Category Archives: Vegetarian

A Wheat Allergy + Celebrating Passover

Growing up, Passover was a big deal.  It felt like my mom and dad prepared for weeks.  All the chametz (products containing wheat, grains, etc.) were taken out of the house, and new plates and utensils were brought in, along with Kosher for Passover foods and ingredients.  For 8 days, every holiday meal felt fancy and special because our Passover dishes were fine china from my Grandma Dora, complete with gold silverware (though they’ve now all changed).  However, now that we keep our house friendly for a wheat allergy (dairy and soy too), the preparations for Passover can feel different.  We still clean the kitchen and change dishes and silverware, but what I think about now is how will our son experience Passover.  What does the holiday mean for him when he doesn’t have a choice to be wheat free?  to be soy free?  For 8 days, those who celebrate Passover, and keep Kosher for it, they make a choice to go without wheat, soy, and other items, all to remember the story of the holiday.  But for us, the foods we eat at Passover are no different than during the rest of the year.  Last year, we didn’t eat anything that seemed like bread, and I think that helped convey the “difference” of the holiday.  Of course, there are special foods we eat on Passover like matza balls and gefilte fish, and that will certainly seem different; but as I am preparing for another year of the holiday, I’m still wondering if our son will grow up enjoying the holiday like I did. On the way to school this morning, he told me his Big News in circle time was that we started to get ready for Passover, and that he gets to see all his cousins later this week for a Seder (he is VERY excited about this latter part).  For a holiday that revolves SO much around food, it’s also a holiday with so many rituals & traditions, and it’s our family’s challenge to embrace those, so we can pass on a love of the holiday — when going without wheat and soy, right now, is not a choice.  It’s also a nice reminder how far I’ve come in my cooking for our allergies, because the only Passover items I bought this year are gluten-free matza,  Gefilte Fish (both cheapest at Whole Foods, by the way), and GF matza ball soup mix!  With that win, here are some of my favorite Passover friendly recipes.  Have a great holiday.  xo, Carolyn

Morrocan Style Quinoa

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Mushroom and Leek Fritatta

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Salmon Burgers

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Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Chicken

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Skinnytaste Quick Teriyaki Chicken

(use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and it’s K for P) 

Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Raw Vegan Cheesecake

(Thank you to Alexis for sharing this delicious dessert recipe with me. It is SO good and a family favorite.  Also great for a make-ahead dessert.  I’m going to try it nut-free and make with sunflower seeds instead of almonds.)Raw Chocolate Cheesecake | The Herb Diaries

Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies made Vegan + Gluten Free

Tate’s Chocolate Chip cookies are quite possibly the best cookies ever.  It’s been almost 5 years since I’ve had one, but I can still remember how buttery and crisp they tasted.  Many allergy friendly desserts leave much to be desired, and I’m constantly trying new recipes whenever I have a sweets craving.  This one from the Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook is the best recipe I’ve made yet.  Even with my adaptations it’s excellent.  I think because I used golden brown sugar instead of dark brown, they came out like more traditional cookies; but evenso they are SO good.  They taste buttery, albeit not crispy like original Tate’s cookies, and hit the spot!  The texture is good and it got the B seal of approval, who wanted to eat just cookies for dinner after I made them.  Feel free to swap out your traditional flour, eggs, and butter – I know they’ll still taste wonderful.

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Best Vegan + GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

yields about 34 cookies

adapted from Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

2 cups King Arthur all-purpose baking mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup vegan butter (2 sticks; I used the MELT buttery sticks)

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar (golden)

1 tsp water

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs via egg replacer, like Follow Your Heart

2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I used Equal Exchange allergy friendly brand)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugars.  Add the water and vanilla.  Mix the ingredients until they are just combined. Add the “eggs” and mix them lightly.  Stir in the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips, don’t overmix the dough.
  4. Drop the cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets using two tablespoons or an ice cream scoop.  Use 1 tablespoon if you want to make smaller cookies.  [I got about 9 cookies on each baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for them to spread].
  5. Bake them for 12-18 minutes until the edges and centers are browned.  15-18 minutes was the best timing for me, erring on the latter time helped them spread more to the size of traditional Tate’s cookies.  They won’t be thin and crisp like Tate’s cookies, but more fluffy like a Chip’s Ahoy or traditional chocolate chip cookie.
  6. Remove the cookies and cool on a wire rack.
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Visiting Tate’s Bake Shop in 2012

Awesome Mushroom Lo Mein

Chinese food is one of my husband’s favorite cuisines. Come the days leading up to Christmas Eve, it’s all he talks about.  It’s been challenging finding great Chinese food recipes to make at home…until now.  This Lo-Mein recipe is awesome.  The flavors are so good, it was really hard for me to stop noshing on it between finishing making it and serving it.  The recipe called for steak seasoning, but since we don’t cook red meat at home, I splurged on this seasoning by Nom Nom Paleo instead, and it’s definitely worth it.  I opted to use sweet chili sauce instead of chili paste, because all the options at the store had wheat and/or soy in them.  I read that Avocado oil can be subbed for sesame oil because it’s also nutty in flavor – that worked great here!  If you’re craving Chinese food, these noodles are worth a try.  Happy holidays!

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Mushroom Lo Mein

serves 8

adapted from Whitney Bond

INGREDIENTS

Mushrooms

2 8oz. packs mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and quartered

2 tbsp coconut aminos

2 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 tsp minced ginger (fresh or from jar)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp avocado oil

1 tsp Magic Mushroom Powder (recipe here or sold at Whole Foods)

Noodles

10 oz. brown rice spaghetti noodles (I like Tinkeyada)

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1/2 tbsp Sriacha

1 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (I like Thai Kitchen brand)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp grated ginger (I use jarred by Ginger People)

1 tsp avocado oil

TOPPING – Scallions, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare mushrooms first.  Mix all ingredients for the sauce together in a large bowl.  When well combined, toss quartered mushrooms in sauce.  In a large cast iron or nonstick skillet, add mushrooms and extra sauce to pre-heated pan.  Cook until mushrooms have cooked down in size and majority of the sauce is evaporated.  Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. Prepare noodles according to package.  Cook and drain immediately, rinsing with cold water/according to package instructions.  Return cooked, drained, and rinsed noodles back to the pan.
  3. While noodles are cooking, mix all sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. After noodles are returned to the pan, add in the sauce and toss well.  Add mushrooms, and stir until well combined.  Cook over low heat until warmed throughout.
  5. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Taco Chili

Another favorite chili in our house is this Taco Chili.  The recipe is meant for a chicken chili, but I attempted to make it vegetarian by adding extra beans instead.  It’s very easy to make (even without a slow cooker).  At least once a week, swapping out a meat meal for a vegetarian one, is one way I’ve found to cut down our weekly food budget. It can be challenging getting a dairy-free child to have enough protein with a vegetarian meal, but this recipe is a winner! B loved this chili mainly because it was topped with avocado and served with our favorite lime tortilla chips*  In his words, “Chili?! With avocado and lime chips?!  [jumping up and down] I love Taco Chili!  [hugging me] Mama, you make the best food.”

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Slow Cooker Taco Chili

serves 4-6

adapted from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

INGREDIENTS

Taco Seasoning

1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Chili

1 (8oz) can tomato sauce

2 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 yellow pepper, diced small (or you can use 1-10 oz. package frozen corn kernels)

2 (10oz) can chopped green chiles (mild)

1 small onion, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Taco Seasoning – In a small bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.

Chili – In a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker (or a large stockpot if not using a slow cooker), combine the tomato sauce, beans, tomatoes, green chiles, onion, yellow pepper, and taco seasoning. Stir well.

SLOW COOKER – Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

STOVETOP – Bring mixture to a boil and the simmer for 30-45 minutes, until chili reduces to desired thickness.

To serve, scoop the chili into individual serving bowls and top with avocado, cilantro, and your favorite tortilla chips.

*These chips are found MUCH cheaper at Whole Foods.  Link in post for reference.

 

Pumpkin Chili (Meatless Monday)

Making easy and nutritious meals everyone will actually eat is an ongoing experiment in our house.  As much as I’d like us all to eat the same thing for dinner, several nights a week I’ve resigned to being a short order cook.  There are few exceptions, chili being one of them. This week, I’m going to post three chili recipes we like the most.  First up, Pumpkin Chili, from the Thug Kitchen cookbook.  Don’t let the name fool you, this meatless chili is full of flavor, and made heartier with the addition of pumpkin puree, without tasting like pumpkin.  It’s super easy to make and topped with avocado and some good chips, it’s a great meal for everyone in the family.

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Thug Kitchen Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

serves 4-6 (double the recipe if you want extra to freeze)

adapted from Thug Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

1 yellow onion

1 carrot

1 red, orange or yellow pepper

1 tsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp coconut aminos (soy sauce or tamari also works)

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp cumin

1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes

1 can pureed pumpkin

2 cups vegetable broth or water

2 cans beans, any kind you like – kidney and black beans work well

1 tbsp lime juice

TOPPINGS – avocado, cilantro, red onion, vegan cheese (we like to make shreds from the Daiya Cheddar block), vegan sour cream (plain unsweetened non-dairy yogurt works well)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop up carrot, onion, and pepper to the size of a bean or smaller
  2. In a big pot, heat the oil, and cook vegetables until they begin to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, coconut aminos, and spices – cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes, broth, pumpkin, and beans – stir well so everything is nicely combined and all the flavors are getting to know each other.  Turn down the heat and keep covered for about 15-30 minutes, until it reaches your desired thickness.  The longer it cooks, the better it’ll taste.  (We like it thicker, so I simmer it longer than 15 minutes.)
  3. When done cooking, stir in the lime juice and serve right away. Top with your favorites and enjoy!

NOTE – This makes great leftovers.  After reheating the next day, add some more fresh lime juice and cilantro to make it taste just as good as the first day.

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Wednesday Wishlist

I’m always looking at new cookbooks and in my dream kitchen would have a separate library (and sitting room) for them like Ina Garten.  I recently discovered checking out e-books from the library, and have been looking at several I’d love to add to my permanent collection.  I’m a minimalist when it comes to kitchen appliances, partly because we have a small kitchen, and mainly because the thought of more to clean after meal prep is pretty much the last thing I want to do.  But cookbooks, can never have too many of those.

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion

This cookbook includes grain free and dairy free recipes for a year’s worth of holidays and seasonal celebrations – there are plenty of kid-friendly recipes, holiday sweets, and party foods like sweet and sour meatballs.  It’s kind of hard to not want to make it all!

The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition by Mollie Katzen

There’s something about the lack of pictures and handwritten style of the recipes that’s always made this book so appealing and comforting to me.  I recently made the Minestrone Soup and it couldn’t have been easier, and more delicious. The cool thing about the soups is they all were tested with water instead of stock, which makes them even easier to throw together mid-week.  I was first introduced to these cookbooks from a nutritionist I worked with in college.  Moosewood is a vegetarian restaurant that’s been around since 1963 in Ithaca, New York — many of the cookbook recipes are pretty easy to adapt to gluten-free and dairy-free.  SIDENOTE:  If you’re looking for an inspiring follow on Facebook, Mollie Katzen, is a great add!

Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman

OK, I own this one, and it’s been the best cookbook I’ve read/used in a long time.  Almost all the recipes have tasted great, and they’re all very easy to put together.  I discovered her through some rabbit hole I was down on Instagram one day, and I’m glad I found her.  My favorite recipes are the Chicken Shawarma, Slow Cooker Burrito Bowl Chicken, and Chocolate Zucchini brownies.  The main reason I’ve never like cooking chicken is because I’m horrible at it…until this cookbook.  The two chicken recipes I’ve tried have resulted in perfectly cooked chicken almost every time.  Many recipes also feature tips to accommodate dietary restrictions.  Her website is awesome too, and every week she writes a Dinner Planner for the week.  Her approach has helped me cut down on our food budget, find recipes our whole family can enjoy, and inspire me to try new ways to be organized about the week.  DREAM = taking one of her LA-based cooking classes.

Feeding a Family: A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work by Sarah Waldman

I found this cookbook while searching library books, and it’s such a cool format – organized by Season, and every recipe includes a way to adapt it for a baby to enjoy as well.  What a great way to make meal prep easier!  We’ve tried the Autumn Meatballs and Butternut Squash Casserole – both were delicious!  I adapted both for gluten free, dairy free – they weren’t perfect when tweaked, but the flavors were incredible; especially, the Butternut Squash Casserole.

Feed the Resistance:  Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved by Julia Turshen

I love her earlier cookbook Small Victories for its easy recipes and ways to alter them to be even simpler than they start, not to mention most of the dishes include basic ingredients.  I keep seeing this new cookbook of hers pop up in my feeds, and I’m so curious about the recipes and the content – from what I can tell it seems like an all around inspiring win.

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes by Gina Homolka

One of the best cookbooks out there because the recipes are easy and contrary to the title, you don’t have to own a slow cooker to make the recipes.  Within the first few pages, she includes a chart of how to make all slow cooker recipes on the stovetop or with a dutch oven.  We’ve had the Chicken Pumpkin Chili, Taco Chili and Teriyaki Chicken (adapted with Coconut Aminos).  All are really delicious, super easy, and feel like an indulgence without splurging.  Though I’ve yet to own this cookbook, I’ve looked through it at the bookstore and it has beautiful pictures and the format is easy to follow (even includes markings if the recipe adapts to dietary restrictions). I have her first cookbook, and this one is drastically better – the recipes are easier and more appealing.  

Lentil Cream Cheese Tartines

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of my favorite food bloggers mention a cookbook, Pulse Revolution.  Curious, I looked it up on Amazon, and the Kindle version is so affordable (99 cents), I had to check it out.  All of the recipes are vegetarian, with many that include options to adapt for adding meat, if you desire.  I also found that while many of the recipes feature dairy, they are easy enough to adapt with non-dairy versions – like this Lentil Cream Cheese Tartines one.  I used Kite Hill Plain Almond Milk Cream Cheese and the rest was same as suggested.  The cookbook calls this a breakfast recipe, but we enjoyed for dinner.  Honestly, it’s so good, it’d be good any time of day.  I also halved the recipe, because we tend to use less cream cheese than the serving size.  And, for ease of a weeknight dinner, I used canned lentils – and prepared the cream cheese mixture in the morning.FullSizeRender-3

Lentil Cream Cheese Tartines

makes 4-6 toasts

adapted from Pulse Revolution

INGREDIENTS

4 oz. non-dairy cream cheese (I like Kite Hill plain)

1 tbsp chives, chopped

Lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cooked lentils (I used pre-cooked canned lentils)

Your favorite gluten-free bread (we like Canyon Bakehouse Rye and Heritage Whole Grain)

Eggs (1 egg per toast)

DIRECTIONS

In a small food processor, blend cream cheese, lentils, chives, and lemon zest.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.  Set aside.  You can make in advance and refrigerate.

In a small nonstick fry pan, heat over medium heat.  Add a little bit of oil (about 1/2 tsp per egg).  Crack the egg in the pan and cook until the whites are cooked and the yolk is just starting to get firm.  Cook longer if you want a more well done egg.

While the egg is cooking, toast your bread.  Spread cream cheese mixture on bread and top with fried egg.  Enjoy immediately.

 

Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Tacos

As we’ve been trying new recipes, this Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Taco recipe is one I’ve been meaning to try for awhile.  I’ve made something similar but this recipe is definitely a turned up version – here, the roasted squash gets mixed in with some lime juice and a little vegan mayo (or canned coconut milk) to make it creamy and extra flavorful.  The interesting thing about cooking the lentils with some vegetable broth, cumin, and coconut aminos (or tamari), is the aroma smelled almost identical to taco meat.  This was a great dinner, and also makes a great lunch from the leftovers.IMG_4491.JPG

Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Tacos

makes about 10-12 tacos

adapted from One Part Plant

INGREDIENTS

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (about 4 cups)

2 1/2 tsp cumin (more or less to taste)

Sea salt and pepper

Olive or coconut oil

3/4 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed

Veggie broth

3 tsp tamari or coconut aminos

10-12 corn tortillas

2 tbsp vegan mayo (I like Just Mayo Light)* OR canned full-fat coconut milk

1 tbsp lime juice

Toppings – avocado, sunflower seeds, hot sauce, lettuce (something crunchy since the squash and lentils are soft)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss the squash with 1/2 tsp of the cumin and about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, some salt and pepper.  Spread the cubes out on the baking sheet and roast them for 30-35 minutes, until they’re soft.  (Don’t worry if some get extra toasty, it’ll just make the color of the mixture a little darker).

Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine the lentils with enough broth to cover them and stir in the coconut aminos and remaining 2 tsp of cumin.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are soft, but still a little firm, 20-25 minutes.  Make sure to watch the pot and add more broth or water if needed to cover the lentils.  Taste them as you go to make sure they’re not overcooked and mushy.  When they’re done, drain any excess liquid that hasn’t been absorbed.

Transfer the cooked squash to a food processor and add the mayo or coconut milk with the lime juice, and process until smooth.  Taste and add more salt or lime juice if needed.

When you’re almost ready to serve, warm the tortillas, however you usually do.

Assemble the tacos: spread a layer of the creamy squash on a warm tortilla and top it with a scoop of lentils (about 2-3 tbsp).  Add your favorite toppings and serve.

*I usually find Just Mayo Light at Whole Foods.  I also wouldn’t sub an egg-based mayo here, because I think it’ll change the texture.  If not using vegan mayo, use full-fat canned coconut milk to get the right creamy texture needed.

Broccimole (aka Broccoli Guacamole)

Who doesn’t like a good guacamole adaptation?!  True, why mess with a good thing, but I was still curious about what adding broccoli would do, and I’m very glad I did.  This is a much lighter alternative to guacamole, and it makes you feel good because there’s broccoli in it.  I thought this would be a kid-friendly recipe, which it’s not completely, but if yours are willing to taste it, they may just love it (or take three bites and realize they don’t yet).  It is definitely husband approved, and he thought the jalapeno would add a nice kick.

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Broccimole

makes about 1 1/2 cups

adapted from Malibu Farm Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

1 cup broccoli florets

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

Jalapeno pepper, chopped and to taste (optional)

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 limes juiced OR 2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 avocado – or more (up to 2), if you want it creamier

DIRECTIONS

Cook broccoli florets in boiling, salted water for 1 minute.  Remove and place in food processor with the rest of the ingredients (except the avocado).  Pulse until all chopped up.  Taste, and if desired, add 1/2 avocado, up to 2 avocados total.  Add salt to taste if needed.  Enjoy with chips.

Grown-up Beans on Toast

Another great cookbook I’ve been using lately is The Dude Diet.  Along with the great frittata recipe I made awhile ago, we recently made ‘Grown-up Beans on Toast.’  The recipe calls for chicken sausage, but we made without, and it still tastes great – even kid approved!  It’s pretty quick to make – took about 30 minutes start to finish – and, it tastes great as leftovers too.  The author says the recipe makes 2 servings, but I think it can make about 6-10 toasts, depending how much you use to top the bread.  If you eat meat, go ahead and use your favorite chicken sausage.  I’ll list those steps as optional below.  We made ours wheat and dairy-free using gluten-free bread, and Vegan Parmesan shreds.IMG_4052.JPG

Grown-up Beans on Toast

adpated from The Dude Diet

makes about 6-10 toasts

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp. olive oil

2 chicken sausages (sweet or spicy), diced – OPTIONAL

1/2 sweet onion, chopped finely

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. tomato paste

3/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 15 oz. can cannelini beans (or great white northern beans), rinsed & drained

1 15 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup water

Your favorite gluten-free (or traditional) bread, toasted

Chopped parsley, to sprinkle on top

Vegan Parmesan, to sprinkle on top (I like Follow Your Heart, found at Whole Foods)

DIRECTIONS

  1.  In a medium saute pan, heat pan and add olive oil.
  2. [OPTIONAL] Saute diced chicken sausage for about 4-5 minutes, until browned.
  3. Add onion and saute until translucent, just starting to brown.
  4. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.  About 30 seconds.
  5. Add dried oregano, tomato paste, salt, and paprika.  Cook for a few minutes more.
  6. Add drained beans, tomatoes and water.  Heat until boiling.  Then, reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes so flavors can combine.  I waited until most of the liquid had evaporated.
  7. Serve warm on toast.  Top with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan.