Matzo Mina – a great Passover dish – gluten-free, vegan, and healthy

Matzo Mina

Happy Passover!!

I grew up Jewish, but the first time I heard of a Matzo Mina was as an adult, surfing the Internet. This is a lot like a lasagna, but made with dampened matzo instead of the lasagna noodles. With the overlapping squares of matzo on the top, this comes out looking really pretty. It tastes great, too, so it is my favorite Passover food. To make it gluten-free, I use gluten-free matzo.

Matzo Mina

Assembled Matzo Mina before baking

My pick for gluten-free matzo is Yehuda brand. I find it at my local Whole Foods store, though it is also available on Amazon. Lately gluten-free matzo is the most popular food in my house — my kids gobble it down! Go figure!

To make a soy-free version of this recipe, replace the tofu with 2/3 cup of cashews, 2/3 cup of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, and 2/3 cup of water.

This recipe is originally based on Tori Avey’s Spinach, Feta and Artichoke Matzo Mina — though I have changed my version a lot.

If you are cooking for Passover, you may also want to check out my recipe for gluten-free matzo ball soup. Yum!

Sorry to have gone so long between postings — I can’t believe I last posted in July! I don’t have a good reason for having gone so long between postings — just juggling kids, work, and the paperwork from Jan’s estate. Anyway, I do have lots more recipes that I want to post, so I will continue posting recipes!!

our seder table

Here is my son Corbin, who is nine, at our Seder table.
The weather is so warm that this year we had our Seder outdoors on the back porch.

Matzo Mina - a great Passover dish - gluten-free, vegan, and healthy
 
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This matzo mina is a delicious and healthy vegan main dish to serve at Passover. It is a bit like a lasagna, but with dampened matzo instead of the noodles. I really love this recipe! You can make it gluten-free if you use gluten-free matzo.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3-4 sheets of matzo; for gluten-free use a gluten-free matzo such as Yehuda brand
  • 1-2 jars of artichoke hearts (plain or marinated; about 8 ounces per jar)
  • 1 pound firm tofu (not silken)
  • 4+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as basil or oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5 ounces spinach or kale (frozen and defrosted is fine)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, blend everything except the matzo and artichoke hearts. Add the artichoke hearts and pulse until mixed in.
  3. Oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.
  4. Dampen a sheet of matzo in cold running water from the faucet. Place in baking pan.
  5. Add half of the tofu mixture, and spread it smooth with a spatula.
  6. Repeat with another piece of matzo and the rest of the tofu mixture.
  7. For the top, dampen a piece of matzo, then break it into squares that are 1 1/2 or 2 inches wide. Overlap the pieces of matzo on top of the casserole, like roof shingles, covering the entire surface. You will need about 1 1/2 sheets of matzo, broken up, to cover the top of the casserole.
  8. Gently brush the top of the matzo with olive oil.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top layer is browning. Serve warm.

 

Zucchini Brownies “Zeebies” – gluten-free, dairy-free, and healthy!

Zucchini Brownies


tower of zucchini browniesHappy Zucchini Season!!!

I have been making this recipe for years: Brownies that are full of zucchini!!! My kids clamor for more! All four of us love them, zucchini and all!

I love zucchini. All three of my kids hate zucchini, but all three kids love these brownies!

If you use the version of the recipe that is sweetened with dates instead of refined sugar, then this is one healthy recipe. I even ate it for breakfast this morning. Yum!

The initials for Zucchini Brownies are ZB, so my family calls these “Zeebies.”

The original recipe that this is based on is Cassie’s Zucchini Brownies from allrecipes.com, though my version is fairly different. I big pan of zucchini browniesmade it gluten-free, added lots more zucchini, replaced the walnuts with chocolate chips, removed the salt, and added an option to sweeten it with dates instead of refined sugar.

Tip: These brownies look much better if you use a classic green-colored zucchini in them. Yellow summer squash tastes fine too, but looks a little alarming.

Here is the recipe!

Zucchini Brownies "Zeebies" - gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy, and can be vegan!
 
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My zucchini-hating kids adore these brownies. They are healthy and delicious, gluten-free, and can be vegan. YUM!!!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24 brownies
Ingredients
  • EITHER 2 cups of all-purpose flour, or 2 cups of gluten-free flour mix (I use 1/2 cup each of: teff flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, and garbanzo bean flour -- but any flour mix should work)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • EITHER 1 cup of white sugar OR 1 cup of dates, pits removed
  • EITHER 2 eggs OR 2 flax eggs
  • 2 to 6 cups grated zucchini -- don't salt it or drain it or anything, just grate it. A food processor is perfect for speedy grating.
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you are using flax eggs, mix those up first, and let them sit for a couple of minutes.
  3. Oil the bottom and the bottom inch of the sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan -- a "lasagna pan".
  4. If you are using dates as the sweetener, put them into a food processor together with the eggs or flax eggs. Blend for several minutes, until it looks like a creamy and smooth mixture with some bits of date-skin in it. Then add the oil and blend just until mixed.
  5. Now put all of the ingredients, including the dates (if you are using them) and eggs or flax eggs, into a large mixing bowl. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly. Check for pockets of unmixed flour, and stir those in too.
  6. The wetness of the mixture should be someplace between a dough and a batter. If it seems too stiff, stir in some water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until it has the wetness of a dough.
  7. Put the mixture in the greased pan. Smooth it out with a spatula, so that the surface is flat and the mixture evenly covers the whole bottom of the pan.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes.
  9. Let cool, or serve hot -- just beware that when it comes out of the oven it is really molten hot, so I suggest letting it cool for at least a few minutes to stay safe.
  10. Cut into squares or bars.
  11. Tastes great either warm or at refrigerator temperature.

 

Pasta, Beans and Greens – a lightning-fast, yummy, healthy, vegan dinner

Pasta, Beans, and Greens

My family is finishing two very busy weeks. My eighth grader, Kendra, was in a national Quiz Bowl tournament in Atlanta, and then she played the role of Audrey in the Shakespeare play “As You Like It” — so the last two weeks have had long, daily rehearsals, followed by a weekend of performances. But the final performance was this afternoon, and now Kendra is free! — Well, free except for assorted daily homework, two term papers, an amazing week-long field trip, and graduation — followed immediately by a week of gluten-free summer camp. Whew!!!

So, in celebration of our crazy-busy two weeks, I am posting a recipe for a dinner that takes about fifteen minutes to cook — depending on how fast your stove can boil a pot of water — and is nutritious and delicious: Pasta, Beans and Greens. This is my go-to recipe for anytime I need a healthy dinner to be on the table quickly.

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals — a family favorite cookbook of ours.

My kids range from “somewhat picky” to “world-class picky.” This recipe is unique because it is one of only two dinners that all of my kids will eat. (The other one is Potato Pancakes — yum!)

A variation: Consumer Reports found that there is arsenic in rice, so I am always looking for ways to reduce the amount of rice-based pasta in our diet. My kids won’t eat this variation, but I have found that I can replace the pasta in this recipe with tofu cut into long thin rectangles that are about 1/4 inch wide, 1/4 inch tall, and 3/4 inch long. Prepared this way, it is an even faster and healthier version of this recipe.

Pasta, Beans and Greens - a lightning-fast yummy healthy vegan dinner
 
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This dinner recipe is quick, fast, yummy, gluten-free, and vegan! And, all of my kids will eat it!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: serves 5
Ingredients
  • 1 pound short chunky pasta, such as elbows, tubes, or fusilli - gluten-free if you like
  • 2 15-ounce cans of cooked beans, such as kidney and pinto beans
  • either 1 bunch of fresh kale or other greens -- or 2-3 cups of frozen, chopped kale, defrosted
  • 1 lemon
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • salt and/or gluten-free soy sauce to taste
Instructions
  1. Start boiling water for the pasta. When the water boils, cook the pasta in it.
  2. Get out a big mixing bowl for serving the food in.
  3. While the pasta cooks, if you are using fresh greens, shred the greens into small pieces (a bread-slicing knife works well for this), then add them to the pot where the pasta is cooking for the last couple of minutes of cooking. Or, if you are using frozen greens, defrost them by microwaving them in the big mixing bowl. This takes 5 minutes in my microwave, but microwaves vary so be alert.
  4. Rinse the beans (I like to put them in a strainer and run cold water through), then add them to the big mixing bowl.
  5. Juice the lemon, and add the lemon juice to the bowl.
  6. Add the oil and basil to the bowl.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl.
  8. Stir everything together thoroughly.
  9. Serve, with salt and soy sauce available for each person to stir in to their food. If you are using soy sauce, about 2 teaspoons per serving is a good amount to start with.
  10. Yum! Warm and quick!

 

Golden Crispy Tofu – gluten-free, vegan, and yummy!

Golden Crispy Tofu

 

tofu, sliced for this recipe

tofu, sliced for this recipe

I love this recipe! It’s a delicious way to serve tofu.

My favorite way to serve this is with some broccoli on the side. It makes a complete meal that way. Alternatively, it is also good with a salad on the side and a creamy white dressing on top of the tofu. I’ve posted my favorite recipe for a creamy white dressing — it goes great on this recipe!

tofu, frying

tofu, frying

This is based on a recipe posted by Vegan Dad. I have adapted it to be gluten-free, and a little simpler than the way he does it.

Yum!

tofu, frying

tofu, frying

Golden Crispy Tofu - gluten-free, vegan, and yummy!
 
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This gluten-free, vegan breaded tofu dish is delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
Tofu
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • canola or olive oil for frying
Bread Crumbs
  • 2 1/2 cups of gluten-free cereal, such as Erewhon's Crispy Brown Rice cereal -- check that the package says it is gluten-free
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 teaspoon sage
  • 1/3 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 to 1 1/3 teaspoons smoked paprika
Dry Mix
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour or quinoa flour (or use regular flour if you are not gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (ditto)
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (ditto)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wet Mix
  • EITHER 1 1/4 cups dairy-free milk OR 1/8 cup cashews blenderized with 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard (I use Annie's Organic Dijon mustard)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cut the tofu crosswise into 12 slices, each one about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Put a frying pan -- or two frying pans, so you can cook all the tofu at one time -- on the stove with some oil on low heat to preheat. There should be enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, but it does not need to be deep.
  3. Put the gluten-free cereal and other ingredients listed under bread crumbs into the blender and blend until you have a powder.
  4. Put the ground cereal mix into a soup bowl.
  5. Next, put the ingredients for the Dry Mix into another soup bowl, and stir until mixed.
  6. Next, put all ingredients for the Wet Mix into the blender (no need to clean it after the cereal), and blend until smooth.
  7. Put the Wet Mix ingredients into a third soup bowl.
  8. Add an ordinary dinnertable fork to each soup bowl.
  9. Using the fork in each bowl to touch the tofu (this keeps your fingers clean and dry), one at a time dip each piece of tofu into (1) the Wet Mix, (2) the Dry Mix, (3) the Wet Mix again, (4) the ground-up cereal. Use the fork to pat each coating all over all sides of each piece of tofu. After each time you dip it into the Wet Mix, use the fork to hold it above the cereal bowl for a few moments, to let the extra liquid drip back into the bowl.
  10. Each time you finish dipping a piece of tofu, put it into a frying pan. If the frying pan has a puddle of oil on one side, I like to put each piece of tofu into the oil and then slide it to the side.
  11. When all of the tofu is coated and in the frying pans, turn up the heat to medium-high.
  12. Fry for a few minutes on each side, adding more oil if needed, until the coating is turning golden brown and crispy.
  13. The tofu tastes great served with my super-quick creamy white dressing on top, so this is a good time to make a batch.
  14. While the tofu cooks, consider cooking broccoli as a side dish. I have linked to the instructions for my favorite way of cooking broccoli.
  15. Serve!

This recipe has been shared at Gluten-Free Fridays.

Hamentaschen – gluten-free and can be vegan!

Hamentashen

Hamentashen are a traditional Jewish cookie, served at the holiday Purim. They are shaped like the three-cornered hat of Hamen, the villain in the Purim story.

Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
And nosh some Hamentaschen.  :)

How to shape the dough

How to shape the dough

Years ago, I wanted to try making gluten-free Hamentaschen. So I searched the web and found a recipe by someone named Ellen Switkes. It works great! I have been making this recipe for years. The Hamentashen come out tasting a bit more like cookies and a bit less like bread dough than traditional Hamentashen — they are very yummy.

This year my daughter and I tried making this recipe vegan. The Hamentashen came out great that way too!

Hamentashen

Hamentashen after baking

The one thing that I will do differently next year is that this year I used some teff flour in my flour mix, and teff makes dough look brown and whole-wheat-y. So next year I plan to use a flour mix next year that doesn’t have any teff in it, so that the Hamentashen come out looking more of the color of traditional Hamentashen.

 

 

Twice I have made Rainbow Hamentashen. Someday I will post the recipe! The batch in the picture below was particularly neat because all of the coloring was done with food: beets, cocoa powder, and spinach. Yum!

 

 

Ellen Switkes says: Don’t wait until Purim.

rainbow hamentashen

Hamentaschen - gluten-free and can be vegan!
 
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Hamentashen are a yummy traditional dessert food for the Jewish holiday Purim. These are gluten-free, and optionally vegan. Happy Purim!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 29 Hamentaschens
Ingredients
Dough
  • 2 eggs or 2 flax eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour mixture (for example 3/4 cup each quinoa flour, garbanzo flour & potato starch - or whatever flour mix you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum (only if you used gluten-free flour, and only if it doesn't already contain this)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (or 2/3 teaspoon baking soda + 2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar)
  • 1/2 cup oil (eg. organic canola oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
Filling
  • chocolate chips, or other traditional Hamentashen filling such as jelly or stewed dried apricots
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you are using flax eggs, mix them up and let them sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients, to prevent lumps.
  4. Add the wet ingredients, including the eggs or flax eggs. Stir well.
  5. The dough should have the consistency of fabulous fresh playdough, straight from the can. If it is wetter or dryer than that, add some flour mix or a tablespoon of water and stir again, and repeat until you have a dough with the perfect consistency.
  6. Break off a blob of dough that is about 1 inch in diameter. Roll it into a ball, then pat it into a flat circle on a fabulously non-stick cookie sheet. The circle should be about 2 1/2 inches wide. Carefully pat any raggedy edges together, so that you end up with edges that are perfectly smooth and round.
  7. Put 1-2 teaspoonfuls of filling in the middle of the circle. Less filling works better than more -- you can always add another dab of filling after the cookie is shaped if you want to. Then carefully fold each of the three sides upward, forming a triangle. Pinch the corners together, so that it will hold its shape. If it cracks, just pat it back into shape, seal the crack, and it should be fine.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Yum!
  10. Ellen Switkes says: Don't wait until Purim.

 

Chocolate Mousse – gluten-free, vegan, raw, awesomely healthy, quick, and my kids love it!

Chocolate Mousse

When I first tried this recipe, I wrote in the cookbook, “Drop-dead FABULOUS mousse!!!!!

Because it is!!!!!

It is also easy to make, healthy, vegan, and my kids and I love it. What more could you ask of a recipe? :)

The pictures show the mousse with fruit. I like to use the mousse as a topping for fruit. My kids like plain mousse without fruit added. That’s perfectly fine — the mousse itself is made of fruit, so it is healthy even if you don’t add more fruit to it.

In addition to fruit, my favorite way to serve it is with a pinch of cardamom on top. I love cardamom — it is a magical addition to this mousse.

The original version of this recipe came from the cookbook “Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People” by Jennifer Cornbleet. (I have linked to a newer edition of the book than the one that I have — an edition that I have never seen.) I changed the recipe by replacing maple syrup with more dates, and by increasing the quantities in the recipe so that it uses two avocados instead oChocolate Moussef one and a half.

A food processor works much better than a blender for this recipe. And you need a good sturdy food processor for this. I have a Braun Multiquick food processor that I really adore. I am convinced that Braun makes the best food processors, much better than any other brand, because theirs are sturdy and have a lot of attention to important details. Like for example, I used to have a KitchenAid food processor where the edges of the lid fit onto the outside of the bowl, which meant that splatters all ran down the outside of the bowl. The Braun has a lid that fits inside the bowl — which means that any splatters run down inside the bowl, which is where I want them. Best of all, the bowl on the Braun has no hole where the blade connects to it, so you can put easily twice as much food into the Braun compared to the KitchenAid. Anyway, I can go on and on about why I like Braun food processors, but I won’t ask you to wade through any more about it. The link from this blog to Amazon will send me a tiny percentage of the purchase price if you buy what I linked to, but other than that I have no relationship with Braun except as a satisfied customer. But so far my total income from Amazon for this blog has been exactly zero, so this is not exactly a get-rich-quick undertaking. :-P

This recipe uses dates. Dates vary a lot, from tougher dry ones to wetter soft ones, but any dates should work fine in this recipe. Make sure to remove the pits, if yours have pits, and check every date for bits of stem to remove, because sometimes a date will still have a collar of hard stem attached to it. Also, even pitted dates sometimes still have a pit, so it’s helpful to check for that, too.

Too much chocolate can keep me awake at night, so I often replace half of the cocoa powder in this recipe with carob.  I like Foods Alive organic carob powder. This recipe tastes almost exactly the same when it is made with half carob and half cocoa powder — and it is much less likely to keep me awake at night.

The most important ingredient in this mousse is perfectly ripe avocados. If you have never tried a recipe like this, using avocados in this way may sound very strange to you. But it works really well in this recipe. There is no green color or avocado-y flavor. The finished mousse tastes like a rich, chocolate dessert.

To check the ripeness of an avocado, do not poke it with your finger. That will leave black spots inside the avocado. Instead, hold it in your hand and see what the avocado’s skin feels like. If it feels hard, the avocado is not ripe. If it feels soft and smooth, like touching human skin, then the avocado is ripe. Also the skin of most avocados turns black when it is ripe, so that is another way to recognize one.

Avocados go quickly from ripe to overripe, so once you have ripe avocados it’s necessary to use them within about a day, or you will lose them to overripeness. You can put ripe avocados in the refrigerator to delay this process — they can last for up to a week there.

Variation: To make this recipe chocolate-free, I have replaced the cocoa powder with a little ground cardamom — maybe 1/4 or 3/8 teaspoon. This makes a bright green mousse that my kids won’t touch, because of the color. But I love it that way. And if the kids won’t touch it, there is more for me!  :)

Chocolate Mousse - gluten-free, vegan, raw, awesomely healthy, and my kids love it!
 
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A rich, fabulous chocolate mousse, made from entirely healthy, raw, vegan ingredients -- mostly fruit! And only four ingredients! Even my picky eater kids adore this recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: French
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup dates, with pits removed -- also check each date for any hard stem pieces and remove them
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 perfectly ripe avocadoes -- remove pits, skin, and any black spots
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder -- or 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup carob powder
  • optional: fruit or berries, such as cherries, blueberries, or strawberries
  • optional: a pinch of ground cardamom for each serving
Instructions
  1. Put the dates and water into a sturdy food processor. Blend for several minutes, until they form a smooth syrup. You will still be able to see bits of the skins from the dates, but the syrup itself should be smooth. Depending on your food processor and your dates, you may need to add a little extra water to get this to blend. Tip: I start blending this at slow speed, then raise the speed to high, to cut down on splashing and noise inside the food processor. The most important step to getting the mousse to come out really smooth is to blend this mixture until it is really smooth, even if it takes several minutes.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the food processor -- except for the optional ones.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Serve plain, or with fruit, and/or with a pinch of ground cardamom on top.

 

Stroganoff – creamy, soothing, vegan, and gluten-free

stroganoff

I love this creamy vegan meal of pasta. It is warm, salty and soothing.

This is based on a Seitan Stroganoff recipe from the cookbook Friendly Foods by Ron Pickarski. But I have converted the recipe to be gluten-free and much quicker and easier than the original.

I love Ron Pickarski’s cookbooks –Friendly Foods and Eco-Cuisine. From what I read in his cookbooks, Ron Pickarski was a monk who worked in the kitchen at his monastery, and he had a medical concern that limited him to a vegan diet. I am amazed by the creative solutions he has come up with for making vegan food that is interesting and delicious. For example, he makes a sauce out of yellow peppers. His recipes are sometimes time-consuming, but they are very consistently very yummy food. Some of the recipes in his cookbooks have been entered into the International Cooking Olympics — and sometimes they won! I am intrigued by his creativity and thoughtfulness with food.

ps. Check out the “music” table napkin in the picture — I made it myself! My friend Carol Simmons taught me how to use a sewing machine, and my son Corbin picked out the fabric. :)

Anyway, onward to the recipe!

Stroganoff - creamy, soothing, vegan, and gluten-free
 
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This creamy, salty, pasta dish tastes too rich and yummy to be vegan, but it is!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces uncooked spiral pasta (or another shape)
  • 2 cups of your favorite "meaty" item, cut into bite-sized pieces (I like Butler Soy Curls - rehydrate 1 cup of them in warm water for this recipe; or if you can eat gluten, seitan works well in this recipe; or you can cut up six Tofu Pups; or use 1 cup of olives cut in half and with the pits removed)
  • 1 onion, diced - optional
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic - optional
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon stone-ground prepared mustard (I like Annie's brand Dijon Mustard)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons of umeboshi paste -- or 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce/tamari (I like San-J organic reduced-sodium gluten-free tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (the brown toasted kind) (I like Eden brand)
  • optional: 1/3 cup green olives, pits removed and sliced into o-shapes (I adore Organic Divina brand olives, or sometimes I'll use Jeff's Natural's olives - black olives that are pre-sliced and a real time-saver)
  • optional: about 2 cups of frozen kale, defrosted (or fresh kale, chopped)
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, if you are using soy curls, break the dry soy curls into pieces that are about 1 inch long or less. Put one cup of dry soy curls into a few cups of hot water, to start rehydrating. If you are using another "meaty item" instead, cut it up into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Heat the canola or olive oil in a big pot. If you are using onions, cook them in this oil until translucent. Add the garlic, if you are using it, and the mushrooms. Cook for 6-10 minutes, until soft.
  4. In a food processor, put only 1/2 cup of the water. Add the cashews. Blend until smooth. Add the dried parsley, mustard, cornstarch or potato starch, umeboshi paste (or honey and salt), and tamari. Blend for several minutes, until the mixture is creamy and super-smooth.
  5. Add the sauce mixture and the sliced olives (if using) to the pot with the mushrooms in it. Use the other 1 cup of water to rinse out the last sauce from the food processor, then add it to the mushroom mixture. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce boils, then turn off the heat.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, the mix it with all of the other ingredients, including the toasted sesame oil. Stir everything together well. Add more water to the mixture if needed.
  7. Serve!
  8. Yum!!

 

Southwestern Twice Baked Potato Casserole – gluten-free, vegan, warm, soothing, and delicious

Southwestern Twice Baked Potato Casserole

 

Potatoes and frozen veggies

Whole potatoes and frozen veggies

Oh my goodness it’s been a long time since I last posted here!!! I always have good intentions of posting twice a week — and then life gets in the way.

My daughter Kendra and I adore this recipe. It is my adaptation of a recipe for Southwestern Twice Baked Potatoes from the very yummy cookbook Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe.

a diced potato

The easiest way to chop most veggies is to cut them in half first (from top to bottom, not sideways like in this picture!), so that you have a flat surface to put on the bottom.

I have changed the recipe enough that it barely resembles the original. Actually I feel a little weird about the changes that I made, because Forks Over Knives is an oil-free cookbook, and I have added some oil to this recipe. It feels disrespectful to fundamentally change a recipe like that. It’s like taking a vegan recipe and posting that you think that you made it better by adding meat — that feels wrong to me. But I do think that it’s important to have some fat in our diet. Fat is needed for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. Plus, research shows that unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as canola and olive oils are associated with healthier outcomes. So I think it is important to include them in one’s diet.

Toasted potatoes

The bottom layer of toasted potatoes, before spreading them out evenly.

The original version of this recipe involved baking whole potatoes in the oven, then topping them with a variety of veggies and beans, and adding a creamy white sauce on top, made from blended tofu — a bit like sour cream but much healthier. I have speeded up this recipe by dicing the potatoes into little cubes before baking them. In addition to being much faster to cook, I think this dish is easier to eat that way, too.

All layers except for the sauce

All layers except for the sauce

The casserole after baking

The whole casserole after baking

Also, I have replaced the creamy topping with a salty version of my adaptation of the house dressing from the awesome vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant, located in Ithaca, New York. Like the main recipe here, my version of this dressing has diverged very far from the original version, but it is awesomely yummy. I have also given my salad dressing recipe its own page on this website, because it is so yummy that it is really worth talking about. But I am also including it as an ingredient here.

Southwestern Twice Baked Potato Casserole
 
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My daughter and I totally adore this casserole, made of toasted potatoes, red bell peppers, corn kernels, black beans, and a creamy vegan sauce on top that is made from blended silken tofu that tastes like sour cream but is much healthier.
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Potatoes
  • 6 cups of potatoes -- about 2 pounds
  • olive or canola oil
  • salt
Toppings
  • 1 red bell pepper, or about 1 cup of frozen, chopped bell peppers
  • 10 ounces of frozen corn kernels -- "supersweet" corn is good in this, though any kind should work
  • 1 15-ounce can or bag of black beans, drained and rinsed
Sauce
  • 1 12.3 ounce package of silken tofu (I like Mori-Nu organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive and/or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Dice the potatoes into cubes that are 1/2 inch or smaller.
  3. Place the diced potatoes onto a non-stick cookie sheet.
  4. Sprinkle on some salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) and some oil (maybe 2 tablespoons).
  5. Stir the potatoes, oil, and salt until they are evenly mixed.
  6. Bake the potatoes in the oven, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown on most sides. When I did not preheat my oven ahead of time, I clocked this step at 30 minutes. If your oven is fully pre-heated, figure maybe 20 minutes. When the potatoes are done, they should look like gorgeous cube-shaped nicely-browned french fries. If you are in a hurry, you can bake them less, just until they are soft when pierced with a fork. That will work fine too, though I think they are yummier when they are browned.
  7. Meanwhile, while the potatoes cook, defrost the corn in a bowl in the microwave. Microwaves vary, but in my microwave this takes about 4 minutes.
  8. If you are using fresh bell pepper, chop it. If you are using frozen, defrost it in the microwave.
  9. Rinse the black beans -- I like to put them into a strainer and run cold water through it to do this.
  10. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  11. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and lower the temperature to 350 degrees.
  12. Carefully pour the hot potatoes and any oil that is with them into a 9x13 inch pan. Distribute the potatoes evenly throughout the pan.
  13. On top of the potatoes, add layers of beans, corn, and bell pepper, spreading out each one evenly.
  14. Pour the sauce on top. Use a spatula to spread it out to almost reach the edges of the pan, but not quite touching. (By not quite touching the edges, this keeps the sauce from sticking to the sides of the pan, which makes cleanup easier.) Keeping the sauce at about 1/4 inch of distance from the edges works well.
  15. Put the 9x13 inch pan in the oven, uncovered.
  16. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  17. Serve!

 

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust – gluten-free, raw, vegan, beautiful and yummy!

Fresh Fruit Pie With Chocolate Brownie Crust

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust This summer when the market was full of beautiful fruit and berries, I bought lots and made them into a series of beautiful pies. These pies take about 20 minutes to make, need no baking, look gorgeous, and taste delicious. Yum!!!

I fell in love with this recipe this summer, so I made it again and again, all summer long.

The chocolate brownie crust is adapted from a recipe in Chocolate Covered Katie’s cookbook.  And the cardamom cashew cream filling is adapted from a recipe in an older edition of the cookbook Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet. I love cardamom and think that the hint of it in the cashew cream really makes this pie recipe over-the-top amazing.

Two more pictures and then the recipe!

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust - gluten-free, raw, vegan, beautiful and yummy!
 
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This beautiful pie is raw, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, free of refined sugar, quick to make, totally delicious, and full of fruit!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 pie
Ingredients
Crust ingredients:
  • 1 cup dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
  • 1 1/3 cups nuts (for example 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans, and 1/3 cup of almonds)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
Cardamom Cashew Cream Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
Fruit Ingredients:
  • strawberries, perfectly ripe mangoes, blackberries -- or whatever fruit you have handy, cut into chunks
Instructions
  1. Place all of the crust ingredients in a food processor. Blend until you have tiny bits, much smaller than the head of a pin. The mixture should have tiny bits of nuts visible in it but be soft and mashable. Don't blend it for so long that you turn it into nut butter!
  2. Empty the food processor into a pie plate. Use your hands to press down on the mixture, to flatten it. Push some of it against the sides, too, so that there is an even coating of crust pushed down all over the bottom and sides of the pie plate. I usually don't put the crust on top of the edges of the pie plate, because on a raw foods crust that tends to fall off during serving. Take the time to make sure that the crust is pushed down into the corners of the pie plate and that the edges are finished off neatly. I usually make the edges a tiny bit taller than the pie plate, so that the pie can be deep. If you press down on the pie crust on the insides of the pie plate, the crust will get taller and do exactly this.
  3. Place all the ingredients for the cardamom cashew cream in the food processor. (You don't need to wash it out after making the crust.) Blend until you have a very smooth cream. It should look and taste smooth. I usually let cashew cream sit in the food processor while I work on other parts of a recipe and then come back to it to re-blend it once the blended bits of cashews have had a chance to soften.
  4. Wash the fruit and cut it into chunks. If you are using strawberries, cut out the stem from each strawberry and then cut it in half. You can leave blackberries whole. For a mango, imagine a mango pit with a piece of paper on top and another piece on the bottom, lying down flat. Now imagine that pit inside a whole mango, and use a knife to cut where each piece of paper is, so that you end up with two mango hemispheres, and an oval of mango left behind that includes the pit. Now on each hemisphere, cut 2-3 lines through the flesh in one direction, cutting down to the skin but don't cut through the skin. Now cut 2-3 lines across in the other direction, across the first cuts, making a grid. So you should have a mango hemisphere with its skin still intact and the mango flesh scored into about 12 squares. Then use a dinnertable tablespoon to separate the mango flesh from the skin, so that you end up with about 12 cubes of mango. Repeat on the other mango hemisphere.
  5. Re-blend the cashew cream (which is still in the food processor) until it is super smooth, then put it into the pie crust and spread it evenly over the bottom.
  6. Arrange the fruit prettily on top of the cashew cream, to fill up the pie crust. Tip: A ring of cut strawberries interlocks really nicely, like Lego. :)
  7. Voila! One quick and yummy fruit pie!

 


This recipe is entered in Gluten-Free Fridays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, and Meat-Free Mondays!

Quick Ethiopian Dinner – gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, and really yummy!

Quick Ethiopian Dinner

Quick Ethiopian DinnerI love
Ethiopian food! The salty complex flavors, the variety of different dishes, the unusual way of eating it family-style with flatbread instead of silverware. Fun and yummy!

When my family first went gluten-free, I thought we would still be able to eat at our local Ethiopian restaurants, because all of the Ethiopian stews are gluten-free, and the Ethiopian flatbread, called injera, is made with teff flour — and teff is gluten-free. Alas, when I asked the local Ethiopian restaurants about it, I found out that they all use regular American flour, made from wheat, in their injera. So I could not eat there. How sad!

Cooking Ethiopian

In the front you can see three pans that are cooking injera. In the background is a pot of split pea alecha. To the left you can see the batter for the flatbread. In front of the batter, I keep a saucer with a metal 1/4 cup measuring cup, for scooping batter into the frying pans.

So, of course I had to learn to make my own!

Ethiopian food is usually served family style, with a single platter shared by everybody at the table. You are served a huge metal platter, covered in injera, with about six piles of different types of Ethiopian stew on top of the injera. Sharing food with your tablemates is hygienic because instead of silverware, you use pieces of injera to pick up your food — and then you eat the injera and the food together. I think of it as eating my silverware after every bite, so that there is always brand new, fresh, clean silverware for the next bite.  :)

Injera

A stack of cooked injera.

I wanted to be able to make Ethiopian food as a weeknight dinner, so I have greatly simplified this recipe, in order to be able to make it quickly enough to serve it as a regular dinner for my family. It isn’t nearly as fancy as a real Ethiopian feast at a restaurant. But it has that same yummy Ethiopian flavor. Plus, because it is quicker to cook, I make it a lot more often, so we end up eating it much more often than we would if it was a more elaborate recipe.

Split Pea Alecha

Split Pea Alecha

 

Quick Ethiopian DinnerRelatedly: I recently bought a cookbook called Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking, which is an entire cookbook of vegan Ethiopian recipes, made with Americanized ingredients. I haven’t cooked anything from it yet, but I bought a copy and am eagerly looking forward to experimenting with it. I’ve linked its title to the book on Amazon in case you are interested in finding a copy too.

My Ethiopian recipes in this posting are heavily adapted from the wonderful cookbook Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love! — another really wonderful cookbook.

There are three parts to this meal: Injera (the flatbread), a split pea stew called Split Pea Alecha, and some broccoli.

I make Injera from my crepe recipe, but replacing most of the gluten-free flour mix with teff flour. Teff is the smallest grain, and the highest in iron. It is from Africa. It gives a “wheaty” taste to gluten-free baked goods.

The timing for this recipe works like this:

  1. Start cooking the Split Pea Alecha.
  2. While it cooks, make the injera. IMPORTANT: Make a triple batch of injera, so that you’ll have enough.
  3. Toward the end of making the injera, cook a pound of frozen broccoli as a side dish. See my quick and easy broccoli recipe here.
  4. To serve, put a piece of injera on each plate. Add a scoop of Split Pea Alecha, a scoop of cooked broccoli, and a folded piece of injera.
  5. Serve!
  6. Eaters tear off a piece of injera and use that to scoop up a bite of stew or broccoli, then eat it. They may need some extra injera to eat their meal. When you finish your folded piece of injera, you can also eat the injera that is under the food on the plate. Yummy!

To make injera, make a triple batch of my crepe recipe. You can optionally replace up to three quarters of the flour mix with teff flour, to make it more Ethiopian.

My broccoli recipe is here. It is quick and yummy.

Split Pea Alecha - gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, Ethiopian food and really yummy!
 
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This is the main component of a quick weeknight Ethiopian dinner. It has the lovely allure of Ethiopian spices, but it is simple enough to cook for dinner on a weeknight.
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Serves: serves 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3 cups dried split peas - either green (cooks faster) or yellow (more authentic) is okay
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 slices (1/4 inch) fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (or 2 pods, crushed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (or 1 clove, crushed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Put the split peas into a big pot, with water. Sprinkle with the turmeric. Check the package from the split peas for how much water to use, or use 6 cups if you are using green split peas, or 10 cups if you have yellow split peas. (Yellow seems to be more absorbent.)
  2. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat.
  3. Simmer until the liquid has been mostly absorbed and the stew is starting to look thickened. The amount of time that this takes varies widely depending on the variety of split peas and how long ago they were harvested. In my experience it can take anything from 30 to 90 minutes. Green split peas cook faster; yellow ones take longer.
  4. Stir in all of the other ingredients.
  5. Serve on injera (see recipe notes), with broccoli and more injera for scooping.

 

This recipe has been entered into the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck. Yum!!!

This recipe has been shared on Gluten-Free Fridays.  Yum!!!