mixture into an 8" x 8" baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the top looks cracked and the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Cool. Store in fridge.

* * *

Sweet Potato Note: To bake sweet potatoes in a conventional oven, poke holes all over with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until syrup starts to seep out of the potatoes and a fork inserted in the middle goes in easily.

Instant Pot: Place whole sweet potatoes on steamer rack and add 1/2 cup water. Cook under pressure for 14 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally.

Cooked sweet potatoes will keep for a week in the fridge or 4 to 6 months in the freezer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Peanut Sauce

Drizzle peanut sauce over rice or potatoes keeping in mind there is a lot of sodium in the soy sauce. A little goes a long way in adding flavor.

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Stir together all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer gently for two minutes. Store in a small bowl or jar in the refrigerator.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lentil Loaf - Pressure Cooker

Similar to traditional meat loaf but without all the grease. Easy to make though the ingredients list is rather long. When I cook this recipe, I usually double it to make two lentil loaves. First the onions, mushrooms, lentils and rice are cooked in a pressure cooker, then the loaf bakes in the oven.

1 to 2 cups finely chopped onion
1 to 2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups dry uncooked lentils
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 Tablespoon tahini

2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 Tablespoon vegan Worchestershire sauce

Optional Tomato-Maple Glaze
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon paprika

In a pressure cooker, dry-saute' the onions and mushrooms for two minutes. Add 3 cups water, the lentils, rice, bay leaf, thyme and tahini. Cook under pressure for 10 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. Remove bay leaf.

Stir together flax seed meal, 1/3 cup water, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, tomato paste, soy sauce, Worchestershire sauce and walnuts if using. Add this mixture to the cooked lentils and rice and stir well. Fill the loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Stir together Tomato-Maple Glaze ingredients. Spread onto the top of the lentil loaf after it has baked 20 minutes. Continue baking the remaining 20 minutes.

Holiday meal suggestion:

Lentil Loaf, Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy,
 Broccoli Salad, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Carrot Mash

To make burgers instead of a loaf, form pressure-cooked lentil-rice mixture into patties. If the mixture is too wet, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cornmeal. Bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet at 350 for 15 minutes, flip burgers over and bake 15 minutes longer.

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