Posts tagged vegan recipe

Smoky Tempeh and Beans

smoky tempeh and beans

Mercury is in retrograde and whoah I’m feeling this one! Our Internet was down for a few days this week and I have this overwhelming feeling of frustration because I can’t catch up. I am pretty sure that feeling also has something to do with school being out for the Summer. I’m either pulling boys out of trees, wiping tears, refereeing arguments, icing bruises, chasing kids out of the house every 20 minutes or trying to get work done…. and I’m not getting any work done! I certainly love having my son home though. Every minute surely counts.

Not only is communication whacky but this week is also jam packed with energy of all kinds…. I’m letting go of my childhood home, as it sold yesterday. I have been in an out of that house for 32 years! No going back now! A lot of letting go happening there. Then a few days ago I talked with a friend who had a huge awakening after watching the documentary Vegucated and wants to go vegan….yay!!! Such a beautiful thing to see unfold! I assured her that this is an AhhhmAzInG lifestyle! There are simply not enough days in a year to try all the delicious vegan recipes on my list. Then there’s today – I am excited for tonight, to get my Sister Hazel fix, as they are in town. Woohooo. Yes, a little 90’s, but their lyrics speak to me and hold a few fun memories. I don’t know if I am more excited to see and hear them play or more excited to be going with an old friend who I haven’t seen in 20 years!!!! This week is all over the place and we are not through it yet!

Alright, I better share this recipe with you while I have means of communicating. BTW, I am SO thankful for having internet.

Ok. This is a new creation of mine and definitely a keeper. The family loved it! It is quick to prepare which is always nice for weeks like this. You can make this gluten free by ditching the organic pita and just serving over rice. I wanted something hearty and don’t mind the extra fiber and B vitamins so I added the pitas. This isn’t made too spicy because I have a 6 year old, umm and a 40 year old. Hubby doesn’t like spicy.

You can also omit the cheese if you prefer. This dish has enough flavor to hold it’s own. I just thought it was fun, so I added it.

Let me know what you think. This recipe is just different enough to help mix flavors up between dishes. I love when new recipes like this happen. I’m not saying it’s the prettiest thing you have ever seen, but who cares when you have to feed your family every night. You just want it to taste great and hit the spot.

Smoky Tempeh and Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 +1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp regular Paprika
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 can Cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 8oz Package of Tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes ( I prefer 3 grain tempeh)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs divided, Grapeseed Oil – Optional
  • Grated Vegan Teese Mozarella Cheese – Optional ( I used about 1/2 cup or a little more)
  • 2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
  • 1 Cup Cooked Peas
  • 1 or 2 Avocados – Optional
  • Organic, Whole Wheat/Grain Pitas

Directions

Heat the oven to 300 degrees

Cook the brown rice, and peas in which ever manner you prefer. Combine and set aside, keeping warm

Mix first 7 ingredients together for the sauce and set aside

Lightly fry the tempeh cubes in the grapeseed oil…. OR go oil free and steam your tempeh (I prefer to fry, it brings out a toasted nutty flavor). When the tempeh is almost done and lightly browned on each side, add the minced garlic and cook another minute, add the sauce and the beans. Cover and simmer until thickened a bit and boiled down slightly. Remove from the heat and add some grated vegan cheese in the amount you desire. Put the lid back on for a minute or two, to melt the cheese.

Place pitas in the oven to warm for about 10 minutes

To Serve: Scoop a hearty portion of the rice and peas over the warm pita. Top that with a scoop of smoky tempeh and beans…. and enjoy with a side of avocado and perhaps a side salad.

May you survive the rest of the retrograde….. Deep breaths…… I’m waiting until it’s over to make much needed changes and updates to my blog. Hence the font color change. This old format won’t let me match the colors anymore. It’s time for a makeover here to keep me inspired.  I’ll keep you updated on that.

~The Karmatarian

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Good Karma Bowl

The Good Karma Bowl

Who has been to the Native Foods Cafe?!! OMG. I just love that place. One of my favorite dishes is their soul bowl. I wanted to recreate this at home since the drive to the cafe is about an hour or so for me. Boooo. So the good karma bowl is just my knock off, give or take some ingredients. Ok, I totally just guessed at it, but I’m quite happy with the result. I bet the Native Foods Cafe cookbook has the exact recipe, as Chef Tanya seems happy to share, but I don’t have my own copy yet. I was just looking for another great vegan meal and remembered this dish… and let me tell you, it is comforting, it is delicious and it is fun! I tried to be a little fancy when I served it to my family, kind of like they do at the cafe. I put the veggie tenders on a skewer…

 Good Karma Bowl

What makes the original soul bowl so great is the Native Food’s homemade seitan. Homemade seitan is not going to happen anytime soon in my house, so I just buy it from the store.

But that’s not so healthy so you say? Here is what works for me… I committed long ago to making 4 or more dinners per week out of the Forks Over Knives cookbook or handbook or similar style cookbooks and recipes off the web. That means, no oil, little to no salt or sugar, no vegan processed foods, only tons of flavor through whole plant based foods and spices. The other nights I might add a little oil. One night a week I may add convenient vegan foods. This way I know me and my family eat top notch, delicious and healthy the majority of the time. So when I throw in a vegan pizza, or we cook veggie brats on the grill or enjoy gardein crispy tenders… it is fun, enjoyable and our cheat… but is it really cheating? I refuse to feel guilty. Sounds funny for a vegan to “cheat” with versions that are actually healthier than the original meat counterparts, but I’m just throwing it out there because too many non-veg people tend to look for flaws with people who eat healthy or vegan. They falsely think these types of vegan products are bad. They aren’t bad. Certainly not when you compare them to animal products and that whole mess. These types of vegan foods have their wonderful place and when vegans enjoy what they eat, they tend to stay vegan. That is key. You can be vegan or you can be a health nut. I am a bit of both, so I am armed with all the ammo I need to stay on this awesome vegan wagon!

We might be vegan in our home but we still enjoy the chewing sensation, which unfortunately is what eating dense animal flesh provides to many a non-vegan. This is why us vegans enjoy these kinds of convenient vegan foods and “meats” which are familiar to what we grew up with, without the harming the animals part. So there you have it and now there is no need to wonder any longer. It is as simple as… vegans still like to chew and we still like variety. I wish I didn’t have to justify any of this… but so go I. 

This recipe is easy, but takes some prep, multi-tasking and assembly. Over all it’s quick and easy. The whole recipe can be found at the end of the post.

rice for the good karma bowl

First, you need to prepare some brown rice. I like to use my rice cooker. I tend to throw it on early in the day when I am thinking about what’s for dinner so that I am not left scrambling without brown rice at 5 o’clock or forced to make something else that doesn’t require rice because I forgot or ran out of time. Brown rice takes a long time to cook. You can always freeze portions to be used at later time, too. The brand of rice I really enjoy lately is Lundberg short grain brown rice.

veggies for the good karma bowl

You’ll want to get your water boiling to steam your veggies. I enjoy a blend of broccoli, cauliflower, sliced carrots and this time I threw in organic shelled soybeans but you can omit these if you choose or add another type of veggie.

Gardein nuggets for the good karma bowl

Bake your gardein crispy tenders while your veggies are steaming. These take the longest amount of time, a whopping 20 minutes.

Beans and vegan mayo and bbq for good karma bowl

Prepare your kidney beans (meaning take them out of the can, rinse and drain). Pull your vegan mayo out of the fridge or make your own (recipe below) and find your favorite bbq sauce minus the high fructose corn syrup, of course.

Steamed kale for the good karma bowl

Lightly steam your kale in a skillet will a small amount of boiling water and a lid. Takes about 2 minutes to steam.

The Good Karma Bowl

When everything is ready, assemble. Start with a scoop of rice, then a scoop of beans, a scoop of veggies, a helping of steamed kale and then approximately 2 tablespoons of bbq sauce and 2 tablespoons of vegan mayo.

Good Karma Bowl Mixed

Mix until all the flavors are incorporated. You can cut the tenders into the dish….. and EN-freaking-JOY!

 Good Karma Bowl

 Good Karma Bowl

Ingredients

  • Cooked Brown Rice
  • Veggies for steaming (ex. California blend or broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and organic shelled soybeans)
  • Organic Kale
  • 1 Can of Organic-Low Sodium, Red Kidney Beans
  • Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders 
  • Favorite BBQ Sauce
  • Vegan Mayo
  • Sea Salt for serving, to bring out the flavors, only if necessary.

Directions

Pre-heat the oven according to package directions for the crispy tenders. Boil water for steaming your vegetables. Rip the kale from the stems into bite size pieces and rinse. Set aside. Open the can of kidney beans, rinse and drain. Prepare mayo and bbq sauce. 

Bake the crispy tenders and steam your veggies. When those are both finished. Steam the kale in a skillet with about a 1/2 cup boiling water for about 2 minutes covered with a lid. Drain.

Assemble your bowls. Put a scoop of cooked brown rice, topped with a scoop of kidney beans, a scoop of steamed veggies and finish with steamed kale. Add approximately 2 tablespoons bbq sauce and 2 tablespoons mayo. Mix to incorporate flavors before digging in and enjoy!

My Homemade Vegan Mayo

Ingredients

  • 1 Package Silken Tofu or Firm Silken Tofu
  • 1 Cup Cashews
  • 3 Tbs fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1/8- 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Splash of Agave Syrup to taste

Directions

Put all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. This keeps for about 2 weeks and will thicken upon refrigeration.

Enjoy

~The Karmatarian

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Forever Friend Inspired, Sweet Garlic Basil Pasta Sauce – Oil Free, Sugar Free

Sweet garlic basil pasta sauce, oil free, sugar free

Back then, we were just two fun girls with VERY big hair who rode the same yellow bus. The universe knew what it was doing that fateful day we crossed paths… our friendship story continues on to this day – oh some 25 years later. We are forever friends… as Cathy would say.

I admire her for her generous heart and justice oriented way of thinking about the world and the people in it.  I agree with her, we need to pull up our big girl or big boy pants and step it up and do the right thing. It seems, like minded friends tend to find each other in life, even years before they become who they are destined to be. Cathy and I have things in common now, that weren’t even obvious on the radar back then.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Cathy’s house. Her family is Italian, welcoming, generous and very entertaining. They became my second family. I ate dinner there a time or two! Their family’s homemade pasta sauce was always out of this world! Funny how many fond memories can be centered around a big bowl of noodles and some sauce.

Tomatoes from the garden!

So I’m over here thinking about what I might do with all these tomatoes I picked from my Dad’s garden and I found myself dreaming about the old days and that sauce. I can’t believe that I don’t know how to make that sauce or that I have never taken notes. But I guess it doesn’t matter, because now I’m doing things different. So I reached out and asked Cathy if I could veganize her family’s secret sauce recipe and she surprised me with the fact that she had already veganized it. Cool or what?  But who are we kidding? Even she admits… it’s totally not the same family recipe, because the original just can’t be veganized to taste exactly the same.

You know what? That’s OK. We will create new memories with new sauce with its new flavors… Why?  Because change is the only thing we can count on in an ever changing universe. We know that vegan sauce is much better for everyone involved anyway, it also focuses on the future… and there is so much exciting possibility in the future!

I had my hands on the basic recipe, but when I got into the kitchen, of course I made changes and made it my own.  That’s what cooking is all about. I’m sure Cathy won’t mind. She inspired me! Not only with her sauce recipe, but her friendship and the fact that she is happy to share.

Cathy and I - veggie fest

Cathy and I with our families now – Veggie Fest 2013

Let’s break this sauce down and talk about it for a minute…

Being vegan and picky, it’s hard to find a sauce that is organic, oil free, sugar free and low sodium. I think I might have one or sometimes two to choose from at the store. So why not make my own? Just like my hummus recipe, this is just inspiration to do it!

I know that you probably already have ideas of what pasta sauce should taste like. God forbid you are also Italian and judging the hell out of this. That’s cool. Spice and adjust, and do as you must, but hear me out on a few ideas here. I am just going to say, I am quite fond of my sauce and it could be that it’s homemade with care and love or maybe because it’s a little different. Either way. When I can’t help myself but to keep dipping my spoon to taste it over and over while it’s cooking, I know it’s a good recipe. And it’s still… just my opinion.

A couple things

First, most of us have been conditioned to think we NEED to cook with oil. It’s just not true. I have found jarred, oil free sauce before and most recipes I make these days cook up just fine without oil, so I know it can be done. You may have to man the stove just a little bit more, and maybe not keep the flame ridiculously high… but it can be done, and without burning.

Second, did you know that most pasta sauce calls for sugar to neutralize acidity of the tomatoes? In this sauce, I wanted more focus on whole foods so a grated carrot did the trick. This is where the sweet comes in without sending a diabetic into shock. We are blending this sauce at the end so it’s all good.

Third, sodium is another story. This is up to you. This sauce does contain sea salt. It needs it for flavor, just sayin’. You can add it or not add it… you are your own cook and the gatekeeper of your good health. Just know that jarred sauce is usually very high in sodium. The good rule of thumb for packaged products is not to go over calories per serving with sodium per serving. So if it’s 100 calories per serving, sodium should be 100 milligrams or less per serving. This is very tough to do, unless you avoid packaged products. I do enjoy sea salt, and if I am going to break this rule and get some sodium in, I might as well get the added benefits of extra trace minerals in sea salt vs regular table salt! I don’t have high blood pressure. If you do, proceed with caution regarding sodium in your diet. I have been trying to do the math and 1 tablespoon of sea salt divided into two quarts and then down to individual servings can’t be all that bad, can it? Oh never mind.

Fourth, I am thickening this sauce with arrowroot powder because it doesn’t dilute the spices and flavors and also because I don’t want to add canned, already made pasta sauce to thicken this. The reason is, most cans leach the aluminum into the sauce due to the high acidity of the tomatoes. Then there is the worry about the BPA lined cans. Who needs it? I have gone out of my way to avoid aluminum, even changed my deodorant as some of you might know. I am not innocent, I use a few canned goods here and there, but I am becoming more and more mindful.

Fifth, the secret ingredient to this particular sauce is… Cinnamon. Just a dash. After making 4 batches of sauce, and trying some without, I couldn’t resist adding it to all. Cinnamon gives quite a unique twist. You can however, omit it.

So here it is….. Taaaa Daaaaa

Sweet garlic basil pasta sauce, oil free, sugar free

Sweet Garlic Basil Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • About 15 Medium Ripe Tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Large Carrot, grated
  • 3 Large Pressed Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbs Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
  • 6 Tbs Arrowroot Powder + 5 Tbs Water

Directions

sweet garlic basil pasta sauce - oil free, sugar freePlace chopped tomatoes, (with skin and seeds), into a large stock pot with 1/2 cup water and heat on medium/high for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mash with a potato masher and lower heat a bit if necessary. Keep an eye on this and stir often, adding more water only if needed.

Add grated carrot, garlic, salt and spices except for the cinnamon. Be sure to roll and crush the basil between your fingers to release more flavor. Cook on low/medium heat, simmering for another 20 minutes. Stirring often. Taste and adjust seasonings and add cinnamon here.

Raise heat and bring sauce back to a low boil. While that is happening, in a small bowl, use a fork to mix 6 Tbs Arrowroot powder with 5 Tbs water to create a thick paste and pour this into the middle of the sauce while stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken. Cook 1 – 2 minutes. Do not over boil or the arrowroot will lose its thickening ability. Remove from the heat and ladle sauce into your Vitamix or other blender, blend on high to smooth out remaining tomato skins, seeds and grated carrot (I left a little un-blended for texture, just because). Return sauce to the pot, glass jars, containers, etc… use, freeze or give some away. The bubbles created from blending will dissipate in about 10 minutes or so.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Dad’s Zucchini Apple Bread – Vegan, Oil-Free

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I feel lucky to have such a talented Dad. He’s project oriented and not afraid of hard work. He also has a big heart for animals. He’s the one that instilled in me care and concern for our fellow creatures. Over the years, he’s nursed many sick or injured animals back to health and as a little girl, I witnessed this and took it to heart. You know those crazy kids, they emulate what they see. Anyway, I’m grateful for that!

Two (of among many) of my dad’s talents are baking and gardening. When you add those two things together, what do you get? Zucchini bread, of course… and a lot of it.

Every year, marking the end of Summer, it has been zucchini bread for everyone! Meaning my dad generously bakes and gives to many friends. However, my dad has since adopted a plant-based diet and I’m proud to say it’s been well over a year and a half! Go dad, go!! Nothing but good results in return!

Switching to a vegan or plant-based lifestyle does not mean giving up tradition. You may have to change things up a bit but it’s really the act of doing something meaningful over and over, not the actual end product necessarily. Change is easy to adapt to if you go with the flow. There are vegan versions of everything and anything! I believe, if there is a will, there is a way.

I told my dad that I would take his recipe and play with it because I love the challenge. He has played with it too. We both came up with applesauce in place of oil which works fabulously, although it changes the bread to a more zucchini – apple flavor since it called for so much oil – now applesauce. Luckily, these flavors are wonderful together.

The recipe calls for 4 eggs! That would scare any new vegan away. Not me. I chose a blend of Chia and flax eggs which add nutrition and depth. Whenever I replace eggs in baked goods with these ingredients, I always bump up the baking powder. It usually does the trick.

Next is the sugar. The original recipe calls for three cups of sugar. I cut it down to two cups of organic sugar, just because. Three cups seems excessive! My dad used liquid Stevia in place of sugar with success. I am not a huge fan, so I probably won’t try that. Mind you, this bread is a sweet bread, it’s a treat, and it’s not every day that I eat it, so I don’t mind the sugar, sugar ;) I suppose we could sub maple syrup or what about Succanut? Maybe for my next attempt? It turned out so perfect my way, I hate to mess with it.

Let’s talk zucchini. My dad gave me a bag of frozen shredded zucchini that he previously prepared. He grated six cups zucchini. The original recipe calls for three cups. When I thawed the six cups, I ended up with two cups of concentrated zucchini, so I used it all, even though the recipe called for three. When I make this again and use fresh zucchini, I will use three to four cups fresh. Probably four. The more the better!

I baked two loaves using standard loaf pans. My dad usually makes three mini loaves out of one batch of batter. Do whatever you prefer.

My review of this bread… OH MY! Divine. It has flavors of apple, hints of cinnamon the crunch of walnuts and of course zucchini. It’s not dripping in oil like the days of old, but who cares. It’s low fat! And to use my least favorite word…. it’s still Moist. Absolutely still a keeper – now just veganized! Bam!

I am grateful my dad started this tradition. After all, it’s the small things in life that can be very meaningful. I will definitely take this on now that I know it’s just as amazing, vegan and oil free.

I hope you enjoy this zucchini bread… our “new” family tradition.

Dad's Zucchini Apple Bread Dad's Zucchini Apple Bread

Dad’s Zucchini Apple Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs Chia Seeds + 6 Tbs Water
  • 2 Tbs Ground Flax Seeds + 6 Tbs Water
  • 3 – 4 Cups Freshly Grated Zucchini or 6 Cups Frozen (2 cups concentrated/thawed – see written notes above)
  • 2 Cups Organic Sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 Cups Apple Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I used 365 Whole Foods Brand)
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray two standard loaf pans with oil (I used a spray grapeseed oil) and dust with organic cornstarch.

Combine 2 Tbs chia seeds with 6 Tbs water in a small bowl, stir and set aside to gel (about 10 – 15 minutes). In a separate bowl, combine 2 Tbs ground flax seeds with 6 Tbs water and set aside to gel (also about 10 – 15 minutes).

In a large bowl, stir together the applesauce, sugar and vanilla. Stir in the chia and flax “eggs”. Stir in the shredded zucchini.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into the two loaf pans, dividing evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown or until inserted knife comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!

NOTES* I had better luck making this in metal bread pans rather than glass. Also BE CAREFUL not to over-mix the batter. Use a wooden spoon.

~the Karmatarian

 

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Teriyaki Tofu and Pineapple Skewers over Sweet Coconut Rice

Teriyaki Tofu and Pineapple Skewers over Sweet Coconut Rice

After three back-to-back eclipses, many solar flares, intense astrological alignments and waves of higher energetic frequencies sweeping the earth, helping us to release and ascend higher (which hit me pretty hard), I finally had the strength to veganize a recipe! This recipe, I used to love to make – Salmon Teriyaki Skewers with Pineapple. Salmon and Turkey were among the last to go when I was transitioning our family vegan. Now I can barely type those words. Ok, exaggeration. But I did make those type of dishes once per month in between great vegetarian and vegan meals while building my confidence in the vegan arena. 

This recipe was always a hit. To veganize it, I was looking to replace the Salmon with Tofu, and mind you, I am still experimenting with this. I used firm tofu and it worked very well, but it was rather fragile. I baste and turn this VERY carefully. I may try using extra firm next time until I can find a vegan salmon alternative. Extra firm Tofu would be good especially for grilling. Maybe even high protein super firm! I prefer to broil the skewers, so firm tofu was just fine, nice and delicate like the “fish” I used to… dare I say – enjoy.  

As a vegan I can say, we aren’t vegan because we didn’t like the taste of meat or fish. I speak for most. We are stronger now. We know better and do better and have adjusted our taste buds accordingly.

My husband really enjoyed this dish and he is well aware of the original recipe, because I made it so often. I say it’s a keeper! My tips – Just be sure to like your marinade because your tofu will taste exactly like it! Feel free to use low sodium or gluten free soy sauce. And DON’T use coconut oil unless the marinade is at room temp or the oil will harden and it will not be pretty. I have made this mistake.

You can get the recipe HERE.  I follow it as is.  Just promise me you will use Tofu, not Salmon for these Top 10 reasons NOT to eat Salmon. They didn’t even touch on the fact that you can obtain 600% more Omega 3 from Chia Seeds than from Salmon. Eat smart!

I have always served this dish over coconut rice. It’s my added flair. Yes, the rice is white… because when I’m feeling bad, white rice is about as bad as it gets. Also because I have made it with brown, and it’s just not the same. It’s a bit too heavy for this light theme and takes away from the coconut flavor. Try it both ways. You’ll see.

Here is my recipe for the rice:

Coconut Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk (light or regular, it’s up to you)
  • 1 +  3/4 Cup Water
  • 4 tsp Organic Sugar
  • 1 Pinch Sea Salt
  • Handful of Sliced Almonds

Directions

Combine the coconut milk, water, sugar and salt – dissolve. Stir in the Jasmine rice and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 18-20 minutes. Stir in a sliced almonds and serve.

I hope you are navigating these intense energies with grace. A lot of us seem to be introspective right now, having a roller coaster of emotions and unexplainable physical symptoms. Just remember that we are being divinely guided and better things are in store for all of us. When something from the past comes bubbling up for you, just know it is doing so to be released. Thank it and let it go!

Stay in gratitude to manifest your hearts desires.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

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Portobello Pizzas

Vegan Portobello Pizza

I love Portobello Pizza. It’s one of the easy, fast, low fat staples in my recipe rotation. It’s the kind of meal that let’s you have dessert afterward without guilt.  I usually serve this with a side salad and wild rice blend that is cooked up in veggie broth with a little added nutritional yeast. Or… whatever leftovers I might have on hand. In just 30 minutes, Dinner can be served!

Sometimes I add basil and extra garlic or spinach leaves. Sometimes I fill these with a vegan pesto. Either way, they are fast and good.

This idea of Portobello Pizza isn’t new to me and probably isn’t new to you, either. However, I used to make this pizza with dairy cheese (pre-vegan) and then went on to make it with vegan cheese. I found that in both scenarios, the texture of the mushroom paired with sauce AND slimy cheese, was well… too slimy. I can’t think of a better word. Maybe slippery? I mean, the whole topping just slides right off the mushroom if you aren’t careful.  Maybe you can relate?

I like to change up textures and flavors all the time in the kitchen and Portobello anything is a nice change of pace.  As for the pizza, I finally found a good combination that is very pleasing and complimentary. I now use a crushed cashew “cheese” topping that I have used before in other recipes, and it happens to be perfect for the mushroom pizza. You have to try it!

This can be a low sodium, oil free and gluten free meal depending on your sauce and your side dishes. It can be VERY hard to find a jarred pasta sauce without oil, a ton of sodium and sugar. Good luck to you! The last sauce I used was from Trader Joe’s, you know the fat-free organic one they usually hide waaayyyy down on the bottom shelf. I don’t know why? If I had the jar here now, I could tell you the sodium and sugar content but my guess is that it’s not great. I was just happy it was OIL FREE and ORGANIC. I’ll double check it next time I’m there. You probably can’t believe I let that slip by. I try to choose my battles over here and I tend not to fight them all at once. Things usually balance out over the course of the day.

I do know there is a brand of oil free and low sodium pasta sauce out there which my dad recently found and likes. It will most likely have to be ordered on line. I will get back to you with the name of it.

 

 

Portobello Pizzas

Ingredients

  • Large Portobello Mushroom Caps (the amount is up to you, I usually make 5 or 6 – 2 for each adult and one for my little guy)
  • A Jar of Your Favorite Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Cup Raw Cashews (this depends on how many pizzas you make but I always make extra topping to keep in the pantry
  • Optional – Other toppings you might enjoy, such as fresh basil, minced fresh garlic, spinach leaves

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

Wash the mushroom caps gently, remove the stems and pat dry with paper towels

Fill the mushrooms with sauce and extra optional toppings and place in a shallow glass baking dish (I usually use a 9 x 13)

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until the juices begin to flow (if the juices aren’t flowing, they have not finished cooking)

While the mushrooms are baking, pulse the cashews in the food processor until desired texture (I like a semi-fine Parmesan cheese-like texture mixed with chunky bits of cashew)

Remove the pan from the oven and top pizzas with ground cashews and bake again for 5-10 minutes longer… but watch closely. Cashews should be barely toasted. If you are brave, you could broil on low for a minute.

I would love to hear your reviews, topping ideas and more. Feel free to comment below.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Spinach and Tomatoes in a Garlic Wine Sauce

Simple. Light. Perfect for a Summer evening dinner out on the patio. It’s gluten free, vegan and low fat (oil free), but you will need to finish off that bottle of white wine… but who’s complaining?

My summer is picking up and I’ve really been enjoying it. I hope you are enjoying yours. I managed to style 15 updo’s for Cirque du Soleil performers and staff a few weeks ago with the help of a good friend. We got to enjoy the show from very good seats and my little guy LOVED it! It made me so happy. Also happy that no animals were involved. I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it was to discover the abuse that goes on toward such majestic elephants and wild animals for the traditional circus. I recommend watching Earthlings if you haven’t yet. And boycott the old circus at all costs! The Dralion or any Cirque show is worth saving up your money and taking your family out for a memorable day.

… Another happy vegan moment. Finding cute cowboy boots – man made material! I have been looking for a pair for a few years and unfortunately it was tough, so I stopped looking. Last week, I ran into a cute little store here called Francesca’s Collections and I spotted them, they actually fit, and off I went to a country concert…. Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney! Brothers of the Sun tour. Who wouldn’t have a fabulous time seeing these two hotties perform?

Next on the agenda, we rented a cute little lake house for some fun in the sun…. I hope to take some time to evaluate life and set some goals for the future in a quiet natural setting.  There’s no chance of getting on the computer as I was told there is no internet access. This might be really interesting to see how addicted I honestly am to technology. I might just go a little crazy, but maybe not? We’ll find out, won’t we?

Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Spinach and Tomatoes in a Garlic Wine Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 – 16 oz Package of Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta (gluten free)
  • Vegetable Broth (approximately 2 cups but I just had a carton on hand and freely used it as needed)
  • 8 oz container of Baby Bella, white or Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup chopped Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 package of fresh Spinach leaves (about 2-3 large handfuls)
  • Your choice Tomatoes, either  3 chopped Roma or 1/2 container of sliced Grape Tomatoes (I made it both ways and liked it either way)
  • 1/2 Cup of good White Wine (that you will enjoy drinking with your dinner)
  • 1/4 Cup of Nutritional Yeast
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

Heat a large shallow pan over medium to high heat and add a splash of vegetable broth. Once heated, add mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes until soft adding vegetable broth as needed. Remove mushrooms to a medium bowl.

Add more broth (just enough to cook) to the pan if necessary, return to heat and add the onion, cook until translucent and stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes more adding broth as it cooks so not to burn or stick to the pan. Remove these to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Return the pan to the heat and add more broth, heat and add spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Bring back the mushrooms, onions and garlic to the pan with the spinach and add the tomatoes. Add more vegetable broth if needed and add the white wine and cook until slightly reduced, add about a cup of vegetable broth (or how much you prefer) and cook for 5 minutes until everything is heated through and tomatoes are softened. Add nutritional yeast and the salt and pepper to taste…. stir and heat through.

Top the pasta with sauce and veggies and enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

A few fun pics….

Fun with the girls at the Brothers of the Sun concert… check out my vegan boots! (I’m on the right) :)

Me and my little guy at the United Center to see Cirque Du Soleil – The Dralion

… and Michael Jordan’s “legs”… lol

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Power C Tempeh Over Minted Tricolor Quinoa

My cousin Rocks! She started researching food production and she took her new shock and awe and did exactly what I did… she turned that energy into something productive. She is very much on board with the vegan/raw movement and she is making the important and necessary changes for the health of her family. I am so proud of her!

Hard at work in the kitchen, she’s experimenting and trying new dishes that not only taste good, they are good for you. The best part is, she shares her good finds with me. She is an awesome cook! How exciting that I could just relax at her family parties, knowing I can graze on anything at the table! Could there be a family raw/vegan restaurant in our future? We might just change our family’s reputation from the family of Hair Stylists (although she isn’t a Hair Stylist, she escaped that gene, lucky her) to the family of passionate and healthy foodies. I am all good with that! My other cousin, sister and dad are also on the right train… My dad being very much vegan now, and wow did he turn his health around!

Recently, my cousin served this Tempeh recipe she found, at her daughter’s birthday party. It was so delicious! I went home and had to make it, but of course I didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand… so this is the twist I came up with. It got rave reviews!  At least I hope my husband wasn’t just being nice. He happens to be a great taste tester (and sport) for my recipes. Some days he gets a little luckier than others! And we are still talking about the food here.

Power C Tempeh over Minted Tricolor Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1- 8 oz package of Tempeh
  • 1 Cup Tricolor Quinoa (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 tsp Concentrated Vegetable Broth (I like Better than Bouillon brand)
  • 1 Cup Naked Brand Power C Smoothie
  • 1 Tbs Grated Ginger
  • 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Tamari
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1-2 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Lime
  • Handful of Chopped Mint Leaves
  • Sea Salt

Directions

Fill a medium saucepan with 2 cups water. Rinse quinoa well in cold water and add it to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and add concentrated vegetable broth. Stir, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook down until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, add the Power C smoothie to a bowl. Add the grated ginger, Tamari, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ground coriander and garlic. Mix this and set it aside.

Cut the Tempeh into 3rds, then diagonals, then turn pieces on their side and slice in half again to make thinner triangles. You could even cut these again to make them more bite sized.

Heat the coconut oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat. When heated, add the tempeh and cook 5 minutes per side until golden brown.

Add the Power C mixture and simmer for 10 minutes, being sure to turn the tempeh while simmering.

Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and add a handful of chopped mint to taste

Serve the tempeh over the minted quinoa,  spoon the sauce over the top and finish it off with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of sea salt, which really helps to bring out the flavors in this dish. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

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Nut Cheese and Chive Black Beluga Lentil Crostini’s

Most likely you are running around with last minute details for that fabulous costume. Well that’s what I’ve been up to. Halloween is my favorite! I’ve been quite low key for the last few years though. Maybe because I’m letting my little one be the shining star, that and I don’t want to scare him with my spooky ideas. I’m all about SCARY. Isn’t that what Halloween is supposed to be? When did it all change? What’s up with sexy this and sexy that? I feel forced into the concept. Try costume shopping… Oh, you know. I’d like to think I’m sexy 365 days a year, but maybe that’s just me trying to take the power back for us women. Can’t I be spooky and scary and theatrical just one night? If I choose to be spooky, why is it that I feel I don’t fit in? Hmmm. What oh what has our world come to?

Anyway…

This year, I get to dress up twice. Princess Leia (a classy costume to go along with my little Jawa with light up eyes!) and I also finally get to be a Witch! Although, I do a terrific job playing the part once a month without costume. Ha ha. Just kidding… or am I? I do have an idea in mind for a festive witch hat and I would love to win a prize (for best hat) at one of my events. I was running around gathering the props and then was forced to take a break due to a sick kid. Gotta love Preschool.

So what better to do than experiment in the kitchen…

So, let me tell you about my nut cheese and chive black beluga lentil crostini’s. They are gooooood! I know this because I ate every one of them! Thankfully I only made a few… I made these just as an experiment, looking for a gourmet Halloween appetizer. But I have to recommend these for any holiday or any time. They sure look the festive Halloween part though. The lentils here remind me of caviar, dahhling. But caviar is not so appealing these days. Not sure it ever was. These look different and fancy which is my point here.

These can be assembled the day before the big event and the left over’s hold well and can be reheated. Serve warm or room temp. If you start ’em out warm and they turn cold waiting for your guests to arrive… no worries. They will still taste great!

I experimented adding an orange lentil layer. Very pretty. But the texture was not as good served cold. Even warmed, it toned down the other flavors too much. I also experimented adding vegan bacon bits…VERY GOOD. But the smoked flavor does over power the more delicate flavor of the ‘cheese’ and chives. I say leave the orange lentils out of it, they just looked good for my photos. This was a hard call but I would leave the Bac’Uns out of it too, unless bacon flavor is what you prefer. 

This recipe was inspired and adapted from a Trader Joe’s recipe. It is a mix of vegan-raw. You can also make it gluten free by using a gluten free bread or cracker, preferably garlic flavored or just rub raw cut garlic on each before assembling.

What You’ll Need

For the Base~

1 Loaf of your favorite Baguette, sliced into thin rounds

1 cup olive oil

1-2 large Garlic Cloves

For the Nut Cheese~

2 Cups of Raw Macadamia Nuts

2 T Lemon Juice

2 Garlic Cloves

1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt

2 Bunches of Chives, chopped (saving some for the garnish if desired)

About 1/2 C Plain Almond milk

For the Top~

8 oz cooked Black Beluga Lentils

(I used TJ’s fully cooked pre-packaged version of black beluga lentils because I had it on hand. It does bother me that the canola oil in this package could be GMO, so next time I will make my own lentils. Here is a bag of organic Black Beluga Lentils I found on Amazon.  If you try them let me know how they are.

What to do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheet. Brush each with olive oil. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove and cool. Peel and slice the end off a garlic clove. Holding the clove in your fingers, rub the top of each crostini.

To make the nut cheese~

In a food processor place the macadamia nuts, lemon juice, garlic cloves and salt and process until a fluffy consistency. It will be thick. Transfer cheese mixture to a bowl and add just a splash of almond milk at a time, (you may not need a full 1/2 Cup here) while mixing to create a more spreadable texture. Add the chives to taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

To Assemble Crostini’s

Take the crostini and spread each with the chive nut cheese, top with spoonful of beluga lentils. Serve room temperature or heat in the oven on a low setting. Garnish with chives if desired. 

Note* If using Bac’Uns, just sprinkle sparingly atop the ‘cheese’ before adding the beluga lentils. Or for a prettier end result you may consider mixing some Bac’Uns right into the nut cheese mixture so you don’t really see them and the lentils stand out.

Happy Halloween!

The Karmatarian~

Ps. Let me know what you think… did you add the bacon flavor bits or stick with just the chives? 

Here is a recipe I found for a black beluga lentil salad with goat cheese you may also enjoy… and you bet I would substitute with nut cheese! It’s an easy sub now that I know how to make nut cheese and consider myself addicted! 

Pss. I will most likely post some costume pics on my Facebook page… Join me there at www.Facebook.com/karmatarian

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Multi-Grain & Chia Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Coconut Chocolate Cream Sauce

Treat yourself. You deserve it!

Wedding season is in full swing and mama’s been working hard. Hair styling can be downright physically exhausting! Missing my son over the weekend, I wanted to treat us to something yummy on Monday, which was to be like our Sunday. Relaxed and lazy. I threw out some pancake flavors like blueberry and cinnamon pecan but he was not hearing it. I should have known he’d request the dreaded C word… CHOCOLATE. He reminds me of the Snipe, Kevin from the movie “UP” who’s nuts about chocolate. We watched this movie together on our lazy day.  So stinkin’ cute… and how fitting, as my three year old freaks for chocolate. It’s a scary treat because chocolate tends to make him E-V-I-L! Oh, he will tell you this, with a giggle if you ask him. However, I’ve noticed that vegan chocolate seems to bring out more manageable behavior than say M & M’s which my very loving, but non-vegan family members tend to slip him from time to time.

It’s tough being a mom, my heart breaks when I have to deny my cutie of his favorite treat 99% of the time. But I must. For the sake of my sanity.

So Mommy Caved! Chocolate it is…

I take pride in the fact that I made this a bit healthier using multi-grain pancake mix.  Chia seeds are an excellent egg replacer plus fiber, hydration and 5 times the calcium of milk. Yep, you heard right. Although the Chia seeds don’t steal the show here, they are barely noticeable, really. The pancakes themselves are no biggie either. It’s the coconut cream sauce! I must tell you about this Amazing versatile treat! Coconut cream is another healthy addition to this breakfast. Don’t freak. Coconut cream does have saturated fat but it’s a healthy fat which your body can turn to energy very quickly. It will not clog your arteries like animal fat. It will not raise your blood cholesterol and it actually helps you loose weight. It speeds up your metabolism and helps in the bowel function department.  It also helps to boost your immune system against many diseases and fight cancer and viruses due to it’s high Lauric Acid content, a property found in human breast milk. We can’t say the same great things about dairy… so whats the worry?

Multi-Grain & Chia Chocoalate Chip Pancakes with Coconut Chocolate Cream Sauce

Ingredients

Pancakes

  • 1 Cup Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking and Pancake Mix
  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tbs Chia Seeds plus 3 Tbs Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Non Dairy Milk such as my favorite for baking Tempt Vanilla Hemp Milk

Coconut Chocolate Cream Sauce


Directions

Place the can of coconut milk into the freezer first. Heat your griddle. Put the pancake mix and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to blend together. In a small bowl, add 1 Tbs Chia seeds to 3 Tbs water and stir and let sit for a minute. Stir again. Let sit for another minute. Let it get nice and gelatinous. This will act as the egg replacer. Add the chia egg to the non-dairy milk in another large bowl and whisk until everything is well blended. Next add the dry pancake mix to the wet ingredients and whisk to blend well. Fold in the Chocolate Chips. When your griddle is hot and ready. Make your pancakes!

Note* I am not a pancake professional! I don’t even want to tell you how to go about it.  Pancakes are too close to baking and baking and I have unresolved issues. I do my best, but usually screw up the first few cakes due to adjusting the heat for the pan. If your vegan pancakes are not cooking all the way through or seeming flat or too wet, add more baking powder, or dry mix which works for me.

When your cakes are stacked, keep them warm while you prepare your cream sauce. Take out the can of coconut milk from the freezer, open and scoop off the top cream that has risen to the top of the can and solidified a bit. It should be about a 1/2 Cup. Add this to a mixing bowl and add the sugar, cacao powder and vanilla and with an electric hand mixer, beat on a high speed until well blended and creamy. Since it won’t be in the freezer that long while you prepare your pancakes, you should end up with a creamy/thick sauce that you can serve over your pancakes instead of syrup. The hot cakes will melt the sauce even more… Mmmm!

The versatility comes into play with the left over cream. Place in a small container and store in the refrigerator. The longer it refrigerates the thicker it becomes and the the flavors blend together. This makes a fantastic, frosting or whip cream replacement. I ate the rest of my chocolate whip cream with strawberries the next day! Be creative and be grateful that we don’t need the dreaded dairy to enjoy an amazing dessert!!!!

You can always prepare your Coconut Chocolate Cream in advance and let is sit out a while to soften or warm it up a bit if you like.

You can also make this coconut cream plain without the chocolate to replace whip cream. Just use the vanilla and sugar. I have also meant to experiment with organic powdered sugar for an even smoother outcome but I haven’t done this yet…. maybe I’ll go do it right now!

Enjoy this clip from the movie “Up”

Damnit Disney… for making me cry. The best message: Ellie to Carl~ Thanks for the Adventure. Now go have a new one! Awwwwwwww

And a few of my favorite  “Up” movie lines ~ 

Ellie: ” You know him. Charles Muntz. When I get big, I’m going where he’s going. South America… It’s like America… but South”!

Russell: “This is fun already isn’t it? By the time we get there, you are gonna feel SO assisted”

Carl: “if you don’t hurry up the Tigers will eat you” Russell: “Damn those Tigers in South America”

Dug: “Oh yes, oh yes, since I have said that I can see how you would think that”

So enjoy and remember…  “A wilderness explorer is a friend to all, be a plant or fish or tiny mole!”

The Karmatarian~



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3-Way Mac-n-Cheese

This dish really ought to be called No Excuses Mac-n-Cheese. Something this creamy and delicious gives us no reason whatsoever to exploit cows for the sake of comfort food.  Besides, there isn’t much comfort knowing dairy cows are the most abused and exploited of all factory farmed animals. Eating vegan mac-n-cheese you get the best of both worlds…. comforting yumminess and peace filling up your heart which might just help you sleep better at night! All it takes is going into your kitchen and doing things a little differently. It’s not that hard. Honestly!

If you’re not there yet, a recipe like this may be what you need to help kick your addiction to Casein. It’s way overdue that humans be weaned. After all, we aren’t calves needing the high of our mother’s Casomorphins which encourage us to stick close to her udders ensuring our nourishment along with IGF1 hormone to support our growth into a Heffer! Still most humans absolutely love cow secretions and walk around high on the breakdown of these bovine hormones waiting to get their next fix. It’s pretty ridiculous when you step back and see it for what it is.

3-Way Mac-n-Cheese

Ok, Let me tell you why it’s 3-way. No need for minds to be wandering. You can make this dish as a casserole two different ways or you can make it simply, noodles and cheese sauce. Did you know traditional mac-n-cheese is one of a toddler’s most consumed food if not number one! Yikes! But you won’t feel bad giving this version to your sweet Angel! Velveeta. Kraft. I shudder just hearing these words. Cheese sauce pouch full of pus and preservatives. Eeeew!  Powdered cheese… Blah! Well this dish doesn’t even compare. Mine blows that crap away! Bonus: Vegan versions won’t clog your arteries or fill you with unwanted growth hormones.  They actually come with a Halo. Well, I don’t know for sure, but there’s a good chance! And there’s three, four or more ways to make this cheese sauce. You can use the blended cashews or not and you can make it with many different kinds of “milk”. If you cannot get your hands on Daiya Cheese shreds (the best vegan invention yet) you can make the casserole version without it, no problem.  And, drum roll please…. Either way, you can make this Gluten and Soy free! So, all bases are covered and we are left with absolutely… No Excuses!

#1 – Basic Noodles and Sauce… a toddler’s favorite  (mine too!)

This is when I want to make a fast bowl of mac and cheese for my three year old and have just a few bites left over for myself. Or if you’re not into sharing, just a big bowl for yourself with no left overs. If you want more, you’ll need to do the math for this recipe. But this is such an easy one to eye-ball.

What you’ll need

1 Cup of Dry Cavatelli Noodles

1 Tbs Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1 Cup of Creamy Plain Almond Milk (I like the kind you find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Whole Foods 365 brand, Wal-Mart sells Silk brand or Almond Breeze, Trader Joe’s now sells their version… or use your favorite.)

1 Cup Daiya Cheese, Cheddar Style Shreds (dairy free, gluten free and soy free!)

1 large pinch of Garlic Powder

1 large pinch of ground Turmeric

about 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt  (I love this salt, it has 84 trace minerals!)

*Update – I rarely add Earth Balance to this dish anymore, but if you are one that likes extra buttery flavor you might enjoy it. I am trying to cut back on oils wherever possible.

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions.  When done, drain thoroughly. Add 1 Tbs of Earth Balance. Mix and melt it into the noodles.

In a separate pot. Pour in the Almond milk and bring to a light boil. Add Daiya Cheese and stir constantly until it melts all the way.  This seems to take a bit. Patience young grasshopper! You”ll begin to see the mixture thicken…. and thicken until the desired consistency.  You may have to adjust the heat. Add the sea salt, Turmeric and garlic powder and taste to adjust. Add more Daiya cheese if necessary. Feel free to lick the spoon here. Pour the sauce over your cooked Cavatelli noodles, mix and serve!

*Note: My first attempt with this recipe I used large Penne Noodles. It was a No-Go with my son. He likes small shells. I switched, and now he devours this! Picky little things, those toddlers!

Secondly I had no Cheddar Daiya on hand. What to do… what to do… I used the Mozzarella style and added more Turmeric and Paprika for coloring. It was every bit as fabulous!

Thirdly, the first time I tried this with canned coconut milk because I only had vanilla almond milk on hand. And I do not recommend vanilla flavor milk for this. I screwed up  too many other recipes trying this.  Vanilla flavor works best for baking or desserts. I used half of a can of coconut milk due to it’s creamy nature and saved the other half for a green smoothie at a later time. This turned out just as wonderful!


#2 – Mac-n-Cheese Casserole…  A traditional comfort food favorite

What You’ll Need

10-16 oz Pasta  such as Penne    (I used a bag of Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta to make this Gluten Free! Also you don’t want a type of pasta that has too much texture or it will soak up the sauce and end up dry. Use smooth pasta. You don’t really need the whole bag, but it didn’t hurt me to have more cooked noodles on hand)

1 Tbs Olive Oil

1 Can of Coconut Milk plus Water to equal 2 Cups Total Liquid

Or

2 Cups Creamy Plain Almond Milk    (You can also use other milks like hemp, oat, rice or soy. I make it with coconut or almond but hemp would be great too!)

1 Cup Raw Cashews 

2 Tbs Soy Sauce

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp or more Sea Salt.

1 tsp Crushed Garlic  (Optional as you can omit and just add more garlic powder)

Large Pinch Garlic Powder

Large Pinch Onion Powder

Pepper, optional

1 + 1/2 Cup Daiya Cheese, Cheddar Style Shreds

Misto Sprayer filled with Olive Oil or your favorite Cooking Spray

1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs, Gluten Free Bread Crumbs or use Toasted and Crumbled Gluten Free Waffles as your topping!

Paprika to sprinkle on top

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and get your 8×8 casserole dish ready.  Make Pasta according to the package directions, drain, return to pot and drizzle with 1 Tbs of Olive Oil so it won’t stick together while you are making the sauce. This also adds to the rich creamy outcome of the sauce.

In a blender, add milk, cashews, soy sauce, lemon juice, turmeric, paprika, sea salt, crushed garlic, garlic powder, onion powder and blend away until thickened. Taste to adjust seasonings and salt. Seems like the salt gets baked away, don’t be afraid to taste the salt here.

Once blended and creamy, transfer to a large pot and heat to a light boil. Add your Daiya Cheese and whisk constantly until it’s all melted. You may have to adjust or raise the heat. When melted, add noodles slowly to the sauce… I may have used 3/4 or less of my 16 oz bag.

Just eye-ball the consistency of your noodles and sauce but it’s fine if it seems a bit saucy because that will bake in, and you certainly don’t want this to turn out dry.

After your noodles are coated, transfer the mixture to your casserole dish and top evenly with bread crumbs and paprika. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, remove and spritz with olive oil and turn your oven to broil. Lightly broil!  Watch it VERY closely here… Broil for about 2 minutes, give or take, until it is a beautiful golden brown. I did this because my casserole did not brown all the way within 15 minutes of baking and you don’t want to over bake this.

Remove, let cool for a minute and dive right in! No fear if you haven’t salted it enough, have your shaker with Himalayan sea salt near by. Problem solved.

# 3 (and 4)

You don’t have Daiya Cheese on hand

If you don’t have Daiya cheese on hand, just add your noodles to the cashew sauce without the step of melting in the Daiya Cheese and then bake in the oven.

Allergic to Cashews?

Cashews makes a fabulous creamy sauce, an idea which I stole from the wonderful world of raw food. I think cashew sauce plus Mozzarella Daiya cheese would make a wonderful Alfredo sauce!

But if you can’t do cashews, then follow the first recipe for basic noodles and sauce but make it into a casserole:

Cook about 10 oz or so of dry pasta

Use 2 cups of your preferred nut, soy or rice milk

Increase your Daiya Cheese from 1 to 2-3 cups

Add more Earth Balance, optional

Make your pasta. Make your sauce. Adjust your seasonings. Mix with noddles and pour into your 8×8 casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and paprika and bake for 15 minutes in a 375 oven until lightly bubbly and brown. See if you need to spritz with oil and broil to brown evenly.

*Note: A lot of vegan recipes call for Nutritional Yeast  especially in mac -n- cheese. Feel free to add it. I used to think I was allergic to nutritional yeast when I first started going vegetarian. It has a lot of fiber! My body was not used to it. It felt like daggers going through my digestive tract. Over time, the body adjusts to fiber such as beans and nutritional yeast. I’m so thankful because now I can’t get enough of this stuff and I do add it to my mac-n-cheese dishes and so many others. So definitely try nutritional yeast in your recipes for added cheesy flavor and vitamin boost. Especially B12. It also contains protein.

So there you have it, many ways to veganize an American classic. Have fun creating and I would love your feedback as always!

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Maple Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash with Tofu, Raisins and Walnuts

It’s been in the teens and single digits for days here in Chicago. I’m cold. I have a bad case of cabin fever and I’m craving some sort of comfort food. I was looking around the kitchen wondering what to do with that butternut squash just sitting over there… waiting for me. Stuck inside as it snowed yet again, it was a good time to be creative.

I was very impressed with the aroma’s that filled the house while this was roasting. I’m going to keep this in mind for a beautiful dish to present to guests. One whiff and they are sure to feel special.

Maple Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash with Tofu, Raisins and Walnuts

Ingredients

1 Medium Butternut Squash

1 14 oz Package Firm Organic Tofu, drained well and cut into 1/2″ cubes. I used Wildwood organic, high protein/super firm, no drain.

1/2-3/4 C Red Onion sliced in rings or largely diced

1/2 C Raisins

3/4 C Coarsely Chopped and Toasted Walnuts. I toasted mine in the toaster oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes

Prepared Quinoa or Short Grain Brown Rice for serving

 

Marinade

3/4 C Olive Oil

1/2 C Organic Grade B Maple Syrup

1/4 C Rice Vinegar. I used Trader Joe’s Seasoned Rice Vinegar

1/4 C  Organic Soy Sauce. If you want this recipe to be gluten free, be sure to use gluten free soy sauce

1 tsp Jarred Crushed Garlic. You can use Fresh, 2 cloves, minced.

1+1/2 tsp Fresh Rosemary. I used fresh that I had previously frozen.

1 tsp Dried Thyme

1/2 – 1 tsp Cinnamon. I used 1 tsp

 

Optional

Sea Salt, Pepper, Agave. I added 1/8 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt and 1 tsp Agave. A dash of freshly ground Pepper.


 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

First drain tofu ~ While tofu is sitting and draining, make your marinade. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Keep in mind that roasting will bring out the sweet maple flavor and the salty flavor ends up a little more diluted. I added salt just in case.

Cube your tofu and add to the marinade, cover and refrigerate for about a half hour. Preferably longer.

Next, while the tofu is marinating, toast the walnuts and set aside. Peel the butternut squash. Be sure to use a good peeler to prevent an unnecessary headache. This is where  I grew frustrated in the past and would hesitate to make squash recipes. I recently found an awesome peeler called the Titan, that really does the trick! Cut the peeled squash in half lengthwise, clean and then cut into 1/2 inch cubes. The smaller the pieces the faster it will roast. You want bite size pieces for this dish.

When the marinade is ready, add the cubed squash, red onion and raisins to the tofu marinade and fold gently to coat everything. Be careful not to break apart your pretty tofu cubes. Once coated, transfer to a very shallow baking pan. I used a Jelly Roll pan. You can pour on every last drop of marinade or use a slotted spoon *see note below. Spread out evenly and put on middle rack of the preheated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes. Remove and carefully use a spatula to flip over as best as you can and put it back to roast for another 12-15 minutes.

When done roasting, transfer it all to a beautiful serving dish. Serve alone, over Quinoa or Brown Rice and top with the toasted walnuts for delicious added texture.

I divided my soy sauce in half with Bragg Liquid Aminos to reduce sodium.   You can use all Soy, all Braggs, Tamari, or Nama Shoyu or whatever you prefer. After all, cooking is your art.

*NOTE: You can make a side of Quinoa or Short Grain Brown Rice for this dish. Or it tastes great on it’s own. I added 1/4 cup more oil to equal 1 cup and made sure to use every last drop of marinade to roast this so I would have extra sauce to serve over brown rice, which gives an Asian feel or Quinoa for a modern comfort food feel. If you prefer to eat it alone, you may consider using a slotted spoon to lay it out on the roasting pan so it won’t end up too saucy or oily in the end.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Secret Cilantro Guacamole

So I’m thinking you need my secret guacamole recipe! Being the holiday weekend, you might be looking for a great dairy free appetizer. Most appetizers revolve around cheese… This is always my staple vegan, vegetarian and raw  (besides the chips) appetizer which is fun and festive! Friends ask me for this recipe all the time!.It reminds me of fresh table side guacamole at a very high end Mexican restaurant. I don’t prefer garlic or jalapeno’s in my guac but suit yourself. Add it after you try it my way!

Secret Cilantro Guacamole

Ingredients

2 large ripe avocados (preferably)  or 3 small

1/4 cup red onion

1/2 cup tomato

1/2 bunch of cilantro for 1 Tablespoon of specially prepared cilantro *see below

1 slice of lemon

1 slice of lime

1/2 tsp sea salt

Organic corn chips (I prefer blue corn)


The Secret is the Cilantro

Ok there’s nothing really secret about adding cilantro to guacamole folks. It’s how you add it! I have been trying to perfect my guacamole recipe for years and I finally have it down to a  science (for my taste… and it seems for everyone’s I serve it to) It started with these basic ingredients but included chopped cilantro. But when you dip your chip, you may or may not get a taste of chopped cilantro and in my opinion, the cilantro makes it! I got lazy one day and instead of chopping cilantro, I found these frozen cubes of cilantro from Trader Joe’s, thawed one or two  and added it! It was so amazing because the cilantro flavor was blended throughout the dip which means every bite tastes the same, delicious! However, I wanted to figure out how to make it organic, raw and as fresh as possible without those additives Trader Joe’s put in those frozen cubies… Here is what I came up with using my blender, which tastes even better (I have not tried the food processor).

Specially Prepared Cilantro

About 1 cup cilantro (the green leafy parts. You can cut and toss the stems) … give or take

About 1/2 cup water … give or take.

Put both ingredients in the blender and blend or pulse (you don’t need to do much)  it will be soupy, but should remain thick enough to be caught in a metal mesh strainer.  Strain and scoop a Tablespoon of the cilantro mixture to be added to the guac. If there is left over, don’t toss it just yet. You may desire to add more. I have not tried to freeze my own cubes of this mixture but it’s on my list. Let me know if you try it!


Putting it all together

Cut your avocados in half lengthwise around the seed and then remove. Squeeze out your avocados into a bowl.

Move on to chopping the red onion and tomato. I’m a sucker for infomercials! I love using the Vidalia Chop Wizard for this because the ingredients will be the same shape and size. Add this to the avocados in the bowl.

Cut the end off the lemon and lime. Cut one slice (about 1/4 inch) of each and remove the seeds. Squeeze the juice of each slice into the avocado mixture. One slice of each has worked for me, but thin slices! You can always add more.

Add 1 Tablespoon of the specially prepared cilantro mixture. Add 1/2 tsp of Sea salt and mash. Start with a potato masher and then switch to a spoon as to leave it a chunky texture. Taste with your chip. Depending on how salted or unsalted your chips may be, you may need to adjust the salt. Adjust if necessary, the lemon, lime and cilantro according to taste and then try not to eat the whole bowl!

I would love to hear your thoughts and reviews!


Enjoy!

The Karmatarian~

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Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad Over Red Quinoa with Cilantro Dressing

I made this new dish tonight that was very inspiring! You can enjoy this as an appetizer or main dish. Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, and this dish would be perfect for a party.

This dish was adapted and altered from the back of a Trader Joe’s Organic Red Quinoa box. Thank you Joe! The dressing recipe was altered from a Betty Crocker recipe I found. Thank you Betty! This could be served as a salad or as a main dish like I enjoyed it tonight. The warm red quinoa was amazing. This dish is beautiful, different and deliciously vegan!

Updated on 6/24/13 – to make life easier. I just made this dish again over the weekend and tweaked the measurements and rewrote the directions to make it simpler to follow. I am happy to report, this dish was a hit as usual!

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad Over Red Quinoa with Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup Red Quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth (above)
  • 1, 15 oz Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Cups Frozen Sweet Corn Kernels, thawed
  • 1 Avocado, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, finely diced
  • Zest of 1 Lime
  • 1/3 Cup Cilantro, chopped
  • Cilantro Dressing (recipe below)
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Chopped Cilantro for garnish – optional

Directions

Cook quinoa with broth according to package directions.

While quinoa is cooking, combine beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion, lime zest and cilantro. Add the Cilantro dressing (recipe below) and toss gently. Taste, and add sea salt as needed to bring out the flavors. It may not need much more. I added a little over 1 tsp more.

When quinoa is cooked, drizzle with olive oil, mix and spread evenly onto a large platter and top with the bean salad. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired. 

Cilantro Dressing

  • 1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Finely Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 – 3 tsp Agave Nectar

Place all the above ingredients into a container with tight fitting lid and shake. Taste and adjust.

Let the quinoa cool before topping it if serving as a salad, or top it and eat it warm right away! Mmmmm. Mmm


 

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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