Lentil and oat soup

This soup features what is perhaps an odd combination of lentils and oats. I had planned to make a simple lentil soup, but I came across a small bag of oat groats that I had received as a sample, and decided to toss them in the soup. I had no idea what to expect, but this sums up my approach to cooking: Experiment, enjoy, and learn from the results. The picture is not good, as it was taken while the soup was cooking. I didn’t take one of the finished product, but it thickened nicely. Measurements, as always, are approximate, since I never actually measure anything when I cook.

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Ingredients

2 cups dried green lentils

Enough vegetable stock to cover the lentils. I make my own stock, but use what you have.

Chopped broccoli

Diced carrots

I cup oat groats

Crushed tomatoes. I used half a 280z tin.

Thyme and sage

Salt to taste (and pepper, if you like it)

Ras el hanout spice mix. If you don’t have this, you can add some cumin, ginger, and cayenne).

Preparation

Bring to a boil, the simmer until the lentils and oat groats are tender. The soup will thicken, so add some water, if needed.

 

 

Penne with cabbage and collard greens

This is a rather weird combination of ingredients, perhaps, but it works. Like most of my recipes, it’s based upon what I need to clear out of my fridge. In this case, I had some collard greens that were starting to wilt. I always have cabbage in my fridge, as it’s one of my favourite vegetables. I needed to use up some vegan sour cream, as well.

penne

Ingredients

  • Thinly-sliced green cabbage
  • Diced collard greens
  • Diced shallots
  • Diced garlic
  • Sliced shitake mushrooms
  • Sweet corn (I used frozen)
  • Vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Penne
  1. Steam the cabbage, collard greens, and corn  (if using frozen), until tender.
  2. While the penne are cooking, saute the shallots until transparent, then add the mushrooms and garlic.
  3. Add the steamed vegetables to the shallots and mushrooms. Season to taste.
  4. Add sour cream to the vegetable mixture until heated. If necessary, add a little soy milk to thin.
  5. Toss the sour cream sauce with the penne.

I don’t like my food spicy, but if you do, some chili or hot peppers would work well.

 

Roasted butternut squash with sage

I love winter squashes, preferably roasted. Tonight I used butternut squash, which has a lot of flesh, and is thus a good candidate for roasting. I brushed each half of the squash with a combination of olive oil, sage, minced onion, garlic powder, and salt. After roasting at 400 for thirty minutes, I filled the cavity with sweet corn, then roasted for another thirty minutes or so. I served the squash with steamed rice and kale. Delicious.

 

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Roasted cherry tomato and vegan cream cheese pasta

I had intended to make a simply pasta sauce with roasted cherry tomatoes but, as usually happens with me, I added some other ingredients at the last minute based on what I had in the fridge. Serendipitous cooking is always so much fun, and I’ve been doing it long enough to know that it rarely fails. The ingredients below were for a single serving, so modify as necessary. As always, measurements are approximate.

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Ingredients

  • Pasta of your choice. I used spaghetti this time, but most types would work.
  • Cherry tomatoes. You could  use regular tomatoes, but I like the sweetness of cherry tomatoes. I used about 2 cups, cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • Olives.  I used large pitted green olives this time, but use whatever types you like.
  • Green onions, diced
  • Fresh peas (frozen if fresh are out of season). I used up what I had in the fridge, which came out to about 1 cup.
  • Cream cheese. I had a container of Daiya chives and onion vegan cream cheese. I used two tablespoons.
  • Soy milk, as necessary, to thin the sauce.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half. Toss in olive oil and salt, and roast at 400F until they are soft and lightly charred.
  2. As the pasta cooks, saute the green onions, sliced olives, and fresh peas in olive oil. I don’t steam the fresh peas in advance, as I prefer to retain their natural sweetness and bite.
  3. Add the roasted tomatoes to the onion mix. Add the cream cheese, and mix well. I needed to add a touch of soy milk to thin the sauce. Do NOT use almond or coconut milk, as their flavour simply will not work in the sauce.
  4. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and mix well.

 

Tofu pot pie

I didn’t take a photograph of the finished dish, for some reason, but I have in-process pictures that I’ll use instead. I used frozen peas, corn, and carrots for this recipe, as I wanted it to be quick and easy, but by all means use fresh if you like. I don’t tend to use fresh peas for baked recipes, as it seems a waste of the tender taste of the fresh version, especially since they will be covered in gravy.

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Ingredients

  • 2 vegetable pastry shells.  You can make your own, but I bought them prepared.
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups corn (I thawed from frozen)
  • 2 cups peas and carrot mix (I thawed from frozen)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Gravy

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
  • soy sauce to taste
  • gravy browning
  • onion powder to taste
  • garlic powder totaste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preparation

  • Saute the onions in olive oil until softened.  Add the remaining vegetables and season to taste.
  • In a blender, add the gravy ingredients and mix well.  Use enough gravy browning to ensure a nice deep colour.
  • Cook the gravy over medium heat until it thickens.
  • Mix enough gravy into the vegetable mix to coat thoroughly.
  • Place the vegetable mixture in the bottom pie shell, and cover with the second. Cut some air vents into the top.
  • Bake at 400 until browned

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Lentil, mushroom, and spinach shepherd’s pie

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Ingredients

  • I cup dried lentils
  • Mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh spinach
  • Soy or tamari sauce
  • Vegetable broth
  • Tomato paste
  • Cornstarch
  • Potatoes
  • Soy milk
  • Vegan margarine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Thyme and oregano

Procedure

I made this a while ago, so I can’t remember the amounts of the ingredients used, so you will need to use your own judgement.

  • Cook the lentils.  You can use tinned, but I always prefer to cook from dry
  • Saute the mushrooms in olive oil
  • Add the lentils and spinach and saute until the latter is wilted
  • Add 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • Add enough broth to just cover the vegetables.  You don’t want the mixture to be runny.  Add soy or tamari to taste.
  • Add enough cornstarch to thicken the mixture. I always start with 1 tablespoon dissolved in a little water, which I add gradually to the mixture.  Adjust as necessary
  • Season to taste with herbs and spices
  • Peel and dice the potatoes and boil until tender.  The potatoes will form the top, so use enough to allow a thick layer.  Mash with soy milk and margarine and season to taste
  • Place vegetable mixture in a casserole and cover with the mashed potatoes
  • Back at 350 until the potatoes are browned.

Red beans and rice

I first had red beans and rice in New Orleans. I love legumes, and this is an easy and nutritious meal to prepare. My version is not spicy, as I don’t have a high tolerance for spicy foods, but you can always add as much heat as you like, e.g., cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and so forth.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups cooked red kidney beans. I cook mine from dry, but tinned are fine.
  • 28 oz. tin of tomatoes. I used only half the tin. I  use peeled San Marzano tomatoes, as they are far tastier than the standard tinned variety.
  • I sweet pepper, finely chopped. I used a red one for the colour
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Saute the onions and peppers. Add the garlic when the vegetables have softenened.
  2. In a blender or food processor (I used my Vitamix), chop half the beans and the tinned tomatoes (remember use only half a tin).
  3. Add the blended beans, the remaining whole beans, and the herbs and salt to the cooked vegetables.
  4. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes.  Stir often, as the mixture will thicken and might stick to the pot.

20160526_145949Serve over warm cooked rice.  I used brown.

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