Category Archives: Vegetable entrees

Succulent vegetable dishes!

Braised Cabbage with Washington Apples and Onions

Cabbage is on sale this week for $.33/lb.  I love a great autumn braise of cabbage, and because I live in the “Apple state”, and I have easy access to Walla Walla Sweet onions, I’m set.  This recipe is my no-fat vegan adaptation of an old favorite recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Cook With Jamie cookbook.  It is a nummy dish on its own, but is also a nice ingredient in other recipes.  For example, try this Linguine with Truffle-dried Tomatoes and Braised Cabbage.

Braised Cabbage with Washington Apples and Onions

1 TBSP fennel seeds
1-2 C vegetable broth
1 large Walla Walla Sweet onion, peeled and sliced
2 good Washington eating apples, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
1 red or green cabbage, core removed and chopped into irregular chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 C nice balsamic vinegar
1/4 C sugar or maple syrup
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Use a large soup pot, because you will have a lot of volume to start until your vegetables cook down.  Turn on the stove to high and add the fennel seeds, letting them toast for 30 seconds or so.  Add your broth, onions, apples and cabbage, and bring the pot to a full boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook, stirring every 10 minutes or so for about 45 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar, sweetener and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and continue cooking on low for another 30 minutes. Your mixture should be cooking way down to a soft delicious mash, or as Jaime Oliver says, “a gorgeously sticky-sweet cabbage dish that you’ll want to eat immediately, straight out of the pan”.  You will have quite a bit of liquid in the pot, so remove the lid now and turn up the heat to let most of that liquid boil off.  You’ll need to tend the pot, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the remaining liquid has reduced to a delicious syrupy consistency.  Test your seasoning again, adding more sugar or salt/pepper as needed.

Vegetable Polenta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

I have a wonderful friend who gifted me with a bursting bag of home-grown tomatoes every color in the rainbow.  Hoping to extend the bounty over time, I dried a thick layer of these little sugar disks overnight in my dehydrator, but ironically, the outcome was so delicious, sweet, succulent, that I had to wrap them into an amazing sauce and eat them all the very next day.  I discovered a great no-fat polenta; whipped up this fresh herb, sun-dried tomato ragu and garnished with a herb & garlic “creme”.  I really have to credit the amazingly sweet dried tomatoes with the huge flavor in this dish.  Frieda’s organic polenta is fabulous too.  Try it!!

Vegetable Polenta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

1/2 C vegetable broth
1/2  red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 large fresh tomato, diced
1 TBSP Carlita Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa
1 16-ounce package Frieda’s Polenta (Original, Sun Dried Tomato, or Wild Mushroom)

Minced green onions, chopped cilantro or Italian parsley for garnish

Simmer the first 8 ingredients for 15 minutes over medium low heat.  Slice the polenta in  1/4 inch slices and brown in a non-stick pan on medium high heat.   Spoon 1/2 C sauce onto each plate. Place 4 polenta slices on the sauce and garnish with garlic cream, minced green onion and chopped cilantro or Italian parsley.

Garlic creme

2 oz. firm or silken plain tofu
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 TBSP fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 C plain non-dairy milk (soy or rice)
Salt and pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in your food processor until the consistency of thick cream.  Serve with polenta.

Individual No-Fat Barbecued Pizza

I’ve spent a lot of time lately cooking outside on the grill while I wait for my new oven to arrive.  Fortunately, I benefit from my college-age son’s vast experience at this.  He has taught me that if you are really doing it right, barbecue  can be the centerpiece activity for your family or your guests  Don’t just cook outside, party outside! Take your time. Don’t try to do 5 other things. You wait until the coals are really ready. You gather your people in comfortable chairs by the grill so they can enjoy the smells and watch the lusciousness emerge. Everybody loves to help, even if it is just to offer advice!

To really pull people into the scene, I love to do individual pizzas, where everyone assembles their own from an assortment of ingredients. For an easy crust, I use Basson Pita Bread.  It stands up to the coals well without charring, and crisps up perfectly after 20 minutes on a low grill.  You can use any sauce you like, but I like a raw sauce where the flavors are bright and stand up to the smokey grilled flavor of the crust. I also enjoy using a good no-oil barbecue sauce.  Spoon your finished sauce onto the pitas, lay out your array of ingredients and let your eaters make their masterpieces.  Grill for about 20 minutes on low heat, covered, checking often to be sure your coals are not too hot for the bread. Use the indirect method of grilling if possible, discussed here at BBQ University. With this pita bread and the correct low heat, you will not need to oil the grill, making this an Esselstyn diet success.

Quick no-cook tomato sauce:

1 can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 TBSP agave or maple syrup
1 tsp salt
dash ground chipotle or black pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth.

Set out your pizza toppings. For the most part, be sure you have pre-cooked the toppings, since they will not be on the grill long enough to cook. I’ve found a couple successful exceptions: finely chopped garlic, thinly slice red onion, and of course, fresh sliced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes.  Some of my favorite combinations are here:

BBQ sauce with Smoked Tomato Field Roast, pan-grilled onions, broth-sautéed sliced sweet potato/yam, sunflower seeds and fresh chopped basil

Tomato sauce with fresh sliced tomato, broth-sautéed sliced fennel root, chopped garlic, steamed snow peas, fresh chopped parsley and toasted walnuts

Sun-dried tomato (water packed or re-hydrated dried), chopped artichoke hearts and toasted walnuts w/fresh chopped herbs (basil, mint, parsley)

Tomato sauce with sautéed wild mushrooms and fresh herbs

Grilled Stuffed Portabello with Spinach, Garlic & Sun-dried Tomatoes

Grilled Portabello Stuffed with Spinach, Garlic, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Grilling without fat is my new puzzle to solve for the summer. I’ve got a winner this week with my no-fat vegan stuffed Portabello.  The ingredients I’ve used are succulent, but the real trick with this one is to grill it over some natural mesquite wood charcoal.  There are a lot of whole hardwood lump charcoal brands available.  I used Best of the West Natural Mesquite Briquettes, which I got at Fred Meyer.  A small 8 Cup tower of them burned to “ready” in 20 minutes and lasted perfectly for my batch of 4 mushrooms.

This mushroom can certainly be done in the oven, but it is a whole different animal after spending 20 minutes intimately mingling with hardwood smoke on my Weber tabletop grill.  This recipe is an adaptation of one from the Weber’s Real Grilling cookbook.

Grilled Stuffed Portabello with Spinach, Garlic and Sun-dried Tomatoes

6-8 C Chopped fresh spinach
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 C halved fresh cherry tomatoes
1/2 C water-packed or re-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 Tbsp. capers, drained and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 or 4 medium portabello mushrooms
2 C fresh bread crumbs (Dave’s Goodseed or your favorite no-oil vegan bread)
1 clove peeled garlic
4 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley or cilantro

Instructions

1. Prepare the grill.  Make a stack of charcoal, enough for a single layer under your mushrooms, and light.  After 20 minutes, the coals should be ready to spread out in a single layer under the grate.

2. Gently rinse the portabellos and remove the stems. With a spoon, scrape out the black gills and discard.  Marinate the caps for 15 minutes with a few splashes of seasoned rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar.

3. Make the filling in a saucepan.  Put the first 7 ingredients together and heat over medium heat, covered with a lid, until the onion is soft, stirring occasionally and adding a small  amount of water when necessary to keep from sticking or burning.

4. Prepare the breadcrumbs in the food processor.  I use 2 slices of bread and 2 peeled clove of garlic.  Process and toast at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes.  Chop your fresh herbs and set aside with the breadcrumbs.

5. Grill your mushroom caps for 10 minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill and stuff each cap with your filling.  Return to the grill (which should now be on a low heat- maybe 300 to 325 degrees) for 15 to 20 minutes, closing the lid and allowing the wood smoke to mingle with the mushrooms.

6. Remove the cooked portabellos from the grill.  Cover each cap well with toasted breadcrumbs and sprinkle with chopped herbs.

No-fat Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

No-fat Vegan Shepherds Pie – adapted from Simply Recipes

My sister has embraced some serious no-fat vegan cooking. She is a creative gal who has a long history of cooking for a house full of hungry boys, so she will often adapt a meat-oriented recipe. Her new version Shepherd’s Pie -adapted from the website Simply Recipes, really works to satisfy that craving for ground round beef!  She is using a vegetarian ground beef product called Smart Ground, which I buy at Fred Meyer, Whole Foods, or Central Market.

The original recipe states that “Shepherds Pie is an English dish, traditionally made with lamb or mutton. Americans typically make Shepherd’s Pie with beef. The English (and Australians and New Zealanders) call the beef dish a “cottage pie”. Naming conventions aside, Shepherd’s Pie is essentially a casserole, lined with cooked meat and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked.”

Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes…It takes more time than that!
Cook time: 50 minutes

2 pkg. SMART GROUND
2 onions chopped
3-4 cups vegetables – chopped carrots, fresh or frozen corn, peas
3 – 4 lbs potatoes (6 big ones)
Nondairy milk for mashing potatoes or water
1 to  2 cups vegetable or mushroom broth- double strength (depending on how “saucy” you like this)
Flour or WONDRA for thickening the sauce
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, (other seasonings of choice)

Instructions

1. Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).

2. “Sauté” onions and carrots over medium heat in vegetable broth  in a non-stick pan until tender. Mix in corn and peas.

3. Add SMART GROUND in chunks  and sauté until browning a bit. Add salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce and a cup of vegetable broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more broth as necessary to keep moist. Whisk in a tablespoon or so of flour or WONDRA to thicken the gravy.

4. Mash potatoes in bowl with a bit of broth, salt, pepper and your favorite non dairy milk until they are the consistency you like. Season to taste.

5. Put the SMART GROUND veggie mixture into 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.

6. Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown. ( Or just heat in microwave)

Yield: Serves eight.

No-Fat Beet and Black Bean Burgers

Adaptation of Northstar Beet and Black Bean Burger

Barbecue season is upon us! Somehow, I ended up with 4 grills on my deck for the summer, so I’m hunting down no-fat ideas for grilling and smoking my grains and veggies to succulence. Today, I’ll share my adaptation on a famous vegan dish- the Northstar Beet and Black Bean Burger.This recipe is widely circulated online, but for a no-fat vegan, it required a few modifications.

I love the sweetness of the recipe, so my changes are mostly directed toward building a burger that holds together properly for cooking with no oil.  I do recommend using whole spices and grinding them fresh- it makes SUCH a difference in the flavor, but you can substitute pre-ground spices, of course!

This is kind of a messy project (do you like red fingers?) but when you are finished, you will have a large freezer bag full of handy burgers to cook at your convenience! You will need a food processor and an oven safe non-stick pan for this project. Check out my favorite:  the Woll Nowo pan.

Beet & Black Bean Burger

1 1/2 C cooked brown rice
1 large onion
2 large beets
1 can black beans, well drained
5 cloves garlic
1/2 C raisins
1 jalapeno or 1/tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp whole cumin
1/2 tsp whole coriander
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
A dash of liquid smoke
1 Cup whole wheat flour

Instructions

1. Cook your brown rice using your favorite method and add it to a large mixing bowl.

2. Peel and quarter your onion and beets. You want a some texture in the veggies here, so you’re going to process in your food processor until the chop is fairly fine, but not mushy (see picture).  Do the beets first and add them to a large fry pan. Repeat the process with your onions.

3. Add 1/2 C of water to the beets & onions and “saute” on medium with a lid until tender – about 10 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes to avoid sticking, and add a little more water as needed. The idea here is to get a nice cooked beet that still has some texture.

4. While your beets are simmering, go back to your food processor and add the garlic, raisins, jalapeno (or red pepper flakes), cumin and coriander. Process for about 2 minutes- until the raisins are well ground. Add this mixture to the brown rice. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, hot sauce, and liquid smoke. Mix together well.

5. Add your drained black beans and sauteed beets & onions to the rice mixture and stir until completely mixed. Add your flour and mix thoroughly.

6.To form your burgers, cut wax paper into 5 ” squares. Using an ice-cream scoop, form 18 burgers, one per square.

7. Flatten with a spoon and freeze on a cookie sheet for at least 45 minutes.  Store in the freezer in a ziplock bag.

8. Using an oven proof non-stick pan, you can cook these on low heat on your stove top, or use the non-stick frypan on top of your grill over indirect heat to “grill” or smoke the burgers. Barbecue University has excellent tutorial on the indirect method of grilling.

Vegan Smoked Stuffed Poblano Chiles



Sunshine and warmth have arrived in the Pacific Northwest, and I can hardly wait to fire up the grill.  In fact, I did!  I wanted to veganize my old recipe for stuffed Poblanos, which I smoke outside on my charcoal chiminea.  This is a new no-fat stuffing and I honestly prefer it to the old one, which was full of oil and cheese.  Black beans smoked with maple, garlic and onions, accompanied by a fresh salad of sweet corn, red pepper and cilantro and topped with a great vegan queso – fabulous summery flavors, even in April.

Vegan Smoked Stuffed Chiles with Corn Salad and Queso

Set up your outdoor grill or smoker for indirect grilling and preheat to medium.  Soak your wood chips for 30 minutes.  If using a gas grill, place the chips in a smoker box and preheat on high until you see smoke, then reduce heat to medium.  If using a charcoal grill, preheat to medium, stack the coals around the edges, leaving the center free of heat (where you will set your pan of peppers), and toss the chips onto the coals.  Have your stuffed peppers ready!  If you aren’t up for the outdoor project, you can also simply put them in your oven, covered, on 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.

Black Bean Stuffing
2 cans black beans, 1 can drained
2 cloves minced garlic
1 medium chopped onion
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 c. to 1/2 c good quality pure maple syrup
1/4 c. cooking sherry

Simmer all ingredients together, uncovered, until liquid has boiled off and beans are thick.  Slice 4 Poblano peppers in half lengthwise and remove stems and seeds. Fill each 1/2 pepper with beans and smoke outdoors on a medium grill (I place them in a heavy-duty foil pan) until tender (about 30 minutes) or bake in a 350 degree oven, covered, for 30 minutes.   Serve dressed with Corn salad and Nacho Mom’s Ultimate Vegan Queso.  It’s gonna be good!

Corn Salad
About 3 c. frozen or fresh sweet corn
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup  cilantro or Italian parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
a few splashes of seasoned rice vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste