Vegan Food Nerd


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Harvest vegetable stew

20141016_173321I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting very frequently this month. Life has been busy! We’re still cooking lots but I haven’t been taking the time to write down recipes and take pictures. However, this is the perfect season for a nice hearty stew so I wanted to put something together that is easy, yummy and filling that tastes like autumn in a bowl!

We have been getting bounty bags from the Mustard Seed Co-op that include a variety of local fruits and veggies and we had quite a bit left to use up after Thanksgiving, so I came up with this dish. I also used some leftover seitan roast we had made for Thanksgiving, and it went really well here. You can use your favourite veggie sausage chopped up instead, or make your own, or just leave it out! I apologize for not posting this last week when I made it in case you had some leftovers too.

Notes:

  • The tomato paste and balsamic vinegar in this dish really add to the flavour of the stew and will help round out the flavours. The added acidity they add is something I wouldn’t skip!
  • I used a mixture of mushroom and vegetable broths, but would recommend any stronger flavoured broths for this.
  • I wanted to add some chopped fresh pumpkin as well, but forgot that it was sitting on the counter!
  • My stew thickened up really nicely just by adding the lentils into the pot and letting them simmer in the pot for another 5 minutes or so. If you don’t find your stew is thick enough add a little cornstarch dissolved in water.

Ingredients

1 large leek (or 2 medium) cut into strips or small pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger root, minced
1 small acorn squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3-5 small potatoes, cubed
1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
2 celery stalks, 1/4″ pieces
2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs (sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried savory
1 tbsp tomato paste
6 cups veg broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
1 cup leftover seitan, cubed (optional)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1) Saute leeks in 1 tbsp of olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir and saute another minute, until fragrant.

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2) Add veggies (squash, sweet potato, potato, parsnip, carrot, celery) and saute 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

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3) Add veggie broth, herbs, smoked paprika, coriander, savory and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmerand cook uncovered about 15 minutes, or until veggies are fork tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. If veggies are not tender after 15 minutes, cover and allow to simmer another 5-10 minutes.

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4) Once veggies are tender, add lentils, seitan, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

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5) Heat through, simmering, about 5 minutes more. The addition of the lentils should thicken your stew up nicely. Check for salt and seasonings.

6) Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving to allow flavours to meld together. Serve with crusty bread!

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Lentil curry (a veggie packed dahl)

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So first thing’s first. Sometimes recipes don’t work out the way you intend them too. Sometimes, you plan and you put in lots of meticulous effort, and still…something goes wrong. Many times that means ruining a recipe, but in some cases you end up with a happy accident! That may be what happened here. What was supposed to be a red lentil curry soup, ended up as a puréed curry with a side of spiced rice (see notes), and it was absolutely delicious. Not at all what I had intended to make, but still lovely to eat!

This all started when I realized I was out of the red lentils I needed for the soup and subbed them with yellow split peas. I don’t remember yellow split peas taking eons to cook (and the package said they only needed 25-30 minutes to boot) yet mine just didn’t want to cook down. So this meant the soup had to stay on the stove so long that the veggies got way too mushy to be eaten as soup. I thought the hand blender would salvage the giant pot of gorgeous veggies and aromatic spices, and it worked out fine! This all got blended up and tasted like a really delicious Indian dahl dish. So, if that’s what you would also like, follow the instructions below.

Notes:

  • If you would rather have a soup, use red lentils as they will break down much more quickly and you’ll end up with the perfect veggies. Or, even with red lentils, go ahead and puree the batch for a curry. Yellow split peas don’t normally take an hour to cook like they did for me, so either ingredient should work fine for you!
  • I served this with brown basmati rice flavoured with cardamom and cloves. Cook your rice as per the package instructions, but throw in a handful of cloves and green cardamom pods when you add your rice to the water. For 1 cup of rice I used about 13-14 cloves and 7-8 cardamom pods. I also used a tsp or two of coconut oil to prevent sticking. The rice had a great flavour that contrasted well with the curry. (Just remember to remove the cloves and pods before serving)
  • We also ate the curry and the rice with some onion bhajis. Yum!
  • This makes a large vat, so halve the recipe if you don’t want a bunch of leftovers.

Ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced, fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/4 tsp saffron turmeric
1/2 large head cauliflower (8 cups)
2 small red potatoes
2 small sweet potatoes
1 cup yellow split peas or red lentils
8 cups vegetable broth (or 6 cups of broth, 2 cups of water)
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups packed greens such as kale and swiss chard
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for serving

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Directions

1) In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 4-5 minutes.

2) Add fresh ginger and garlic and heat for another 30 seconds – 1 minute, stirring, until fragrant. Add spice mixture (I like to get mine all measured out in a ramekin so it’s ready to go) and add to the pot. Cook for another minute or two, stirring, to toast the spices.

20140918_17060520140918_1711083) Add 6 cups of the vegetable broth, and the red lentils or yellow split peas to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Simmer for 10 minutes if using split peas.

20140918_1718404) Add cauliflower and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until veggies are tender. If you need more liquid, add more broth or more water to the pot. If using red lentils they should have broken down after 25 minutes and you can go ahead and enjoy this as a soup. If not, keep cooking until everything is cooked. You can puree or not depending on your preference.

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5) Taste for salt and seasonings, adding more as desired. Add greens and cook until wilted. Stir in freshly ground black pepper.

6) Either ladle into bowls and enjoy as a soup (even the pureed version), or serve with rice. Garnish as desired.

Makes around 8 servings

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Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowl

20130918_182023The great thing about buddha bowls is you can really adapt them based on what is in season, what you happen to have in your kitchen, and of course what you love to eat. Two of my favourite roasted vegetables are cauliflower and sweet potato. I love how the cauliflower takes on a bit of a nuttiness from roasting, with some delicious carmelization to boot. I served the veggies with some red quinoa, spinach and arugula, and a lemony white bean sauce. It’s a great quick meal that also tastes great the next day!

Notes:

  • This recipe is mega adaptable. Besides the vegetables, add a bean or grain, some greens and a sauce to top it off with. The greens can be raw or steamed/sautéed. The options are plentiful! 
  • I didn’t cook the greens in this recipe but the hot veggies and quinoa wilted them a little bit.
  • If you happen to have any leftovers, you may have to thin the sauce a bit with some water the next day as it can thicken in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, cut into cubes
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup of uncooked quinoa (I used red)
1 cup of spinach
1 cup of arugula
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Lemony White Bean Sauce

1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
1 large lemon, juiced
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp of sea salt
2-4 tbsp of water to thin the sauce
drizzle of olive oil (optional)

20130918_1820291) Preheat oven to 400 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) Cook quinoa according to package instructions or use my method outlined here. Rinse quinoa in a colander and drain. Preheat a medium sized pot over medium heat and add 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Add quinoa and stir to coat. Continue stirring frequently to toast quinoa – it should brown a little. Add 2 cups of water or veggie stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or until water is all used up. Stir with a fork to fluff quinoa and keep it covered until ready to serve.

3) Toss cauliflower and sweet potato with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil (enough to coat the veggies lightly) and salt and pepper and add to baking sheets in a single layer.

4) Roast veggies for 15 minutes, turn and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until browned and to your preferred tenderness. If your cookie sheets don’t fit in your oven side by side, be sure to switch the rack they are on when you flip the veggies (they may also need some extra time for browning).

5) To serve: Divide greens amongst your serving plates/bowls, top with a few scoops of quinoa, cauliflower and sweet potato, and drizzle with white bean sauce (recipe follows). Serve with extra sauce on the side because it’s hard not to go back for more!

Serves 3-4

Lemony White Bean Sauce

1) Add all ingredients to your food processor or blender, minus the water, and blend until smooth and creamy. You can add more lemon, garlic or salt to suit your own tastes. If it seems thick, add water 1 tbsp at a time until it reaches desired consistency.