Tag Archives: vegan

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.

Ginger Pear Lemon Marmalade and Three Plum Chutney

Ginger Pear Lemon Marmalade

I just had a bumper crop of fruit off my trees this fall.  Result? I’ve done  some spicy experiments with homemade jams and chutney, Of course, no fat or animal products used!  Here are my two favorites.  They are quick, easy and amazingly tasty. Try the marmalade on Dave’s Good Seed Bread toast or use instead of the orange marmalade in your “Aussie Bites”.  Use the chutney as a sweet & savory sauce for a vegan pizza. Try not to eat these luscious jams by the spoonful, though, or you’ll have to start a new batch before you know it!

Ginger Pear Lemon Marmalade

7-8 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 C sugar
2 whole lemons, seeded
1 C coarsely chopped crystallized ginger

Put the chopped pears, sugar and 1/2 C of the chopped ginger into a saucepan. Quarter the lemons and remove all the seeds. Chop the lemons into 1/4 inch pieces, including all rind, pulp and juice.  Add all to the pear mixture and bring to a boil on the stove.  Reduce heat and simmer on low 1 hour, stirring occasionally until the sugar has caramelized and the mixture is a golden honey color.  Remove from heat and add the remaining 1/2 C chopped ginger and cool to room temperature.  If you want something very special, stir in  a bit of Cointreau or Brandy.  Keep in the refrigerator for up to one month (it isn’t going to last that long, though).

Three Plum Chutney

1 ½ C Quartered fresh or frozen plums
3/4 C coarse chopped prunes
1/2 C raisins
3/4 C chopped red onion
1/2 tsp Ras el Hanout spice
2 tsp whole seed mustard (any oil-free brand)
2 tsp Kozlik’s Amazing Maple mustard
2 TBSP plum preserves
½ C brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer and low, stirring occasionally, until thick and caramelized (about 2 hours).  Cool completely and pour into a clean container. Refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.

No-fat Vegan Chocolate-Walnut and Pear Tart

No-fat Vegan Chocolate-Walnut & Pear Tart

It is harvest time for beautiful, juicy pears, and I’ve got pear trees laden with fruit this year. There are so many delicious possibilities for fat-free and vegan pear dishes.  I’ve recently seen some amazing online recipes for Chocolate-Pear confections, but all of them share common ingredients that I do not eat: butter, milk, cream. I enthusiastically took on the challenge, and today I present an absolutely sumptuous fat-free dairy-free tart that you can serve proudly to anyone you know.

This tart is more accurately a pie, so it is deep, moist, and should be served in thin slices.  For the crust, I’ve adapted the wonderful pie crust from “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” that is built on apple juice and grape nuts.  I’ve added some unsweetened cocoa, creating a crisp hearty frame for the deep chocolate filling.  I’ve used a great gluten-free chocolate cake mix from Bob’s Red Mill and enhanced it with ground walnuts, resulting in a super moist center studded with vanilla-poached glazed pear.   Enjoy this and share it with your friends.  They’ll probably hug you, and their healthy hearts will thank you!

Chocolate-Walnut and Pear Tart

Crust

1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa
3 TBSP frozen apple juice concentrate
1 1/2 C Grape Nuts cereal (not flakes…they have oil)

Stir the ingredients together until well mixed.  Spoon all into a 9″ pie plate, pressing crumbs up the side to form a crust.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until beginning to brown on the edges and crisp.  Cool for 5 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling

1 C shelled walnuts
1 1/2 C Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix
1 TBSP flax meal softened in 3 TBSP of water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C vanilla soymilk (or any non-dairy milk)

Grind the walnuts for about 1 minute in your food processor.  Add the cake mix and pulse until mixed.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix 30 seconds until fully mixed.  This will be a fairly thick batter.  Pour into the cooled crust.

Poached Pears

2 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, halved
1/2 C sugar
1 TBSP vanilla
1/4 water

Put all ingredients into a sauce pan and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Drain the pears and slice into 1/8″ thick pieces.  Press into the filling, fanning out somewhat for a pretty look.  Bake the tart for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  If you wish, brush the pears with a bit of apple juice concentrate to glaze them. Return to oven and bake another 20 minutes or until a knife barely comes clean.  Do not over bake – you want this to be moist and fudgy.

Fresh Plum Upside Down Cake

No fat Vegan Fresh Plum Upside Down Cake

When I bought my house, I inherited portions of a 50 year-old orchard that once covered the vast hillside where our urban neighborhood now sits.  Pears, apples, grapes. plums, and of course, blackberries grace my kitchen every summer.  This year our plum crop is BIG. What to do? Well, my sis tells me to freeze ’em and worry about what to do later!  So after washing, pitting and halving and freezing a large bucket full, I’ve begun the creative part of the project.

First, I’m dehydrating some in my new Bosch oven.  The special dehydrate setting provides steady 140 degree heat with true convection for 24 hours.  I simply put the halved plums on a small barbecue rack, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and popped them in.  It took only about 8 hours to finish them, and I’m having fun finding different uses for them. which I’ll share later.

Next, I’ve got a sumptuous autumn cake that really makes plums shine! It is, of course, no fat and no animal, as are all my recipes.  I really think it is the kind of cake you could serve to any kind of eater and they would be most appreciative.  You’ll need a 9 ” non-stick cake pan, and a healthy appetite.  I served mine with a light cinnamon cream and it got the gone-in-minutes award of the week in my house.

No fat Vegan Plum Upside Down Cake

1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
7 to 8 medium plums, washed, pitted, halved

1 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1 TBSP. flax meal (ground flax-seed)
1 – 4 oz. container Motts peach apple medley (or 4 oz. applesauce)
1/2 C vanilla soy milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
zest of 1 lemon
3 TBSP vanilla soy milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together well and spread into the bottom of your cake pan.  Place your plums on top of the sugar, skin side down, forming a nice pattern. Depending on the size of your plums, you may need more or fewer halves to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes or until the sugar melts.  Remove pan from oven and prepare batter.

Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and stir just until well mixed.  Pour the batter gently over the plums and return the pan to the oven.  Bake 30-40 minutes until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Invert cake onto a large platter.  Spoon any extra syrup over the top of the cake and enjoy it warm with cinnamon cream (below).

Cinnamon Cream:

1/2 of a 1 lb. package of silken tofu (8 oz.)
1/4 C maple syrup
1 pinch salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Process for 1 – 2 minutes in food processor and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Fieldroast

I use meat substitute products infrequently, but there are a few excellent products on the market that I’ve found really enhance what I can produce in the kitchen. Fieldroast is a Seattle-based company that is now distributing their amazing products worldwide. Their Quarter Loaf is a great product for the Esselstyn lifestyle, because it has no fat in the recipe (most of their other products contain added fat).  Quarter loaves come in 3 flavors: Smoked Tomato, Wild Mushroom, and Lentil Sage.  Each one is a delicious combination of rich flavors and can really add interest to a soup or vegetable dish.  Not inexpensive, but potent when sliced or chopped and used sparingly.  I buy mine at several stores locally, including Whole Foods and Central Market.

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

No-Fat Vegan Ras el Hanout Couscous

No-Fat Vegan Ras el Hanout Couscous

Good news: my long-suffering oven has finally gone to meet it’s maker. Bad news: it is Sunday night and although I have a luscious long list of recipes to test bake, my oven is kaput.  I’m going to Plan B, which is to use the Ras el Hanout spice I was gifted recently to build an exotic batch of stove-top Moroccan couscous. The spice is widely available in the U.S., but it differs greatly in composition from brand to brand.  Mine has warm, fruity scent, almost like the spiced winter holiday pudding I love so much. Wherever you find yours, be sure to sniff to make sure it tempts you, and acquire only small amounts, freshly ground.

This recipe is savory, with sweet dried fruit, but pulls its bright flavor from fresh lemon juice and orange zest. It is finished with crisp toasted walnuts, scallions and chopped cilantro, for a fresh-out-of-the garden texture.  Oh my!

No-fat Vegan Ras el Hanout Couscous 

2 C dried dates and apricots, chopped
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 C dry couscous
2 C water or vegetable broth
1 TBSP Ras el Hanout spice
1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 C coarsely chopped green onion
1/2 C cilantro, chopped
1/2 C walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Zest and juice of 1/2 orange

Instructions

1. Put chopped fruits in a small bowl and marinate in lemon juice for 1 or 2 hours.

2. In a saucepan, bring the couscous, water or vegetable broth, Ras el Hanout spice, garbanzo beans and chopped onion up to a boil.  Cover and simmer on low until the liquid is absorbed, or 20 to 30 minutes. Remove lid and cool for 10 minutes.

3. Mix together the fruit with its marinade, couscous, & green onion.

4. Place the Ras el Hanout couscous in a favorite serving bowl and finish by squeezing the juice of 1/2 orange over all. Garnish with walnuts, cilantro and orange zest.