Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spicy Lentils and Rice


3/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup brown lentils
1 cup rice
salt for seasoning
1 tablespoon chilli powder (or as desired)
600 ml of water and stock


1) Allow red lentils to soak for one hour or overnight
2) Cook the rice seperately, drain and put to one side
3) Combine the remaining ingredients in a pot bringing
the mixture to a boil, and then simmer for about an hour. Keep an eye on the process - do not allow the mixture to burn, add water as necessary.
4) Combine the rice with the lentil mixture and stir well. Season with salt the individual dishes.

Each serving, of approximately two cups, is approximately 500 calories. The meal is nutritious as it combines both grain and protein, and the chilli powder facilitates ones metabolism process. The amount made can be halved or doubled and the mixture can be frozen.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 2 hours

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mango peach smoothie


1 (6 ounce) package vegan peach yogurt
1 cup frozen mango
1 cup frozen peaches
1 banana
2 teaspoons sweetener (I use pure via)
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vanilla nondairy milk (I use soy)
1/4 cup vegan whipped cream, optional


1. Blend ingredients, except whipped cream, together thoroughly in blender.

2. Top with vegan whipped cream, if desired.

Makes: 2 smoothies, Preparation time: 2 mins

Friday, June 24, 2011

Salsa de Llaja


3 lbs fresh or canned tomatoes
1 small bunch fresh or 1.5 tablespoon dried cilantro (this is also called
fresh coriander or Chinese parsley)
1 small bunch scallions (you may substitute 1 medium onion)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic
7-10 tomatillos (optional - see Note)
10-20 Fresh hot peppers (serrano or jalapeno peppers or a mixture)


This is a very hot Mexican style salsa picante. Traditionally, it is eaten as a dip with tortilla chips, or spooned over anything that needs spicing up.

The name comes from most peoples first response to it - YAA HAAA. I aint kiddin about it being HOT.

The recipe is original. I would prefer, howe'ver, to call it traditional, as there is nothing particularly unusual about it.


1. Deseed the tomatoes and press out most of the liquid. The more you squeeze the tomatoes, the less liquid the salsa will be. Chop them moderately fine (1/4 inch or so). Put in a NON METALLIC bowl or jar.

2. If you are using fresh cilantro, wash it and discard the stems. Chop the leaves and add to the tomatoes. If you're using dried, just dump it in.

3. Chop the scallions, garlic and tomatillos and add.

4. Deseed the peppers (see Note), chop finely, and add.

5. Add the vinegar and mix well. If you are using dried cilantro, let it sit for a few minutes to let the dried leaves soften.

6. This is can be served immediately, although the flavors will be better mixed after a few hours in the refrigerator. It will keep indefinitely if refrigerated.


1. Squeezing tomatoes is fun, but they tend to squirt. Watch your aim.

2. I have heard it said that tomatillos should be lightly steamed or microwaved before being added. I don't notice any difference either way.

3. Fresh hot peppers are a bit dangerous to handle. The oil that makes them HOT seems to stay on your hands forever. WASH YOUR HANDS with lots of soap after cutting them up and before touching your eyes or nose. Under NO circumstances use your thumbnail to scrape out the seeds. I did once and regretted it for a week. Some cookbooks insist that you wear rubber gloves while handling the peppers; I think this is a bit extreme. Do be careful, though.

4. This is supposed to be HOT. If you don't like this strength, feel free to reduce the number of peppers. Note also that the salsa will mellow a bit after a day or so in the refrigerator.

Note also that peppers may vary drastically in hotness depending on growing conditions. Taste to make sure. To check peppers for hotness, don't just pop a chunk in your mouth. If you do, all you will taste is hot. Put a small piece of the pepper on a tortilla chip, and eat the whole thing.

5. You can use pickled peppers here, but the taste is quite different, and, to my taste, far inferior. I prefer the taste of canned tomatoes, though. Around here (the Washington, D. C. area), it seems like all you can get fresh are the dreaded orange tennis ball tomatoes.

6. Just about any kind of capsicum pepper can be added. Different peppers will give different tastes. Experiment! Note that the serrano or jalapeno peppers mentioned above are quite small - reduce the number appropriately if you use larger peppers. The general rule for peppers is the smaller and greener it is, the hotter it is. Pepinos (very small and green) are spectacularly hot, while red bell peppers have practically no heat.

7. Dont let anything metallic sit in the salsa for any length of time. Metal (even stainless steel!) will cause an off taste as it dissolves.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tomato and Basil Pasta


1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti or thin spaghetti
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh basil, to taste (I use 2 tablespoons prepared basil)


1. Cook whole-wheat spaghetti according to package directions (make sure to salt the pasta water!).

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. While skillet heats, add tomatoes to pan. Add garlic to skillet and season with salt and pepper.

3. Saute the mixture until tomatoes are blistered and garlic is fragrant (be careful not to burn the garlic!). Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

4. Return pasta to pot and add the tomato mixture. If you like a thinner sauce, add water to desired consistency. Add basil and toss.

Source of recipe: I modified this from a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Walnuts


2 large or 4 smaller sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 cup sweetener (I use 1/2 cup brown rice syrup and 1/2 cup maple syrup, or 1 cup brown sugar)
1/2 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I use freshly grated)
1 cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Steam the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes or until slightly tender, but not cooked through. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Place the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the apples.

2. In a frying pan, combine remaining ingredients, except walnuts. Boil for at least 1 minute, then add walnuts. Boil for at least another minute.

3. Pour mixture over potatoes and apples and mix well. Bake for 45 minutes uncovered.

Makes: 8 servings, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Veggie Tofu Scramble

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 small onion finely chopped
1 red pepper finely chopped
1 link soy-sausage
1 cup spinach finely chopped
1/2 block tofu
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small clove garlic minced
salt, pepper, your choice of seasoning


- Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat
- Add onion, season and saute
- Add sausage and stir
- In a separate small pan, heat olive oil over medium heat
- Add tofu and garlic
- Break up in pan, season and cover
- In pan with onions, add red pepper and spinich and season lightly
- Add tofu and stir

Serve alone or with pita bread and lebneh (recommended)

Serves: 3ish

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kick-Ass Tofu Pesto Sandwiches

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 to 2 garlic cloves, to taste
2 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Tofu Steaks:
1 (12-ounce) block extra-firm tofu

Tofu Steak Marinade:
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

The Sandwiches:
sourdough bread (or any kind you like, but sourdough really complements the flavor)
spinach leaves
Roma tomatoes, sliced
avocado, sliced

Veganaise or other vegan mayo(optional)


1. Chop garlic in a food processor, then add the basil, pine nuts, and salt, chop. Drizzle in olive oil and balsamic vinegar while the food processor is running. Refrigerate over night.

Tofu Steaks:
2. Cut one block of tofu in half width-wise, then cut the halves in thirds (if that makes sense? Or to whatever size will work best with the bread you're using.) Put the tofu steaks in a container in a single layer.

Tofu Steak Marinade:
3. In a bowl, mix together oil, white wine vinegar, lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Pour over your tofu steaks. Let them hang out in the fridge with your pesto overnight. (The pesto and Tofu steaks are better if they sit overnight but it's not necessary if you want them right now. Of course you can use a store bought marinade for the steaks, and/or store bought vegan pesto.)

The Sandwiches:
Now that you've patiently waited for you tofu and pesto to become delicious you will be rewarded with sandwiches.

4. Heat a frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Fry the tofu steaks for a few minutes on each side, until their slightly browned. Set them aside.

5. On each side of sourdough bread, spread a generous amount of pesto. On one slice of bread, layer spinach on top of that, then sliced Roma tomatoes, tofu steaks, avocado slices, and sprouts. On the other slice of bread, spread with some vegan mayonnaise.

6. Fry the sandwiches over medium heat until they're nice and golden brown on each side, I like to use the same pan the tofu was fried in for a little extra flavor. (A panini grill or whatever would work too if you don't want to pan fry them.) Enjoy!

Source of recipe: The pesto recipe is from Vegan Brunch. The rest isn't.

Makes: 2 Sandwiches (or 4 smaller sandwiches), Preparation time: 10 min (or 24hrs), Cooking time: 10 minutes

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vegan Spirulina Pesto

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

2 cups organic basil
1 cup ground/powdered white sesame seeds
1/2 cup white miso
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1 clove garlic
1-11/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon Spirulina


Serves: 2.

Preparation time: 5 min.

Cut stems and wash Basil. Grind sesame seeds in coffee grinder to a powder equalling 1 cup.

Add all dry ingredients to blender adding water gradually to desired consistency with blender running.

*Turn off blender then add spirulina powder to desired color.

Source: Margaret/Dennis Malone

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vegetable Stuffed Red Peppers au Gratin

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 large eggplant
2 large red peppers, halved and seeded
1 large sweet onion-yellow, diced (1-2 cups, approximately)
2-3 shallots, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (12 ounce) package fresh spinach, cleaned and chopped
1 cup flavored bread crumbs
olive oil, as needed
1 egg substitute to bind, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese, grated


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Clean eggplant and pierce the skin all over with a fork or knife. Place a pan or cookie sheet on the center rack, and put the eggplant on the top rack, centered over the pan. Bake for about 1/2 hour, or until thoroughly soft. When done, carefully remove from the oven and place in a large bowl. Let it cool enough to be handled safely.

2. Lower the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet. In a large frying pan, saute the red pepper halves, turning them, until they are softened, but still retain their shape. Remove from pan and place on prepared pan. Let cool. Put the onion, shallots and garlic in the pan used for the peppers, and saute over medium-low heat until softened and transparent. Be careful not to burn.

3. While the onion mix is sauteing, cut open the eggplant and carefully spoon the meat into the bowl. Chop, mash, or puree; keep it meaty, but smooth. Add the spinach to the onion mixture, gradually enough so that it all incorporates. When the spinach wilts enough so that there is room, begin adding the eggplant.

4. Add more oil as needed. Continue sauteing and when the vegetables are well-blended, slowly add the vegan bread crumbs. Stir to coat and continue cooking until the mixture is blended. If needed, add egg substitute to bind. Throw in the oregano and parsley, then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat and let stand until you can handle it safely.

5. With a large spoon, fill each pepper half with mixture, as much as possible (overflow is okay). Top with the mozzarella and bake until the cheese is melted and lightly crusted. Cool for about 5 minutes.

Serves: 4-8, Preparation time: 1 hr. approx

Thursday, June 2, 2011

In Search of Vegan Food

Here a brief list of kitchen staples in which animal-derived ingredients can be included in or used in the processing of the final product. This list is not considered to be all-inclusive.

BBQ sauce - It can be easy to find vegan BBQ sauce, but be sure to check the label, as any of the following might be listed: anchovies, chicken fat, rendered beef fat, beef extract, beef stock, eggs and honey... to name a few.

beer - Some beers are fined before bottling using isinglass (from sturgeon fish bladders), gelatin, albumin derived from eggs or dried blood or casein/potassium caseinate (from milk products). Some beers also include other ingredients (e.g. flavorings, caramel, honey, lactose, colorings, preservatives). Beer can also use glyceryl monostearate, an anti-foaming agent that sometimes is an animal derivative, pepsin, a heading agent sometimes derived from pork, and sugar that may or may not be whitened using bone char. See the Barnivore Vegan Alcohol Directory for a list of vegan beers and wines.

bread - Along with eggs, milk, butter, buttermilk, whey, and honey, bread can contain the following which may or may not be derived from animals: mono and diglycerides, exthoxylated mono and diglycerides, glycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, emulsifiers and DATEM (Di-Acetyl Tartrate Ester of Monoglyceride). However, there are vegan breads out there, many of which can be found at natural food stores.

brown sugar - Many brown sugar producers make brown sugar by adding cane molasses to completely refined sugar (cane sugar or beet sugar). Cane sugar is either filtered through activated carbon or bone char. Brown sugar that is advertised as non bone-char processed can usually be found at natural food stores. Sucanat is a good alternative, since it is unrefined cane sugar that has not had the molasses removed.

cereal - The usual suspects such as milk, whey, sugar (see the entry below about sugar) and gelatin can often be found in cereal. One ingredient that is not so obvious is Vitamin D, which cereals are sometimes fortified with. Vitamin D without a subscript refers to either Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), or Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D3 may be derived from lanolin, a substance that is secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep. Vitamin D2 is derived from fungal and plant sources.

flour tortillas - Flour tortillas can contain lard, whey, and glycerides from animal or vegetable sources. Check the ingredients, and if you don't find a vegan version at your grocery, try a natural foods store.

maple syrup - Maple syrup requires an agent to reduce the foam on the syrup. This is done by adding a small amount of fat to the liquid. Vegetable oil is a common defoaming agent, but lard, milk, cream, butter or a defoamer containing monoglycerides and diglycerides from either animal or vegetable sources can be used.

margarine - Margarine can contain whey and other dairy derivatives, Vitamin D3 from animal sources and mono and diglycerides from animal or vegetable sources. One popular vegan, non-hydrogenated, butter alternative is Earth Balance.

mayonnaise - Mayonnaise often contains eggs. One popular eggless mayonnaise is Vegenaise, and is typically found at natural food stores.

powdered sugar - Also known as confectioners' or icing sugar, powdered sugar is granulated sugar that has been pulverized into a very fine powder, sifted and mixed with cornstarch, flour or calcium phosphate to keep it dry and to prevent caking. The source of the sugar can be either cane sugar or beet sugar. Cane sugar is either filtered through activated carbon or bone char.

sugar - Commercially-produced white, granulated sugar comes from either cane sugar or from beet sugar. Cane sugar is either filtered through activated carbon or bone char but beet sugar is not. Sugar that hasn't been filtered through bone char can usually be found at natual food stores. Additional alternatives consist of Sucanat (non-refined cane sugar that has not had the molasses removed), turbinado sugar (made by steaming unrefined raw sugar), Stevia, maple sugar (about twice as sweet as standard granulated sugar), and date sugar (an unprocessed sugar made from dehydrated dates). Liquid sweeteners such as brown rice syrup, pure maple syrup (see the entry above about maple syrup), agave syrup, malt syrup and fruit juice concentrates can also be used.

wine - Animal-derived ingredients used in wine making can include isinglass (from sturgeon fish bladders), gelatin, egg whites (or albumin) and casein. Animal blood has been used to fine wine, but it is rarely used anymore. It was declared illegal for use in European wines. See the Barnivore Vegan Alcohol Directory for a list of vegan beers and wines.

Worcestershire sauce - Worcestershire sauce can contain anchovies and sugar, but vegan versions are available online and at many natural food stores.

Some other food items that can contain animal-derived ingredients are:

cake mix
pancake mix
soup packets
refried beans

Veggie burgers and other meat alternatives can contain eggs, milk, whey, lactose, casein, and other dairy derivitives. Some soy/rice/almond cheese alternatives can contain casein and other dairy derivitives.

Here is a Vegan list which can help you determine what is vegan and what isn't.

Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Nut Cookies

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1/3 cup cashew butter, almond butter, or peanut butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup sugar or Sucanat (granulated cane juice)
1/3 cup nondairy milk (I use soy)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (try Sunspire brand)
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Oil a large baking sheet; set aside. Whisk together first five ingredients (through vanilla) until very smooth.

2. Add remaining ingredients, and stir to combine (be sure to mix in thoroughly the baking soda and salt; you may want to stir these into the flour first).

3. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until tops just begin to crack. Remove sheet from oven, and wait 10 minutes before transferring cookies to a plate or wire rack.

They are great for bake sales, to serve to skeptical meat-eating friends, or just as a reward for a week of hard work!

Makes: 24 cookies