Knishes – cute packets of potatoes in dough – gluten-free and vegetarian – warm and delicious!

Knishes
a rolled-out knish

A rolled-out knish, with filling on it,
ready for crimping.
I adore this little rolling pin —
it is very easy to use.

Here’s a family favorite recipe that I’ve been meaning to post for years: Knishes! A knish is a dough-wrapped packet of filling. The filling is often potatoes, though my kids prefer them filled with vegan cheese, instead, or even gluten-free pasta.

Knishes are a Jewish food, but even though I am Jewish and grew up in New York City, I never encountered them until I was an adult.

A potful of the potato filling

The potato filling

This recipe was originally developed by the author of Gluten-Free By The Bay. I have simplified the recipe, changed it around a bit, and multiplied it to make more food.

My family and I really love this recipe, even including my picky kids! I hope you will like it too! Also, it’s a great recipe to make for guests.

 

Another knish underway

Another knish underway.
There is a crimped knish on the right, ready for baking. You can see that I rolled the dough a little too thin and so it has holes.  You can click on the photo to zoom in and see the details of how the crimping looks.  Also, that one is a bit long — they should be shaped more like a semicircle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knishes - cute packets of potatoes in dough - gluten-free and vegetarian - warm and delicious!
 
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Knishes are beautiful packets of dough filled with your choice of mashed potatoes, cheesy filling, or anything else. People are always impressed when they see these. And, they are gluten-free!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 12 knishes
Ingredients
Dough:
  • 4 1/2 cups (3 packets) All-Purpose Chebe Mix
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons oil (I use canola and/or olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup water, milk, or vegan milk
Potato Filling: (I like to make lots of extra to eat as a side dish for days afterward)
  • 3 cups fresh red chard or spinach, washed, stems removed, and chopped, OR 1 cup defrosted frozen kale
  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 1/4 cup oil (canola and/or olive)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper (optional -- I leave it out)
Cheesy Vegan Filling:
  • 3/4 pound firm tofu OR a combination of 3/4 cup cashews, 3/4 cup sunflower seeds, and 6 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as basil and oregano
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 box frozen spinach, defrosted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. If you are making the potato filling, cut the potatoes into one-inch cubes and put them in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover them. Heat to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and boil for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are easy to pierce with a fork. Drain and return them to the pot. Add all the other ingredients for the potato filling except for the greens. Mash the potatoes. Then stir in the greens.
  3. If you are making the cheesy vegan filling, mix all ingredients in a food processor or a big blender.
  4. To make the dough, mix all of the dough ingredients and knead them together into a soft dough. If the dough is dry and not cohesive, you may need to add water -- just a teaspoon at a time, because it can go from too dry to too sticky very quickly. I use the dough kneading attachment on my food processor to do the kneading -- it works well for this.
  5. Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces. (I like to roll it into a log, then cut the log into quarters, then cut each quarter into thirds. But you can divide it any way that works for you.) Pick up each piece to check its size, and pinch small blobs off the biggest pieces and add them to the smallest pieces, to even out the sizes.
  6. Use a rolling pin on a nonstick surface to roll out the dough into a 6 or 7 inch circle. Avoid making the circle bigger than that, because the dough will get holes in the middle. Check that the circle can be lifted off the surface, then add 2-4 tablespoons of filling in the middle. When in doubt about how much filling to put in, use less filling, so that it doesn't squirt out the sides. Fold the circle in half, with the filling inside. Use a fork to crimp around the edges and make evenly spaced fork-lines that go about from the edge about 1/4 inch inward. Gently press on the top of the knish to distribute the filling inside the sealed-in area. Repeat for the remaining pieces of dough.
  7. Place each knish on a baking sheet, leaving some space between them for expansion during baking.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Eat them carefully -- the filling gets incredibly hot.

 

Egg Pinwheels – no gluten or dairy, and super cute!

Egg Pinwheels
The egg mixture

The egg mixture, after whipping and stirring in all ingredients.

This adorable recipe is fairly easy to make. You do need a food processor or mixer that can whip eggs, and a very non-stick cookie sheet. Then you are good to go!

I originally found this recipe on a site that does not exist anymore. I’ve adapted it to be gluten-free and healthier, and made it much simpler.

Ready to roll

The egg mixture, with Filling Option 1 spread on it, ready for rolling up.

My kids really like this recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

Slicing with dental floss

After baking, slicing with dental floss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After slicing

After slicing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to serve!

Ready to serve!

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Pinwheels - no gluten or dairy, and super cute!
 
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This super-cute recipe is fairly easy to make if you have a way to whip egg whites and a very nonstick cookie sheet. Yum!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: serves 3-4
Ingredients
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of gluten-free flour mix (I use 2 tablespoons potato starch + 2 tablespoons of garbanzo flour or quinoa flour or brown rice flour) -- or if you are not gluten-free, then use regular flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups of filling - see three options below
Filling Option One:
  • 1 cup "lasagna cheese" (or real cheese)
  • 1 package defrosted frozen spinach
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small cubes
Filling Option Two:
Filling Option Three:
  • I haven't tried it, but I think a mixture of greens, pesto, and tiny cubes of potatoes would be amazing in these.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread a thin coating of oil all over the inside of a very non-stick cookie sheet that is about 11 by 15 inches.
  2. Separate the eggs. Put all twelve egg whites into a food processor or the bowl of a mixer, and use the whipping attachment to whip them until they are stiff.
  3. Discard eight egg yolks (I know, that's hard to do, but a dozen of the really nice eggs costs about $4, so it won't break the bank). Add the remaining four egg yolks to the egg whites, along with the flour mixture and salt. Gently mix everything together with a spatula.
  4. Pour the egg mixture onto a cookie sheet, and use a spatula to spread it all the way to each edge and smooth it out so that it is about the same depth everywhere.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, until the eggs start to brown.
  6. While it bakes, mix up your choice of filling ingredients.
  7. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on.
  8. Gently use a spatula to loosen the egg rectangle from the cookie sheet. Be careful -- it is hot!
  9. Once the egg rectangle is detached, carefully flip it upside down.
  10. Spread the filling mixture evenly over the egg rectangle, leaving about an inch bare along one of the long edges.
  11. Carefully roll up the rectangle, rolling toward the bare edge. Keep rolling until the edge is underneath the roll. I find it convenient to put the roll on a diagonal on the cookie sheet, so that if filling comes out the ends it lands on the cookie sheet.
  12. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  13. Cut through the roll to make it into eight spiral pinwheels, and serve. You can do the cutting with a knife or a sharp spatula -- or by looping dental floss around it and pulling the loop shut, to cut through the log. Fun!

 

 

 

 

Matzo Ball Soup – gluten-free and dairy-free for Passover or anytime!

Matzo Ball Soup - gluten-free!

Matzo Ball Soup - gluten-free!When my family went gluten-free, I thought that for sure we would never have matzo ball soup again. But I found a dumpling soup recipe that reminded me of matzo ball soup and from there I invented this recipe. Yum!!!

If you are cooking for Passover, you may want to also see my recipe for a gluten-free, vegan Matzo Mina — my favorite main dish for Passover. It is a bit like a spinach artichoke lasagna, but with the noodles replaced with gluten-free matzo. Yum!!!

Happy Passover!

matzo ball dough

Matzo ball dough, so you can see the consistency. When it’s perfect, it should be like toothpaste or cookie dough.

 

 

 

 

matzo ball soup

 

Matzo Ball Soup - gluten-free and dairy-free for Passover or anytime!
 
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Gluten-free dairy-free matzo ball soup! Yum! Lightning-quick and made from scratch! Happy Passover!!!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: serves 4-6
Ingredients
Soup:
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • optional but good: 2 cans white beans (navy beans, cannellini beans, or great northern beans, etc.), rinsed (15-ounce cans)
  • 1 cup sliced carrot circles
  • 2-3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, rubbed between your fingers and broken into bits
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
Dumplings:
  • 7 tablespoons flour or gluten-free flour (I use 2 tablespoons of brown rice flour, 2 tablespoons of potato starch, and 3 tablespoons of garbanzo bean flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (or 1/6 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/6 teaspoon cream of tartar; I don't have a measuring spoon for 1/6 teaspoon, but this recipe works fine if you estimate the amount)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients listed under "Soup" into a big pot that is at least ten inches wide, so that there is enough space for the matzo balls to cook. You don't need to measure any of the soup ingredients -- just estimating is fine. Heat to boiling, then lower to a simmer.
  2. Mix all of the dumpling ingredients in a small bowl, such as a cereal bowl. The consistency of the dumpling dough matters a lot to the success of the recipe; the mixture should be the consistency of toothpaste, or wet-ish cookie dough. If it is too wet, add more flour -- I usually add garbanzo flour. If it is too dry, add some water. Keep adjusting the consistency until it is perfectly like toothpaste.
  3. When you are satisfied with the dough, drop marble-sized blobs of it into the soup. They will expand as they cook. The matzo balls will cook on one side, then stir to flip them to the other side so that both sides get a chance to cook.
  4. Serve hot.

 

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.

 

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.

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!

 

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!
 
Prep time
Total time
 
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!!!

Riz Bi Har – an addictive recipe with eggplant, vegan Tzatziki sauce, and rice

Riz Bi Har
cutting eggplant

To cube an eggplant, cut off the stem end, then cut it in half to make a flat surface. Then cut parallel lines the long way, half an inch apart. Turn the cut strips of eggplant on their sides, flat side down, and cut the long way again, so that you have long thin pieces of eggplant. Then cut crosswise to get cubes.

Once upon a time, there was a local Ann Arbor restaurant called Sharayar. Whenever I ate there, I always ordered a dish called Riz Bi Har. They had lots of other good food on the menu too, but I really especially adored the Riz Bi Har, so I started to order it every time I went there.

The restaurant Sharayar was a favorite for many years of happy eating. It was a sad day when they closed.

After years without Riz Bi Har, I decided to undertake making my own.

eggplant ready to cookI started by asking people on the Ann Arbor Parenting e-mail list, Arborparents, if they remembered the Riz Bi Har from Sharayar, and what they thought was in it.

People remembered eggplant, rice, cauliflower, other veggies, vermicelli noodles, and a tantalizing white garlicky sauce, wrapped in a cylinder of flatbread.

cooked eggplant

This is the same tray of eggplant after cooking. The volume decreases a lot as it cooks.

So, I set out to make that.  My experiments led to something really good, even on the first try. But over time this dish has evolved into something less like Sharayar’s version and more truly my own.

The magic in this is the combination of eggplant with a creamy, tangy, garlicky, vegan Tzatziki sauce. All of the other ingredients in this recipe can be swapped around and the results will still taste good. As a variation, you can serve it in a bowl

assembled riz bi har

Here is a filled tortilla, ready for folding or rolling. This one is really full, so I folded it in half rather than trying to roll it up.

instead of wrapped in a tortilla. You can swap around which vegetables you choose. If you are not a fan of eggplant, you can swap it out and replace it with some additional grilled or roasted veggies instead.

I am so glad that I tried making my own Riz Bi Har. If it was gone forever I would have missed it — it is very yummy and one of my favorite recipes.

riz bi har after folding

Folded, the yummy stuff inside gets covered up, which is harder to photograph. But it is still yummy. :)

 

Riz Bi Har - an addictive recipe with eggplant, vegan Tzatziki sauce, and rice
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A mix of rice, grilled veggies, and an addictive, garlicky, vegan tzatziki sauce, rolled up in a tortilla, makes a really delicious meal!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Middle Eastern-ish
Serves: serves 5
Ingredients
  • 11 tortillas (or a double batch of my homemade tortilla recipe, made with a little salt added to the batter)
  • tzatziki sauce or creamy white salad dressing (click to see my recipe for it)
  • 1 small to medium sized eggplant
  • 4 cups of assorted veggies (can be red bell peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.)
  • optional: a 15-ounce can of beans, eg. pinto beans
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • brown rice
Instructions
  1. Start cooking the rice, according to package directions.
  2. Cut the eggplant and other veggies (but not broccoli or cauliflower) into bite-sized pieces or half-inch cubes. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and some salt. Bake at 400 to 450 degrees, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are getting well-browned and the eggplant looks toasted.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the broccoli and/or cauliflower in the microwave.
To assemble:
  1. If the tortillas are not warm, warm them up.
  2. Inside each tortilla, place a few tablespoons of rice, a few tablespoons of veggies, a few tablespoons of tzatziki sauce, and optionally the beans, if you are including beans.
  3. Roll up the tortilla and serve! Or, if it is too full to roll, then fold it in half -- that works nicely too. Mine are always too full to roll! :)