Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

A Gnocchi for my Peas

I shelled a lot of peas on Friday.  They’re so sweet and perfect!  I needed to make something fun…


2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 large sweet onion

3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 1/2 cups of shelled peas (and their pods)

1 bunch of asparagus

1/4 pound crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/4 cup white wine

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

2 Tbsp fresh thyme

1 pound gnocchi


Boil pea pods with 3 cups of water while you’re doing the rest…

Boil lightly salted water for asparagus.

Begin pot of water for gnocchi.

Wash and cut asparagus into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces.  Drop into boiling water and blanch for 2-3 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cool water.

In large skillet, heat olive oil.  Add onion and garlic and stir  soft and fragrant.  Add asparagus, peas and mushrooms.  Toss until well-coated with onions, garlic, olive oil.  Add wine and cook until wine cooks off a bit.  Season with salt, pepper and thyme.

Cook gnocchi.

Ladle about 1 cup of water from pea pod pot and about 1 cup from pasta water into the vegetables.

Strain gnocchi and toss with vegetables.

Serve, if you like, with fresh grated parmesan reggiano and a giant salad.


Red Lentil Vegetable Soup

I just looked in my cupboards and fridge last night and, after spotting my red lentils, decided on this soup.  It’s become my new favorite.


3 Tbsp olive oil

1 small to medium sweet onion chopped

3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 celery stalks with leaves, chopped

1 cup red lentils

2 small or one large zucchini, chopped

1 cup cut green beans

1 28 oz. diced tomatoes with juice

6-8 cups vegetable broth

2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp fresh pepper

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley


In a large pot, cook onion, carrots and celery in oil on medium high heat until just soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Stir in lentils and zucchini, coat with oil and juices.

Stir in tomatoes and spices.  Add 6 cups of broth, stir, and let simmer until carrots are just tender, about 1 hour.

Add more broth if soup is too thick.  Enjoy with wine, bread, and for non-vegans, some parmesan cheese.

Bean and Veg Burrito

Another night with lots of good stuff in the fridge.


1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 1/2 cup fresh, canned or frozen corn

1 medium zucchini, chopped

8 oz. shitake mushrooms, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 can great northern, black, or pinto beans

1 can refried beans (vegetarian)

a couple good handfuls of spinach

1 tsp cumin

8 – 10 inch spinach tortillas

Fun things to top – black bean dip, salsa, sour cream (for non-vegans), cheese

How to:

Saute onion and red pepper in large frying pan.  Add corn and zucchini until softened.  Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and beans.  Stir until mixed well and hot.  Add cumin.  When close to ready to eat, add spinach and stir until just wilted.

Put in a big bowl in the middle of the table with the rest of the burrito “decorations” and let people fill and roll their own.  Great with a side of spanish rice and watermelon.

Butternut Squash and Other Stuff Gnocchi

This came to be when my family was being boring about what they wanted for dinner so I pulled out leftovers for them and dug around to see what I could come up with…  What I found in my bowl when I was done was like a treasure.


1 8 oz. package prepared gnocchi (or, of course, make your own!!!)

Olive oil

1 lb butternut squash, cleaned and cut into small chunks

3 Tbsp pine nuts

2 cloves garlic

a good handful of shitake mushrooms

2 good handfuls spinach

1 packet Sazon Goya seasoning

Roast squash with 2 Tbsp olive oil at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, until tender and turning brown.

Meanwhile, boil water for gnocchi and lightly toast pine nuts (in small frying pan, swirling them around so they don’t burn, which can happen really fast!)

When squash is finished, saute garlic in large pan in 2 tbsp olive oil, add mushrooms until soft and hot.  Add squash and Sazon Goya seasoning.

Boil gnocchi for 1-2 minutes, until floating on top.  Drain.

Add gnocchi to squash and mushrooms mixture and mix thoroughly.  Mix in spinach until just wilted. Toss in the pine nuts.


The Grooviest Vegan Gravy. Seriously.

I would make mashed potatoes just to have this gravy…


1/4 cup olive oil

6 shallots

4 garlic cloves

3 tbsp Earth Balance

1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced

8 oz. mixed wild mushrooms

1 Tbsp chopped, fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)

1 Tbsp chopped, fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)

2 tsp chopped fresh sage or (or 3/4 tsp dried)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbsp Brandy

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Combine oil with shallots and garlic in small glass oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and bake until shallots and garlic are very soft and pale golden–about an hour.

Meanwhile, melt Earth Balance in large saute pan, add onions and cook on medium-low for 12-15 minutes until onions are lightly browned.  This is an important step.  Take your time.

When shallots and garlic are finished, thinly slice and add them and the oil to the pan with the onions over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and herbs and saute until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

Whisk in flour and salt and pepper.  Add vegetable broth and stir often until gravy just starts to boil and thicken, about 10 minutes.  Add brandy.  Heat through and stir well.  If desired, add 1 Tbsp soy creamer or milk.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Another Sample Menu for a Work Week

Here’s another week of ideas:


Breakfast – Whole Wheat toast (see recipe for bread here: with natural peanut butter; grapefruit; coffee with unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I use almond milk, but lots of people use soy or rice… it’s all good.)

Snack – Soy yogurt and apple slices

Lunch – Spicy tomato and chickpea soup (Vegan Yum Yum cookbook); water

Dinner – Black bean burgers (***see recipe below); sweet potato fries (***see recipe below); applesauce; water, wine, or vegan beer:o)


Breakfast – Whole wheat pumpkin pancakes (***see recipe below); coffee with almond milk

Snack – Banana and a Naked Juice

Lunch – Apple, craisin and walnut salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette (***see recipe below)

Dinner – Ultimate Sweet Potato Pierogies (see recipe here); water, wine


Breakfast – Oatmeal topped with ground flaxseed, raspberries, brown sugar, cinnamon and almond milk; coffee with almond milk

Snack – Smoothie with ground flaxseeds

Lunch – Baked sweet potato; water

Dinner – Vegetable/Bean chili; whole wheat bread; vegan beer or water


Breakfast – Stonyfield soy yogurt mixed with Grape Nuts; grapefruit or orange slices; coffee….

Snack – Grapes, graham crackers

Lunch – Leftover Bean burger; water

Dinner – Whole wheat pasta with Vegan Yum Yum Alfredo Sauce; broccoli rabe par-boiled, then sauteed with garlic and olive oil; wine


Breakfast – Whole grain bagel with Tofutti cream cheese and strawberry jam; coffee…

Snack – Naked Juice;  almonds

Lunch – Fresh tomato and cucumber salad

Dinner – Whole Wheat Pizza (see recipe: and a giant salad (that’s just what we do on Fridays)


Black Bean Vegan Burger

8 oz. seitan

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 c. corn

1/4 c. soy milk

3/4 c. Panko or whole grain bread crumbs

2 Tbsp. flour

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. vegan Worceshire sauce

1 Tbsp. soy sauce/tamari

1 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Pulse the seitan and black beans in food processor until chopped semi-fine, semi-chunky.  In a large bowl, mix seitan/bean mixture with rest of ingredients.  It should feel moist, but not wet.  It should hold a nice shape fairly easily. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, measure out enough for a patty.  Press with hands and shape.  I use wax paper to keep them separated.

Heat enough canola oil in pan or on griddle to just coat the surface.  When you put the burger on, it should sizzle, but not splatter.  Cook well on both sides.  My kids like them best when they’re good and brown, almost cripsy on the outside.

Serve on whole wheat rolls with lots of gooey goodness–vegan mayo, ketchup, mustard, onion… you get the idea.  Serve with the killer fries below.

Sweet potato fries
Slice 3 sweet potatoes into “french fry” shape, toss with:

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground coriander

2 tbsp olive oil.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  Gently flip and bake for additional 15 minutes.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Whisk together:

1 1/2 c. soy or almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

1/2 c. canned pumpkin

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1 tbsp. canola oil

Stir in:

1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour

3 Tbsp. maple syrup or agave

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Heat griddle or frying pan, spray with cooking spray.  Make pancakes!!!

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp. ground pepper

Whisk or shake all ingredients together.  Toss into spring greens loaded with sliced apples, craisins, walnuts, and red onion.  Crazy good.  My daughter Emily is addicted.

Sample Menus

One of the first questions I get from people when they hear that I don’t eat animal products is, “What do you eat?”  I thought I’d offer examples of a typical work-week in this blog.  I have become a huge fan of the Vegan Yum-Yum cookbook (there’s a link on the right to her website), so a number of my meal suggestions come from that.  It’s a great book–interesting, unique, fun recipes with great flavor!  These are all pretty straightforward and will offer a good start for the seemingly intimidating animal-free diet.


Breakfast – Steel-cut oats with two Tbsp. ground flaxseed, blueberries (from the freezer, heated in a pot while the oats cook), a pinch of brown sugar, cinnamon, and almond milk; Coffee with unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I use almond milk, but lots of people use soy or rice… it’s all good.)

(great tip on steel-cut oats:  they take about 30 minutes to cook in the morning, so instead, the night before, boil the water, stir in the oats, put a lid on it, turn off the heat and go to bed.  In the morning, they’ll need 8-10 minutes of cooking on medium heat to finish.)

Snack – Clementines; handful of almonds or walnuts

Lunch – Whole grain toast with all natural peanut butter; banana; chocoloate soy milk

Dinner – Golden Chickpea and Artichoke Salad (Vegan Yum-Yum); Grilled vegetable sandwich (roasted peppers, spinach, roasted zucchini, vegan mayo); water or wine


Breakfast – Whole wheat cinnamon berry pancakes (***see recipe below); coffee with almond milk

Snack – Nature Valley granola bar; banana

Lunch – Stonyfield vanilla soy yogurt mixed with Grape Nuts and topped with frozen wild blueberries; orange juice

Dinner – Sweet Potato Enchiladas (***see recipe below); giant salad with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar


Breakfast – Whole grain bagel with Tofutti Cream cheese (natural food section) and strawberry jam (or with apple butter, Earth Balance margarine, or natural peanut butter); coffee with almond milk

Snack Smoothie with ground flaxseeds

Lunch – Leftover chickpea and artichoke salad and whole grain bread dipped in balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil; water

Dinner – Roasted cauliflower and wilted spinach pasta (Vegan Yum-Yum); Whole wheat garlic toast; clementines; water or red wine


Breakfast – French Toast (Vegan Yum-Yum basic recipe) topped with cinnamon apples (***see recipe below); coffee….

Snack – Stonyfield soy yogurt mixed with Grape Nuts

Lunch – Whole grain bread topped with spinach, sliced tomatoes, cracked pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar; chocolate soy milk

Dinner – Spicy Tomato Chickpea Soup; Carmelized Leek and Spaghetti Squash Polenta (both Vegan Yum-Yum) on wilted spinach; water or wine


Breakfast – Old-fashioned oatmeal with 2  Tbsp. ground flaxseed, strawberries, a pinch of brown sugar, cinnamon, almond milk

Snack – Apple slices with peanut butter; handful of almonds or walnuts

Lunch – Leftover roasted cauliflower pasta; water

Dinner – Whole Wheat Pizza (see recipe and a giant salad

***Whole Wheat Cinnamon Berry Pancakes

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1/4 cup water

Whisk these together well;  they’ll serve as the binding.

To that, whisk in:

1 1/3 cup of non dairy milk (I like soy or vanilla almond)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt (I use kosher for all my cooking)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon (or more…)

2 tbsp agave (found in natural foods section) or real maple syrup

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (King Arthur flours are excellent)

Fold in:

1/2 – 3/4 cup berries – I pull my frozen wild blueberries right out of the freezer and throw them in.

Heat your pan or griddle, spray lightly with canola cooking spray.  And cook them the way you’d cook any pancakes! Serve with real maple syrup.

No saturated fat, NO CHOLESTEROL and totally awesome.

***Cinnamon Apples

Peel and thinly slice about 6 large apples (honeycrisp, golden delicious, gala, granny smith).  Heat them in a large frying pan with 1/2 cup water until they begin to soften and the water being to evaporate.  Add 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and stir to coat and cook until apples are as soft as you’d like them to be. Great on french toast, pancakes, oatmeal….

***Sweet Potato Enchiladas (adapted from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson)

Olive oil

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 cups of frozen corn

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 small jalapeno, minced

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can black beans

4 cups baby spinach

1 tbsp chili powder

salt, pepper

10 whole wheat tortillas

2 cups salsa

1/2 cup onion, diced

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes and corn with 2 tbsp olive oil, and spread in shallow roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes – until potatoes are soft.

Reduce heat to 375.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in large skillet. Lightly saute garlic and jalapeno. Add tomatoes, beans, and chili powder and heat through. Add spinach and mix until just softened. Mix in potatoes and corn.

Fill tortillas with potato and bean filling, Spoon several tablespoons of salsa on each. Roll and place in two 9 x 13 pans that have been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Top with any extra filling, the rest of the salsa, and onions. Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until very hot and bubbly.