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Thai Chili Green Pea Hummus

thai-chili-green-pea-hummus

I decided to name this recipe Thai Chili Green Pea Hummus, since Sambal Olek chili paste (the kind with the drawing of a rooster on the gold-tinted label with the green cap) is the inspiration behind it. To give it a more notably Thai flavor I added Thai basil and ginger root along with the garlic. I did not have access to fresh lemongrass, but lemongrass is an ingredient in the green curry paste, so… Continue Reading

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Brunch, Budget, Lunch, Main Dishes, Mediterranean, Recipe Makeover, Sides, Snacks

Grilled Artichokes + Vegan Wasabi Aioli

artichoke
I’ve never really liked veganaise, or vegan mayo. It reminds me of tuna salad. I do however, love artichokes. So do most people, I’ve learned…which should be a wonderfully convenient fact…yet somehow I get very turned off at the sight of artichokes (or any other vegetable for that matter) dipped in mayonnaise. Even if the mayo is vegan, I can’t deal..ever since I was 5 or 6 years old at a holiday party and witnessed a platter of steamed broccoli served with mayonnaise as a dip. I went through a phase in college when I could tolerate it because my roommate(s) always had it around and I was just grateful it wasn’t real mayo. Come to think of it, of all the 35 different roommates I have lived with since 2007, none of them ever bought mayonnaise yet somehow many of them had an affinity for veganaise, nayonaise, or whatever other vegan mayonnaise was available. I haven’t lived with many vegans, yet somehow found myself surrounded by the omnivores-who-prefer-vegan-condiments crowd.




Even though I’m not normally a fan of aioli , I thought I would try to make my own soy-free, paleo version. This one utilizes wasabi, an ingredient choice that occurred when I envisioned the different types of veganaise that once inhabited my refrigerator. If I recall correctly, wasabi mayo was among them. For this recipe I used sunflower seeds to create a creamy texture. I still had a few cashews left over (see previous post) so I used them also. The recipe is a 2-step process; first prepare the wasabi worcestershire, then blend with the sunflower seeds and cashews to create the aioli.

It turned out delicious, with flavors similar to the type of aioli traditionally served with artichokes…only without the egg-y undertones that mayonnaise-based versions often exhibit.

Grilled Artichokes with Vegan Wasabi Aioli

Ingredients

1-2 globe artichokes
1 lime slice, or extra for garnish
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup artichoke water/broth (see below)
1/16 tsp stevia extract powder
1 tsp stone-ground dijon mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
2 tsp wasabi powder

artichoke halved
artichoke half

Method

Cut the artichoke(s) in half. If you want a nice presentation, use scissors to snip away the pointy tips of the artichoke leaves. Boil artichokes in 3 cups water with the lime slice and bay leaf. Meanwhile, prepare the vegan wasabi worcestershire sauce and/or the aioli.

Preheat a grill or broiler on high heat.

When artichoke has finished boiling (about 20 minutes), carefully scoop out the “hair” from the heart and then transfer to the preheated grill or broiler. Cook until browned or when grill marks appear, about 5 minutes.

for the vegan wasabi worcestershire sauce
Stir with a fork or whisk together the soy sauce, minced garlic, garlic powder, blackstrap molasses, stevia extract, dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar with 1/4 water/broth from the artichokes.




for the aioli
In a food processor or blender, combine 1/4 cup vegan wasabi worcestershire with 1/4 cup sesame seeds and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds. Blend until smooth. Add more artichoke water/broth in 1 Tbsp increments if additional liquid is needed.

Serve artichokes with vegan wasabi aioli and lime slices.

vegan wasabi worcestershire aioli
vegan artichoke aioli

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Budget, Detox, Global Fusion, Lunch, Main Dishes, Mediterranean, Salads, Seaweed, Sides

5 Salad Dressing Recipes ≤ 5 ingredients

perfect salad
I’ve traveled a lot, in many situations where access to a blender was nil. Whether it was a motel room with a mini fridge, or a hospedaje with bars on the widows; a hostel dorm with a shared kitchen, a tent, or my car, I’ve managed to make every salad dressing on this list with as little as a pocket knife and a mason jar. That’s not to say they’re simplistic. These recipes can transform something as basic as shredded cabbage into a flavorful and satisfying meal.
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Brunch, Italian, Main Dishes, Mediterranean, Sides

Eggplant-Tomato Stacks w/ Vegan Ricotta

eggplant ricotta close up

These eggplant-tomato stacks are inspired by a recipe for eggplant parmesan I found in The Meatless Gourmet, a cookbook published in ’95 by Bonnie Hinman (co-author of the Lean and Luscious book series, as indicated on the cover), a cookbook of my mom’s that for as long as I can remember has sat nestled between New Recipes from the Moosewood Restaurant (1987). That book always fascinated me due to its endorsement by Francis Moore Lappe (author of Diet For a Small Planet) and influenced by Mollie Katzan, founder of Moosewood Restaurant, author of Moosewood Cookbook, and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

Despite my infatuation with those books ever since I can remember knowing what “vegetarian” meant, as I grew older and cut out dairy, eggs, etc. I wondered why the moosewood recipes involved so much butter and cream. The book is gorgeous and deliciously vintage in terms of typography and photography; however, I always found it confusing when turing to a page that exhibited a photograph of a very thin, vibrant-looking individual (or group of individuals) riding bikes or picnicking, when the majority of recipes involved such an asinine amount of fattening diary products.




Of course, this version is vegan—and eliminates the carb- and gluten-laden breadcrumbs and the oil typically present in eggplant parmesan or similar dishes.

Eggplant Ricotta Stacks

Ingredients

1 eggplant
1 beefsteak tomato
1 batch vegan ricotta (see below)
prepared marinara sauce, optional
greens for garnish/side, optional

eggplant ricotta stacks
eggplant stacks ricotta

for the vegan ricotta
5oz firm tofu
2 Tbsp cashew butter
3 Tbsp lime juice
3 artichoke hearts (from a can packed in water)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
black pepper

Add 1 Tbsp chia seeds and 2 Tbsp water to a blender or food processor. Let sit for 2 minutes until it forms a gel.

Add the cashew butter, artichokes, lime juice, and 2 Tbsp water/brine from the artichokes. Add more water/brine if additional liquid is needed for the ingredients to blend. The result should be mostly smooth, enough to pulverize the chia seeds and artichoke hearts—with a texture that resembles a thick sauce. Set aside. Mash/crumble the tofu with a fork or your hands, to achieve a texture similar to ricotta cheese. Add the cashew-artichoke mixture gradually, and stir to combine. Cover, and set aside.




Slice eggplant cross-wise to create circular pieces of 1cm thickness. Spread pieces on a lightly oiled broiler pan or cookie sheet large enough to avoid overlap (a little overlap is ok, and probably unavoidable depending on the size of your eggplant). Broil on low for 6-7 minutes on each side, until lightly browned, turning once. As the eggplant browns, slice the tomato in “standard” cuts i.e. like the type you would find at a sandwich bar or the kind served on hamburgers.

Remove eggplant from oven. When cool enough to touch, proceed to make the stacks.

Create stacks in layers with a piece of eggplant as the base, spread the vegan ricotta, then add a tomato slice; top with another slice of eggplant, then another layer of vegan ricotta, topped with another slice of tomato. In other words: eggplant, vegan ricotta, tomato, ricotta, eggplant, vegan ricotta, tomato.

3 eggplant ricotta stacks

When finished, broil stacks on low for 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes the tomatoes don’t appear fully cooked, return to the oven for another minute or two, checking to make sure they don’t burn.

Enjoy with a side of greens i.e. baby kale (pictured) and marinara sauce for dipping i.e. the Engine 2 oil-free, no-sugar-added tomato-basil marinara sold exclusively at Whole Foods and is suddenly all the rage and I purchased in order to review it (in an upcoming post)

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Italian, Main Dishes, Mediterranean, Skinny Pasta

Heirloom Tomato Fettuccine with Cilantro-Pesto Cheez

vegan heirloom tomato fettuccine

My relationship with pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, linguini, etc.) is interesting. My dad was obsessed with pasta. Pesto pasta, that is– always accompanied by sliced black olives. I remember feeling guilty for eating a few of them whole before slicing and bringing them to the table. My dad’s love for pasta was unwavering and unabashed. Whatever the circumstance– from a potluck or wedding reception to my birthday party or brown bag lunch in the summers for day camp– most every time it was a reused plastic yogurt container filled with pesto pasta, with a smaller reused plastic container of carrots and celery, and an apple from the tree in the backyard. While I got a lot of flack from my classmates for the lack of sugar… no “fruit by the foot”, Go-gurt, jello pudding or snack paks in there…the only packaged “sweet” I ever got was a Nutrigrain bar (remember those?). Anyway, both my parents were very committed to eating right…but it was never as if they decided to “go on a diet” or “cleanse” from years of bad eating or lack of exercise. Continue Reading

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