Crockpot Chili, Ropa Vieja Style

I adapted this recipe from the Ropa Vieja recipe in Robin Robertson’s cookbook The name “ropa vieja” translates as “old clothes”, referring to the texture of shredded meat in the traditional preparation of this dish, whose origins are traced to Sephardic Jewish kitchens in Cuba and Spain. Shredded seitan will give you that texture; I’ve also added red cabbage which will do the same thing, and you can add more of that if you’re not using seitan but still want to get a similar mouth-feel.

Traditionally this dish would include bell peppers; I can’t eat those, but if you can, go for it.

1 medium onion, chopped
12-15 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
1-2 cups portabello mushroom, diced
olive oil (optional)
1 25oz can tomato sauce (any kind you like – I use Whole Foods brand Italian Herb)
1 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder (I use Vulcan Fire Salt, which is an in-house blend from the Spice House in Chicago, but you can use any chili powder or no chili powder or…whatever you like)
1 tsp smoked paprika (I use smoked hot paprika; if you don’t like things as spicy as I do, you might used smoked sweet or just leave this out)
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
cilantro (to your liking)
salt (to taste)
1 15oz can black beans
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1lb seitan OR 1lb tofu OR another can of beans OR 1 cup soy curls or TVP (add an extra cup of water or veg broth if using dehydrated protein)
chopped greens — as much as you like, any kind (I usually use something hearty like kale or collards)
lime juice
nutritional yeast (optional)

Put the veggies in the crockpot. Drizzle olive oil over them if desired. Add all the other ingredients except the greens and nutritional yeast. Stir. Cook on low for 4-6hrs. Add greens, lime juice, and yeast. Taste for seasoning; adjust as needed. Cook on low for another 30 minutes. Serve with grain of your choice (I like brown basmati rice).

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Creamy Root Veg Soup with Chickpeas and Greens

I adapted this recipe from I used yam, beet, and ginger root in the base instead of sweet potato, carrot, and celery. I was planning to use a sweet potato, but when I went to the store last night there were no sweet potatoes and there was exactly one yam, which I snatched up promptly, and it worked very nicely. This soup goes well with quinoa and is a delicious wintry treat.

BROTH
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
12-15 cloves garlic
1 large yam
1 beet (save the greens!)
1/4 – 1/2 cup ginger root
teeny tiny pinch of cloves
salt & pepper
6 cups water

Heat the oil in your soup pot. Chop the veggies coarsely — everything’s going in the blender at the end, so don’t worry about making the bits bite-sized. You can peel your root veggies if you want to; I usually don’t, especially since they’re going in the blender. Saute the onion for a couple minutes, then add all the other solid ingredients and stir for another couple minutes. Add the water. Turn the heat up high and bring it to a boil, then turn it all the way to low. Cover the pot and let simmer for 30-35 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 15-20 minutes. Put everything in the blender or food processor (you may need to do this in batches unless your device is enormous), and process till smooth. You can freeze whatever you don’t use right away.

SOUP
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
ground red pepper powder to taste (I used 1 tsp Vulcan Fire Salt)
1 can coconut milk
4 cups creamy root veg broth (see above)
greens (use the beet greens you saved, and add any other leafy greens you like)
2 cans chickpeas
lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, nutritional yeast as desired

Melt the coconut oil in your soup pot. Add the spices and let them toast for a minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the coconut milk, broth, greens, and chickpeas. Simmer for 15-30 minutes. You can leave it alone for a while, but check it periodically to make sure it’s not burning on the bottom. Add lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, and/or nutritional yeast to your liking.

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Indonesian-Inspired Curry Soup with Hazelnut Base

This recipe was loosely inspired by this recipe from Spice Island Vegan. I had quite a few toasted hazelnuts left over from an adventure with homemade nutella a few months ago, which turned out to be perfect in this recipe. I highly recommend using coconut oil if possible, as it brings out the flavors really optimally and gives the soup a nice rich texture, but if you prefer to use soy butter, or even ordinary olive oil or vegetable oil, that will work just fine too.

1 medium onion
12-15 cloves garlic
1” knob ginger root
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
8 cups veg broth
2 cups dry TVP chunks or soy curls
1 bunch chopped cilantro
2-3 medium potatoes, chopped into bite sized chunks
~2 cups red cabbage, chopped into bite size chunks
any veggies you want, really
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
soy sauce and lemon juice to taste

Combine the onion, garlic, ginger, and hazelnuts in a food processor. Process into a paste.
Melt the coconut oil in your soup pot. Saute the paste for 5 minutes or so. Add the spices, let them toast in there for a minute or two, then add the veg broth, TVP, cilantro, and whateever veggies you’re using. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add the nutritional yeast (if using) and soy sauce and/or lemon juice to your heart’s content. Serve with brown basmati rice or noodles or whatever grain you prefer.

 photo 2EF50007-E137-47A8-B4AE-0760901C734E-148-0000000CAE332DA8_zps39696372.jpg

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Pumpkin-Chickpea Scramble

My wonderful friend Simone is here visiting me this weekend! The morning before she arrived, I made a batch of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins. Whenever I make those muffins, I end up with the rest of the can of pumpkin and I have to figure out something new to do with it. I often like to make Pumpkin Tofu Scramble for breakfast, but today I wanted to try something different, and I was really in the mood for chickpeas, so I got the idea to adapt it for a chickpea scramble. Here it is!

close-up on a bowl of pumpkin-chickpea scramble with spinach leaves and brown basmati rice, and a fork

1 Tbsp or so olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz can chickpeas (~2 cups cooked chickpeas), drained and rinsed
a few tablespoons apple cider vinegar
some form of soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 Tbsp powdered sage
2 tsp powdered thyme
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup nutritional yeast or more if you feel like it needs it
hot sauce, chili powder, whatever you like to use to make things hot (I use Vulcan’s Fire Salt or nothing at all if you’re not into that
a few handfuls of spinach leaves or whatever veggies you like in your scramble

Heat the olive oil over medium to medium-low heat. Saute the onions for a few minutes. While the onions are sauteing, put the chickpeas in a bow with some apple cider vinegar and soy sauce or liquid aminos, and mash them up. They don’t have to be completely mashified, just as mashy as you want them. Add the garlic to the saute pan, give it about a minute, then add the chickpeas and the spices (including hot sauce if you’re using it). Stir this all together. Add the pumpkin puree and some more apple cider vinegar and/or soy sauce, and the nutritional yeast. Continue stirring and adding liquid and/or nutritional yeast until it reaches the texture you want. Stir in the spinach leaves (if you’re using tougher veggies, you might want to add them sooner so they have a chance to cook more). Serve with toast, rice, or whatever grainy thing you enjoy.

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Toasted Sesame Infused Chocolate Chip Cookies

I always love chocolate chip cookies, and I always love finding little ways to make them just a bit more interesting. This was today’s adventure.

I got exactly 15 cookies out of this recipe.

1/2 cup soy butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or equivalent amount of additional soy butter)
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
3/4 cup sugar (I used about half brown, half white)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (maybe a little less than that, definitely not more)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Soften the soy butter and coconut oil. Combine thoroughly with the sesame oil and sugar. Add the applesauce and vanilla extract, stirring all ingredients together to make a creamy batter. Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Once these are all stirred in, add the chocolate chips. Scoop approximately-tablespoon-sized blobs of batter onto a cookie sheet, leaving room between the blobs as they will spread quite a bit. Bake for 10-14 minutes.

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Mushroom-Barley-Veggie Soup (for slow cooker!)

I’m not doing VeganMoFo this year because I didn’t feel like I could commit to posting regularly enough to do the whole month thing. But I’m still here and I’m still cooking!! I got a slow cooker recently and I’m so in love with it. Here is my newest recipe, slow cooker style!

1 onion, diced
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 medium tomatoes (~1 14.5oz can), diced, with their juices
4 cups portabello mushrooms (or any mushrooms you like), sliced into bite-sized pieces
2-3 medium potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup pearl barley
½ cup black (beluga) lentils (optional, or use some other kind of lentils if you don’t have these)
4-5 cups veg broth
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp dill
½ Tbsp sage
½ Tbsp black pepper
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce (I use Bragg’s liquid aminos)
several handfuls of chopped greens (I used collards)
lemon juice to taste
nutritional yeast (optional)

Note: I used dried herbs, so proportions are noted accordingly. If you’re using fresh herbs, you’ll want to adjust as needed.

Put all ingredients except the greens and lemon juice in the slow cooker. Cook for 6 hours on low. Add greens and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired, then cook for another 30 minutes on low. Add nutritional yeast if desired.

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Guacazpacho Noodle Soup

The idea for this recipe has been simmering (so to speak) in my head for a few days now! I had a bunch of avocados on hand that I needed to use, and I wanted to do something more interesting than just making a smoothie or guacamole. I’ve also been really wanting to come up with some cold soups for summer. I love the idea of gazpacho, but I can’t eat bell peppers, so that’s not for me. So I came up with this recipe that uses the theoretical idea of gazpacho (cold soup, tasty vegetables, most of the “cooking” is just “everything sits together in the fridge”) and the flavor profile of guacamole…plus some other stuff that seemed like it would go well in there, like coconut milk and black beans and noodles!

You can actually make this recipe without cooking anything. I prefer garlic and beans cooked, so my soup involved cooking, but if you don’t want to cook them, just ignore the olive oil, put everything except the beans and noodles in the blender raw, blend it up, add the beans and noodles, and then refrigerate it all. TA DA! Raw soup!

But if you want to cook your soup, you can follow the instructions below.

olive oil
10-12 cloves garlic, minced
3 avocados
1 can (15oz) full-fat coconut milk
1 cup tomatoes, diced (including juice)
a handful of cilantro (omit if you hate it)
⅓ – ½ cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
hot sauce to taste
salt, soy sauce, or Bragg’s liquid aminos to taste
noodles as desired (i used green bean flour cellophane noodles)

Preheat a soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add the minced garlic, stirring frequently till it starts to brown (turn down the heat if necessary so it doesn’t burn!) Squeeze in the avocado meat. Make a big mess. This is the best part. Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, and cilantro. Stir till well-combined.
Put the contents of the pot in a blender. Blend till thoroughly liquefied. Pour it back into the pot.
Stir in the nutritional yeast and lime juice.
Set the pot back on the stove. Add the black beans and turn the heat to medium. Make sure to cover the pot now, unless you enjoy getting splashed in the face with hot soup! When it starts to splash up against the pot cover, turn the heat down to low. Cook it like this for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the noodles. Refrigerate. Serve cold.

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