Categories
Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Easy and Super-Tasty Vegan Chorizo Tacos

Does the word vegan make you automatically assume that the meal is not going to be good? If so, I’m sorry to inform you that you are wrong. Dead wrong. These vegan tacos are hearty, delicious and every bit as satisfying as their meaty counterparts. These tacos are full of flavorful ingredients that will leave you wondering why you’d ever even need to have meat tacos again. 

And if you think cooking vegan is a chore, you’re wrong again. This meal literally takes less than 10 minutes to make and requires very few ingredients, but it somehow tastes like a meal that requires much more effort. These tacos are amazing on their own, but over-the-top yummy when topped with all of the good stuff, like avocado, cilantro, green onions, salsa, and vegan sour cream. I guarantee if you try these once, you’ll make them again in the future.

Ingredients:

Meatless chorizo, 2 links – I like Simple Truth

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium sweet potato, diced

1 can black beans

Salt and red pepper flakes, to taste

Heat olive oil over medium meat in a skillet. Add diced sweet potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Add the chorizo and black beans and cook for another 2 minutes or so, or until heated through. Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. 

Place the filling in tortillas and top with anything you desire – I like avocado, cilantro, green onions, vegan sour cream and/or cheese, salsa.

Categories
Salads Sides Uncategorized Vegetarian

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Sometimes in the winter I get a little wistful thinking about summer and all of the beautiful fresh ingredients that go along with it. I long for something bright, fresh and clean to eat. This may be due to the fact that in the winter, I tend to overeat heavier foods . . . which dare I say is a lot of fun. Or maybe it’s because the grayer skies have me wishing for warmer times. But I digress . . .

When I’m feeling this way, caprese salad always comes to mind quickly. Not only is it eye-catching and appetizing in appearance with its vivid colors, it also offers an instant imaginary trip back to warm summer days with its fresh taste combination of basil and tomatoes. It’s fresh, satisfying and healthy, and it makes me forget about winter just long enough to appreciate it again.

Ingredients:

Salad:

4 ripe roma tomatoes, sliced

12 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves only

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. balsamic reduction (see below)

Salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic reduction:

1 c. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. Honey

Combine balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the vinegar is reduced by about half. Set aside and allow to cool while you prepare the salad.

Assemble the salad by beginning with a tomato slice, then cheese and finally, basil. Continue layering the ingredients in this manner, making sure that all of the beautiful colors are visible. 

After the salad is assembled, drizzle generously with olive oil and about 2 Tbsp. of balsamic reduction. Season with salt and pepper.

Categories
Soups Uncategorized Vegetarian

Classic French Onion Soup

Onion soup has been a popular peasant meal since Roman times. Because onions are easy to grow, plentiful and pretty darn delicious, poor people have been enjoying onion soup for millennia. Somewhere along in line in history, onion soup made its way to France and eventually landed in cafes all over Paris. Its popularity spread like wildfire. Like magic, it went from peasant food to a worldwide favorite. 

I’m a big believer that some of the very best foods from many cultures began as peasant meals. Meals like onion soup are inexpensive, healthy, tasty and comforting. The ingredients are simple and uncomplicated, but satisfying and delicious. Onion soup may have had humble beginnings, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s food royalty.  

Ingredients:

3 large yellow onions, sliced

3 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. flour

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 c. beef broth

½ c. red wine

1 Tbsp. herbes de Provence

Salt and pepper to taste

1 c. gruyere cheese, shredded

10-12 slices of baguette

In a large pot, melt butter over medium low heat and cook onions until they are slightly brown, soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the flour and stir to combine. 

Pour in broth and wine and add herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to broil.

Ladle soup equally into four oven-safe bowls. Place on a baking sheet. Put baguette slices on top of the soup, then add cheese on top of the bread. Broil for 2-5 minutes or until the cheese and melted and lightly browned. 

Categories
Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Easy, Delicious Hummus

Hummus is easily one of the most ideal snack foods to have around the house because it’s healthy, but tastes rich and indulgent. It tastes good on nearly everything: veggies, sandwiches, pita, crackers, bagels, chips, grilled chicken . . . the list goes on. Most people buy store-bought hummus for convenience, but it is so very simple to make your own hummus at home. Homemade hummus tastes so much better than even the best store-bought options. The only downside to making it yourself is that it disappears quickly. Good thing it’s easy and economical to whip up another batch! 

Ingredients: 

¼ c. tahini, well stirred

Juice from 1 large lemon

1 15-oz can of garbanzo beans

1 garlic clove

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. cumin

Salt

2 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. paprika

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Put tahini and lemon juice into the food processor and process for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Add olive oil, garlic, cumin and process again for about 30 seconds. Add the drained garbanzo beans and process for 1-2 minutes, or until very smooth. Add water, 1 Tbsp. at time, if the hummus is too thick. Process again for 30 seconds. Add salt to taste. Serve in a bowl, drizzled in a little olive oil, and top with paprika and fresh parsley.

Categories
Pasta Uncategorized Vegetarian

Pasta with Creamy Rainbow Pepper Sauce

This magical pasta sauce may change the way you think about those cute little snacking peppers. You might associate mini rainbow peppers with healthy snacking, but have you ever thought of them as indulgent? Me either, until I made this sauce. 

A few months ago I went a little overboard shopping for produce at Costco and ended up with piles and piles of veggies in the fridge I needed to use up quickly. It was cold outside and I wasn’t feeling the vibe of snacking on cold peppers while it was blustery and snowy, so I started thinking creatively about how I could use those little guys to make something warm and satisfying. The lightbulb went off in my brain. Roasted pepper pasta sauce made with those perfectly sweet little peppers! 

This isn’t your average roasted red pepper sauce, and I can’t imagine making it with anything other than mini peppers. Sometimes overshopping at Costco really  pays off. 

Ingredients:

20-25 mini rainbow bell peppers

1 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 c. whole milk

½ c. cream cheese

¼ c. Parmesan cheese

1 16 oz box of pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

PInch of red pepper flakes, if desired

Fresh basil, as garnish

Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Roasted mini peppers:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems and seeds and place them in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil (about 1 Tbsp. or so) over the peppers and add salt and pepper. Mix together with your hands so that all of the peppers are coated with oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet covered in foil. Roast the peppers for about 15-20 minutes or until the skins are dark and wrinkly. Let the peppers cool and then peel the skins off. They are ready to use!

Pasta and Sauce:

Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent (5 minutes). Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not burned (about 1-2 minutes). Pour in the milk and stir, being sure to mix the onions and garlic well. Add the roasted red peppers, Parmesan and cream cheese. Stir until well mixed. 

Pour the sauce into a food processor and process until the mixture has a creamy, saucy consistency. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. 

Drain the pasta and put it back into the skillet, pour the sauce in, and mix together so that the flavors meld together. Add to a large serving bowl and serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. 

Feel free to add protein, such as chicken or shrimp, to this pasta. It tastes great as a vegetarian dish, but is versatile. Enjoy immediately.

Categories
Uncategorized Vegetarian

New Mexican Veggie Enchiladas with Red Sauce

As a child, my family went on countless road trips through New Mexico. It has always been a magical place to me, with its infinite blue skies, the ability to watch the road go into the horizon as far as the eye can see, the unique and beautiful cultural experiences, the pueblos, the natural springs, and, of course, the food. Ahhh, the food. New Mexico is definitely in a class of its own when it comes to food.

One thing is that unforgettable about The Land of Enchantment is the flavor bomb that is New Mexican red enchiladas. I love to make them at home . . . sometimes with chicken or cheese. This vegetarian version is healthy and so flavorful that you won’t miss the meat. And this sauce is legit. I’m convinced it would taste good on nearly anything. Try these out and let me know what you think!

** Note: If you are using fresh-from-New Mexico chili powder, make sure to taste test it before adding the full amount listed in the recipe. Sometimes that roadside New Mexico chili powder is H-O-T!

Enchilada Ingredients:

2 cups red enchilada sauce (recipe below) or store bought

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 4 oz. can of Hatch green chiles

1 14.5 oz can of black beans

2-3 cups of diced butternut squash

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

½ c. water

Corn tortillas, heated

1 c. cheddar, shredded

Chopped, cilantro, jalapenos for garnish

Sour cream, if desired

Enchilada Sauce:

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 

2 Tbsp. flour

2 Tbsp. chili powder (New Mexican, if possible)

2 c. water

3 oz. tomato paste

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp. cayenne 

Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant. Then, add black beans, tomatoes, green chiles, butternut squash, cumin and chili powder. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. 

While your veggies, cook, make the enchilada sauce. In a small saucepan, add oil, flour, and chili powder and set to medium heat. Whisk the ingredients constantly until they start to bubble. Continue whisking for another minute so that the spice flavors release. 

Next, whisk in the water, tomato paste and remaining spices and continue to whisk until smooth. Continue whisking until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken up a bit. Now, add the salt a little at a time until you are satisfied with the flavor. The sauce is ready.

Check the veggies and when the butternut squash is fork tender, add salt to taste. Now cover the bottom of a baking dish with enchilada sauce (about ½-1 c. or so). Then, warm your corn tortillas so that they are pliable. The best way to do this is in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. Simply drop the tortillas in, one and time, heat up, flip over to heat on the other side. You can “cheat” and microwave your tortillas to warm them up, but it won’t be quite the same!

Place veggie filling in tortillas, roll them and place them in the baking dish with the seam side down. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, top them with cheese and bake for 10-15 minute (or until the cheese is melted. Serve with green onions, cilantro, jalapenos and sour cream if you’d like! 

I hope you love these as much as I do!

Categories
Sides Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Homemade Sauerkraut

I fell in love with fermenting cabbage by accident a few years back when I belonged to a CSA. I was overwhelmed by the amount of cabbage I had amassed and had run out of ways to cook it. A lightbulb went off in my brain and I realized that I could make sauerkraut and it was last forever, or at least nearly forever. The first time I tasted my own sauerkraut, I realized that I could never buy store-bought again. It’s so much fresher, crispier and brinier. Best of all, it’s insanely easy to make! You only need two ingredients, a wide mouth jar and a little time.

Ingredients:

One medium head of green cabbage
2-3 tsp sea salt

Rinse cabbage in cold water and remove outer leaves. Reserve one to use later.

Using a sharp knife, cut the cabbage in quarters and remove the core. Then slice into even, thin ribbons (this will ensure that the pieces ferment evenly).

Place the cabbage in a large bowl and pour in 2 teaspoons of salt. Massage the cabbage with your hands until the The cabbage appears a bit translucent and shiny. Taste to test the level of saltiness. If you would like your sauerkraut a little saltier, add a bit more. Continue to massage until there is brine pooled in the bottom of the bowl. Once you are able to squeeze the cabbage and brine runs out freely, you are ready for the next step.

Transfer handfuls of the cabbage into the widemouth jar and press it down. Continue to repeat until there is about 2 inches of space left at the top. Press down again until the brine rises above the cabbage. Place one of the reserved cabbage leaves over the top of your sauerkraut, but below the brine line. Cover the jar with a cheese cloth or paper towel and wrap a rubber band around it. Set it on a plate or cookie sheet, as liquid may leak out of the top.Move to a dark place and ferment for 5-14 days.

Taste the sauerkraut beginning at five days so that it is fermented to your desired taste. Once your sauerkraut is ready, put a lid on it and refrigerate. Sauerkraut will last for about six months in the refrigerator.