Category Archives: Side Dishes

Isa’s Sunflower Mac

This recipe is for my friend, Betty, the number one lover of creamy pasta dishes. Betty recently learned she has a number of food sensitivities. Eager to begin a new diet but a little baffled as to where to start, Betty called me up one day for some advice and recipes. With her top sensitivities being wheat, dairy, egg white, and nuts, Betty was a little worried that her mac and cheese days were over. Not so, Betty!

Sunflower Mac

Thanks to Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Betty can enjoy a big bowl of some comforting cheezy noodles. If you enjoy dairy-free dishes, you probably know that most creamy pasta sauces are made from nuts, like Chloe Coscarelli’s Fettuccine Alfredo. But… sunflower seeds?! Well, as Chandra writes in her cookbook Isa Does It, “Sunflower seeds have a mellow, nutty quality that fits right into a cheezy sauce”. Oh, yah! 🙂

SUNFLOWER MAC (recipe from Isa Does It)

  • 1 cup unroasted sunflower seed kernels, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 8 ounces gluten-free elbow macaroni or other small pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • sweet paprika, for garnish

Place the sunflower seeds in a bowl and submerge in water. Let soak for about 2 hours or up to overnight. Drain well.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot, and set aside while you make the sauce.

Preheat a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Saute the carrots and onions with a pinch of salt for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.

Place the mixture in a blender or food processor. Add the broth, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sunflower seeds and blend until very smooth. Allow about 5 minutes, periodically checking sauce for smoothness.

Transfer the sauce to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened. This should take about 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice.

Pour most of the sauce over the pasta. Mix it up, and serve with extra sauce. Sprinkle pasta with paprika and dig in!

KIDS LOVE IT!!

Mac & Cheeze

I highly recommend you check out Chandra’s cookbook “Isa Does It – Amazingly Easy, Wildly, Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week” at your local bookstore. It’s well worth the purchase. (Now, it’s here where I had planned to list and show all of our favourite “Chandra” dishes. Too crazy because there’s just way too many! You seriously have to buy this book).

 

 

 

Marinated Baby Bellas

Marinated Mushrooms

Mushrooms always seem to make their way into our shopping cart. The way we see it, a dish is not complete without the addition of criminis, shitakes, chanterelles or good ‘ol white button mushrooms. If you share the same love for mushrooms as our family, you will love this simple appetizer.

Our first experience with Marinated Mushrooms was several years ago at The Green Door Restaurant, one of Ottawa’s oldest and best know vegetarian restaurants. It was this restaurant’s cookbook that first introduced me to the ingredients of umeboshi plum vinegar and umeboshi plum paste – two seasonings or condiments that are now staples in our pantry.

Umeboshi plum vinegar, also known as Ume Su, is popular in Japanese and macrobiotic cooking. It has a very unique flavour giving vegetables, fungi, pasta and rice a salty, sour and fruity taste. If you are vegan and love dishes that traditionally use fish sauce, umeboshi works as a great substitute.

As well, this vinegar is known for its medicinal properties. Made from pickled umeboshi plums, it has an alkalizing effect on the body which helps combat illnesses and disease. Just be sure to look for a bottle that doesn’t contain any nasty ingredients. The brand I purchase has three ingredients: ume (Japanese plum), sea salt and shiso. Check out the site Allergies and Your Gut for more information on the making of umeboshi vinegar and its many health benefits.

Have you tried the Garlic Beets? I use umeboshi vinegar in that recipe, too.

With the summer over (said with tears rolling down my cheeks), why not add edible fungi to your diet. Mushrooms are immune-boosters and most are nutrient-dense.

Crimini mushrooms, otherwise known as “baby bellas” – did you know that crimini mushrooms are a younger version of the portobellas? – are the ones I find most in our local stores. They usually sit next to the white button mushrooms in the produce section. I tend to choose the crimini mushrooms for their medium-brown colour and earthier taste.

MARINATED BABY BELLAS

  • 300 grams crimini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or thyme
  • chopped parsley to garnish

Clean and trim mushrooms. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add clean mushrooms and cook for no more than one minute. Drain and let cool.

Add all other ingredients to a bowl and combine well. Do not add salt. The umeboshi vinegar is salty in taste. When mushrooms are cool, add them to the bowl with dressing and toss. Garnish dish with fresh parsley.

Fettuccine Alfredo

fettuccine alfredo

I have been talking about this rich and creamy dish for so long that it’s about time I share the recipe.

I love serving this delicious pasta dish to my dairy-loving guests. They all have been shocked with its better-than-the-real Alfredo taste! I apologize Alfredo di Lelio!

This particular recipe comes from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook, Chloe’s Kitchen.  If you are a pasta lover looking for plant-based dishes, I highly recommend you purchase this book. Chloe’s pasta recipes rock! I love their ability to pleasantly surprise those vegan skeptics. 😉

The above photo shows our fettuccine Alfredo with steam fried crimini mushrooms, steamed broccoli florets and a garnish of chopped green onion. Along with a small bowl of Caesar salad, this is one of our 10 year-old’s favourite meals. She’s all into comfort foods and this one certainly hits the spot on a cold winter’s night.

FETTUCCINE ALFREDO SAUCE (from Chloe’s Kitchen)

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 (or more) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup raw cashews or blanched almonds, soaked overnight or boiled for 10 minutes and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons white miso paste (optional, but it adds great flavour to the sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Over medium-high heat, steam fry chopped onion in a skillet with a bit of water. You may also try steam frying in a bit of vegetable stock or dry white wine. Steam frying works wonderfully with onions, garlic or any delicate vegetable and it’s a great way to avoid that extra fat. Add your garlic and let cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook gluten-free fettuccine noodles according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Using a Vitamix or other high-powered blender, combine onions and garlic, softened cashews, water, miso paste (if desired), lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process on high until the mixture is very smooth. This usually takes a couple of minutes. If sauce gets too thick, add a little water at a time and mix.

Toss cooked pasta with Alfredo sauce. Serve immediately and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!

Here’s another pasta favourite by Chloe to give a try!

Herbed Spaetzle (GF, V) with Roasted Garlic and Beet Puree – Virtual Vegan Potluck 2013

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Winner of Best Side Dish at the November 2013 Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Welcome to your next side dish in this November’s Virtual Vegan Potluck! I am so excited about this potluck because I know I will gain such an abundant of new and delicious plant-based recipes for my upcoming holiday entertaining.

For the last potluck, I brought a Spring salad that contained a veggie that was fairly unique to many readers.  I am hoping, too, that this dish will elicit your curiousity, light fire to your taste buds and have you rushing like mad to your stove top.

However, I am betting you are already in your kitchen (or just crazy anxious to get there!) from reading all the previous potluck posts! (Grab a beverage and click here, if you need to go back to the beginning).

I am so excited about sharing this recipe with you! It’s been hard keeping it a secret for the past month.

Today, I am bringing to our table a savoury dish that is nutritious and satisfying, even for those carnivorous bellies. It was my Swiss and Austrian in-laws who first introduced me to this little noodle we call spaetzle.  It typically would be at our table on special occasions like New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving. It’s such a treat that my husband and I served it our wedding reception nearly 17 years ago.

Traditionally, spaetzle consisted of flour, eggs, salt and water.  I enhanced the traditional recipe by not only eliminating the use of eggs, but by using a flour that is nutritionally superior to most.

For me, this recipe is another great example of how eliminating animal-based foods and gluten from your diet does not have you living without the dishes you so love.

Here is my side dish – an embellished, veganized and gluten-free version of the traditional “egg” noodle called spaetzle – topped with a roasted garlic and beet pureeHerbed Spaetzle

HERBED SPAETZLE

  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1/4 organic soft tofu
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum for corn free)
  • salt and pepper
  • filtered room temperature water (approximately 150 – 200 mL)
  • finely chopped chives or green onion and parsley

Dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend flax eggs with tofu. In a separate bowl, combine garlic powder, quinoa flakes, flours, tapioca starch, gums and salt and pepper.  Alternately, add water and dry ingredients (about a 1/2 cup at a time) to flax and tofu mixture. ***You will need a viscous dough, so adjust water accordingly. Mix slightly after each addition. Using a wooden spoon, mix in chopped herbs.  Let dough sit for 30 minutes or longer.

Now, this is where it really gets FUN! 🙂

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper.  Sit a colander in a large bowl and have it next to your pot of boiling water.

I prefer to use a spaetzle maker over a pot of boiling water to form the noodles. You can use a colander, but a spaetzle maker is so much easier and it really is an inexpensive kitchen gadget. (Great stocking stuffer, by the way!).

Using a soup ladle, scoop your viscous spaetzle dough in the “pot” of your spaetzle maker. Slowly, run the “pot” back and forth on the spaetzle maker’s track. The dough will drip down into the pot of boiling water and float to the top as spaetzle noodles. After a couple of minutes, scoop the spaetzle out of the pot with a slotted spoon and drain them in your colander. Once excess water has drained from the spaetzle, scatter them on your parchment lined cookie sheet.  Keep spaetzle in a low temperature oven, if planning to serve after all dough is cooked.

Spaetzle can be made a day or two in advance.  Once all noodles have been cooked, drained and brought to room temperature, they can be kept in glass containers in the fridge. To reheat spaetzle for serving, either drop noodles once again into a pot of boiling water then immediately scoop or fry in a non-stick frying pan. Spaetzle noodles are awesome fried with onions and garlic. 😉

Top plated spaetzle with warm beet puree and garnish with parsley.

ROASTED GARLIC AND BEET PUREE

  • 5 medium-sized beets, cooked and peeled(I used a pressure cooker)
  • 1 garlic head, roasted
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Bring beets and garlic to room temperature. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend well.

Thank you for joining our potluck! Enjoy the rest of your dishes!

Your next delicious side dish is brought to you by Lemongrass and Ginger.  Click here:

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If you missed the side dish from Robin Robertson’s Global Vegan Kitchen, then go back here:

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Easy Tex-Mex Brown Rice Salad

Planning your meals for the upcoming work week?  This dish is an easy and delicious make-ahead salad to take to school, work or any potluck gathering.

Easy Tex-Mex Brown Rice Salad

  • 3 cups cooked brown basmati rice
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil (omit for an oil-free dish)*
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed (I use Eden beans)
  • good handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh organic corn kernels (frozen and thawed kernels work too)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • sea salt and tabasco sauce to taste

Place all of the above ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss to combine. Cover the salad and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Simple and so aromatic!

*More and more I am using less oil in my dishes and the outcome is just as delicious. If you are interested in reading more about olive oil and its use in recipes, I would like to direct you to a recent and excellent post by Paul at vegan food preparation.

Grilled Teriyaki Veggie Kebobs

We just returned home from another fabulous few days at the family cottage.  The weather was beautiful, but a little on the cool side for swimming.  At least it was for me.  A good northerly wind certainly didn’t stop the kids.  Do they ever get cold?

It was a great weekend! My mother-in-law and father-in-law from Toronto joined us for some delicious gluten-free and vegan meals.  I am absolutely thrilled that they enjoy my cooking and are so willing to try new dishes.  This recipe received many compliments from the young to the old.  So, I just have to share it!

Around mid-morning on Saturday,  Bailey, our little chef in the making, carefully threaded an assortment of cut vegetables (organic tofu, sweet peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and cremini mushrooms) on some pre-soaked skewers.  She did make a special one with only tofu, as a treat for all her hard work. 😉

The uncooked kebobs were placed in a glass container with a lid.  The lid allowed for a “shake and twirl” during the marinating process.

The veggie kebobs were marinated in a delicious Teriyaki Sauce adapted from Lindsay Nixon’s cookbook Everyday Happy Herbivore.  Like all of Nixon’s recipes, this sauce contains no added oil, which you tend to find in so many sauces and marinades.  I went with a Teriyaki flavour because it was requested by “Kay”, my 14 year-old.   A super choice, if I do say so myself!  I left the kebobs to marinate in the fridge for a good portion of the day while we enjoyed the beauty of the lake.

That evening, under my husband’s supervision, Bailey grilled the kebobs while Oma made a mixed green salad and I prepared some brown rice.  The kebobs were grilled on a relatively low heat for about 15 – 20 minutes.  They were turned often to avoid  charring.  (We are not a fan of charred veggies).  Using a cook’s brush, Bailey applied a bit of marinade to each kebob as they were cooking.  Since there was no oil in the marinade,  there were no flare-ups. 🙂

I really wish I had a photo of the finished product on a bed of brown rice.  I just wasn’t thinking.  We were three-quarters of the way through our meal when I realized that I had forgotten a plated photo.  Unfortunately, this is typical for me.  I’ll blame it on my impatient stomach.

Here is the recipe.  Enjoy!

TERIYAKI MARINADE

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos*  (or gluten-free and organic soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch (cornstarch would work, too)
  • about 1 tsp of grated ginger
  • about 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • a little lemon juice
  • 3 tsp coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • dash of red pepper flakes

Whisk well all the above ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk for a couple more minutes.  Let cool.

Once cooled, pour marinade over container of uncooked veggie kebobs.  You may want to reserve a little marinade in a bowl to be used during the grilling.  Place container of kebobs and marinade in the refrigerator.

Occasionally turn the kebobs  to allow sauce to coat each and every vegetable.

* I used coconut aminos to replace the soy sauce in this recipe.  Many individuals have an intolerance to soy and my husband is one.  Using coconut aminos allowed him to enjoy the Teriyaki flavour of our grilled vegetables without any digestive upsets.  As for the kebobs, he removed the tofu and shared it with other family members. 

Please note that there is absolutely no need to go on a frantic search for a “meat alternative”, like tofu for these kebobs.  A varied, whole foods, plant-based diet is perfectly healthy and contains all the protein your body needs.  Tofu is certainly not necessary to make these kebobs a complete meal!

Interested in learning more about tofu and soy?  Check out my thoughts here

Here are a couple of beautiful photos my daughter took this weekend of the lake. 🙂 She so wanted a loon or osprey shot!  Maybe next time.

Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts

brussels

I love this time of the year. 🙂 The maple sap is flowing and the sugar shacks are open!!  We recently purchased a jug of local maple syrup from Lindsay’s Maple Syrup in Pakenham, Ontario.  I used their syrup to create a sweet and tangy glaze for these often overlooked vegetables.

This recipe comes from Brendan Brazier’s book, “Whole Foods to Thrive”.   Brazier suggests tossing in some roasted and peeled chestnuts to create an ideal holiday dish.  The holidays have long come and gone, but I decided to add the chestnuts anyways.  Maple syrup and chestnuts together? How can you not love that combination?!  You can certainly leave them out, though.

MAPLE GLAZED BRUSSELS SPROUTS (with chestnuts)

  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup chestnuts, roasted and peeled
  • 1 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large roasting pan, saute the chopped onions in coconut oil over medium heat.  Once onions are soft, add the Brussels sprouts, chestnuts (if desired), thyme, salt and pepper and stir well.  Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and roast for about 15-20 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, mustard and apple cider vinegar.  Remove pan from the oven and pour mix over Brussels sprouts.  Return the pan to the oven and continue to roast until the sprouts are tender (10 minutes, or more).

Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!