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
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
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!

 

Potato Pancakes – gluten-free Latkes for Chanukah or anytime!

Chanukah table with potato pancakes

In honor of Chanukah, here is my potato pancake (latke) recipe. Served with a salad or a veggie on the side, these make a lovely dinner.

I’ve replaced most of the potatoes with sweet potato, and drastically reduced the oil, to make really healthy potato pancakes that taste delicious! Even my pickiest kids love these.

latke batter

The batter. You can see that it is mostly sweet potatoes, but there are also some regular potatoes in there too.

I originally got this from my oldest son’s kindergarten teacher, many years ago. His birthday is right around Chanukah, so when I asked his kindergarten teacher if I could bring in cupcakes as a birthday treat, she decided that since I am Jewish I should also help the class to make potato pancakes. It was really neat watching her cook with the class — she had one student practicing reading by reading the recipe, another student practicing math by multiplying the ingredients, another one learning kitchen skills by grating potatoes, and so on, with each student matched to a task that practiced something appropriate for that kid. I wasn’t happy about being pressed into volunteering in the classroom, nor about the teacher’s assumption that being Jewish meant I’d be knowledgeable about potato pancakes. But I ended up with an appreciation of differentiated multi-grade education and also a very yummy recipe for potato pancakes. This version is very different from her recipe — I’ve cut way down on the salt, reduced the eggs, took out the onions, replaced most of the potatoes (no nutrients) with sweet potatoes (lots of nutrients), added optional green leafy veggies, and lowered the oil content far below what’s traditionalatkes cookingl. And the resulting potato pancakes are delicious!

Some tips:
* If your nonstick pan is pretty good and the pancake is sticking anyway, it is not fully cooked. Let it keep cooking for a few more minutes and then try again.
* I always think about balancing the liquid as I’m making this recipe. The potatoes gradually give off liquid as they sit in the batter. So at first the batter is on the dry side, and later on it gets wetter. So for the first pancakes, I use batter from the wettest part of the bowl, to make sure there is enough liquid. Later on, I stir the batter to keep the liquid proportionate to the solids, so that both the liquid and the potatoes last until the end.

My pickiest eater, who normally eats only beige food, will gobble down potato pancakes and serve himself more. Go figure!

Jewish cooking tip: A pizza cutter is a quick way to cut up potato pancakes for a small child.  :) Kitchen scissors can do this as well.

IMPORTANT: This is a small recipe, about enough to serve one person. I multiply it by five to make dinner for the family.

Potato Pancakes - gluten-free Latkes for Chanukah or anytime!
 
These healthy potato pancakes taste delicious! I've replaced most of the potatoes with sweet potato, and drastically reduced the oil. Even my pickiest kids love these.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 1 person -- makes 4-6 latkes
Ingredients
Note: I usually quintuple this recipe.
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, grated (use a food processor -- it is much faster and safer)
  • 1/2 cup potatoes, grated (don't omit - their liquid makes the recipe work)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons potato starch or, if you're not gluten-free, regular flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • optional: a few leaves of greens (chard, kale, etc.), chopped finely in the food processor
  • 1 or 2 glugs of oil (not a very exact measurement -- a glug is about a tablespoon)
  • toppings: applesauce, sour cream, homemade beannaise, etc.
  • a green side dish, such as broccoli or a salad
Instructions
  1. Preheat one or more nonstick frying pans on the stove. Good pre-heating helps to prevent sticking. For a big batch, I use three frying pans at once. I preheat the empty pans on medium-low, then turn the heat up to Medium a couple of minutes before adding food.
  2. Mix all ingredients (except toppings and side dishes!) in a big bowl. Stir very thoroughly, to make sure it's all well mixed, so that there aren't any lurking patches of salt or potato starch.
  3. Use a dinnertable tablespoon to ball up a wet blob of the mixture, then drop it into the pan and pat it with the back of the spoon to gradually widen it and shape it into a pancake shape. At this point for the first batch turn the heat up to medium-high, then once the pancakes are really cooking, lower it to just above medium and leave it there. When the pancake is gorgeous and brown on the bottom, use a spatula to flip it, pat it down, and cook the other side. When the second side is cooked, remove the pancake to a serving plate.
  4. Serve with bowls of toppings on the table. Eaters get 3-4 potato pancakes, and then put a spoonful of applesauce or sour cream or beannaise on top, spread it around and eat with a fork.
  5. The cooking time varies depending on how big a batch you are making. When I quintuple the recipe, it can take maybe 90 minutes to cook everything.

 

Scrambled Tofu

scrambled tofu with potatoes, broccoli, and red bell peppers

A quick and addictive recipe for scrambled tofu — with cubes of soft browned potatoes, broccoli, and pieces of red bell peppers. Yum!

potato ringThis recipe is based on a recipe called Tofu Skillet Scramble, from the cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.

The secret to this recipe is to let the tofu brown on the side that is on the bottom of the frying pan. It picks up the other flavors in the recipe and tastes great that way.

The other secret is smoked paprika — smoked paprika adds some magic to practically anything.

Note that the recipe makes 2-3 servings, so you may want to multiply it if you are feeding more people. This recipe is somewhat addictive, so make lots!

mash the edge firstThe second picture in this post shows the ring of potatoes for microwaving.

The third picture shows mashing just the edge of the block of tofu first, which is much easier than trying to push the whole masher through a solid block of tofu.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

The final picture shows what the tofu looks like after mashing.

The tofu picks up the flavors of the salt and other ingredients and ends up tasting scrambled and not tofu-y at all. Even if you are hesitant about tofu, I encourage you to try this recipe, because the tofu comes out delicious — all salty and flavorful. It combines with the potatoes to be very satisfying.

tofu after mashing

 

Scrambled Tofu
 
Prep time
20 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
30 mins
 
A quick and addictive recipe for scrambled tofu -- with cubes of soft browned potatoes, broccoli, and pieces of red bell peppers. Yum!
Author: Valerie Mates
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (make sure it is gluten-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 small potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, either ground or whole is okay
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • optional: shredded lettuce
Instructions
  1. Cut the potatoes into half-inch cubes. Shape them into a big O on a microwave-safe dinnerplate. Microwave for five minutes. (The O-shape of the ring lets the potato cubes cook more evenly.)
  2. In a big bowl, mash the tofu. You can mash it with a potato masher or with your hands. Tip: If you use a potato masher, it is easiest if you start by mashing just the edge of the block of tofu and work your way inward gradually. Stir in the soy sauce, paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large (12 inch) nonstick frying pan. Add the potatoes and tofu. Heat until the potatoes are soft and everything is starting to turn a gorgeous golden shade of brown.
  4. While the potatoes cook, put the frozen broccoli into a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of water on top, then some salt, and drizzle on a tablespoon of oil. Microwave for 8 minutes. Stir well, so that the salt gets well distributed. Drain. Add the broccoli to the potato-tofu mixture.
  5. While the broccoli cooks, chop the red bell pepper and add it to the potato-tofu mixture.
  6. Stir in the fennel seed.
  7. Serve either on lettuce or solo.
3.2.2807

 

Potato Salad Deluxe – warm, nutritious, and satisfying

Potato Salad Deluxe

This deluxe potato salad makes a filling, satisfying, warm dinner.  You can load it up with healthy veggies and make it a very well-rounded meal.

This recipe is loosely based on the version in a long-ago edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook.

I add lots of veggies to potato salad each time I cook it, so it is never exactly the same food twice. Some nice items to add are herbs and spices, chopped vegetables (raw or cooked), cashews, and veggie dogs.  You can also vary your varieties of potatoes — Yukon Gold or Yellow Finns are great!

This potato salad can be served cold or warm. I like it better warm! The original Betty Crocker recipe says to chill potato salad for 2 hours before serving, but I usually serve it as soon as all the ingredients are mixed together. It makes a good winter dinner that way.  Though it’s lovely served warm in the summertime, too.

Last night when I cooked this, my twelve-year-old daughter, Kendra, said, “Mom, I really like that you are doing this blog. You are making all of my favorite dinners, like potato salad.”  Yum!

Potato Salad Deluxe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This deluxe potato salad makes a filling, satisfying, warm dinner. You can load it up with healthy veggies and make it a very well-rounded meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: serves 5 or more, depending on how many optional extras you add
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 2-3 pounds potatoes (about 8-10 medium potatoes -- Yukon Gold are great here)
  • 1 batch Beannaise - a quick homemade mayo replacer, or use 1/2 cup of mayonnaise -- but this recipe tastes much better and is healthier with Beannaise
  • 1 medium stalk celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • Optional: 1 cup cashews
  • Optional: cut-up tofu dogs
  • Optional: quartered artichoke hearts
  • Optional: asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Optional: olive slices
  • Optional: cabbage, chopped small (uncooked is fine)
  • Optional: spinach
  • Optional: summer squash / zucchini
  • Optional: spices, herbs, fresh parsley, dill weed!
  • Optional: chopped pickles
Instructions
  1. Put eggs in a pot of cold water. Heat to boiling; lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Pour out the water, add ice cubes and cold running water. Peel the eggs. Chop them, or slice them twice with an egg slicer, slicing in two different directions.
  2. While the eggs are cooking, chop the potatoes into half-inch cubes. Put in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Heat to boiling. Boil 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes pierce easily with a fork. Drain.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, make the beannaise.
  4. Put all of the ingredients into a big bowl. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Serve right away, or chill it for several hours before serving.