Category Archives: Alyssa

Southwestern Mixed Vegetable Soup

 

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This soup is a great base soup that you can tinker with.  Very healthy.

Tomatillos
I personally felt it needed more spice or complex flavor, so I would recommend adding jalapeno if you like heat, or a teaspoon or two of chili powder.

Southwest Vegetable Soup Recipe

As with many soups, this one is quite tasty the next day and can be altered into something totally new.

With our leftovers, I made it into a fish stew.  I heated it up, add about 1/4 cup red wine (or use white), and added 2 fresh cod fillets, and more fresh pepper.  Very tasty.

 

Southwestern Vegetable Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

SERVES 4 

2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 dried chipotle chile (optional)
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cooked black beans
3 tomatillos, husked and cut into chunks
1 medium tomato, cored and roughly chopped
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, roughly chopped
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup or more chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut into rings (optional)

Put the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle, cumin, oregano, and some salt and peper and cook stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables along with some more salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are shiny, just a minute or so.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook until the vegetables are very tender (the potato will take the longest), 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve, garnished with the cilantro.

 

Thai Style Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

 
Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

Alyssa and I visited the Saigon Market at Findlay Market this past weekend.

At a traditional grocery store, you might be able to find a few stalks of lemongrass. Or maybe not.

But at this market, there's a whole cardboard box of lemongrass stalks.  And crazy fresh ginger.

 
Lemongrass Lime Chili

This soup was amazing. Lots of flavor.  But if someone in the family doesn't like some of those exotic flavors, cut them back a bit. Use 1/2 the amount of lemongrass and lime. 

 

Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

SERVES 6 

6-7 cups vegetable stock, water, or combination of the two
3 stalks lemongrass
2 Tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
grated zest of 1 lime
1 small hot fresh Thai chile, seeded, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup button or oyster mushrooms, chopped fine or sliced
1/2 cup snow peas, trimmed, or shelled peas (frozen ok)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
Juice of 1 lime
chopped fresh cilantro leave for garnish
12 oz box extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes (we used Mori Nu)
8 oz rice noodles (we used Erawan Brand medium size oriental style noodles) 

Heat a pan of water on medium-high heat for the rice noodles. Meanwhile, put the stock in a separate large saucepan over medium-high heat. Mince the core of one of the lemongrass stalks and add it; trim and bruise the other 2 lemongrass stalks, cut them into 2- or 3-inch lengths, and add them to the pot along with the soy sauce, lime zest, chile, black pepper, and sugar. Stir, then add the vegetables and tofu.

When the water for the noodles is boiling, add the rice noodles and cook to just a minute or two short of being cooked, according to package directions.  

Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add the lime juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more soy, lime, chile or pepper as you like.

Add the noodles to the soup, simmer another minute.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Vegan New Orleans Jambalaya with Smoked Tempeh and Brown Rice

Vegan Jambalaya
Vegan Jambalaya with Brown Rice Smoked Tempeh

This is the first recipe Alyssa and I have made from the cookbook she got me last June for my birthday, Big Vegan: More Than 350 Recipes No Meat/No Dairy All Delicious by Robin Asbell.
I was surprised at how good this tasted.  Maybe it was that "expectations" thing.  I didn't expect it to taste that great, and it really did.
We used the rice cooker to cook everything together in one pot, except for the last 2 ingredients, which you stir in at the end, just long enough to warm them up.
Some of the family didn't care for the smoked tempeh.  This would be easy to fix because you stir in the Fakin Bacon at the end.  So you could stir in another meat or meat substitute for those that want something else.
New Orleans Jambalaya with Smoked Tempeh and Brown Rice
Compliments of JennaDish
from Big Vegan by Robin Asbell
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium green bell, chopped
6 large scallions, white and green parts chopped separately
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large jalapeno, chopped
1 large bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dired thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 cups vegetable stock (I used unsalted)
1 cup long-grain brown rice (rinse first)
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz smoked tempeh Fakin' Bacon, chopped into 1" pieces
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes 
(see below if using Rice Cooker to cook the whole dish)
1. Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add both bell peppers, the whites of the scallions, the celery, jalapeno, and bay leaf. Saute until the vegetables are softened.  Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and basil and stir briefly, then add the stock and bring it to a boil.  Add the rice and salt and bring to a simmer, then cover tightly and cook on very low heat until all the liquids are absorbed and the rice is tender, 35 to 45 mintues.
RICE COOKER Version: Place all the ingredients, except the tempeh and tomatoes (and green part of scallions) and turn your cooker on for brown rice.  When finished, open the lid carefully and follow step #2.
2. Fold in the tempeh and tomatoes and let stand, covered, to steam the rice and warm the tempeh and tomatoes through, about 5 minutes. Serve topped with the remaining chopped scallion greens.

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs

6-Week Vegan Challenge

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs

Well, I really liked these beanballs but, full disclosure, the rest of the fam did not.

Nuff said. 

They taste like bean veggie burgers, only in the form of a ball.  I guess some people need a bun and ketchup to hide the fact they they are eating more healthful food.

Black-Eyed Pea Tempeh Beanballs

So I ate my 3 balls and the rest are in the freezer, all for me, me, me.  I think I'll make a "meat"ball sub.

Try them if you can handle BEANS and SOY and only 170 calories, 8g fiber, 2.5g fat, 10g protein, 260 mg sodium, no cholesterol, 35% daily Vitamin A, 15% daily Calcium, and 8% daily Iron.

 

Black-Eyed Pea & Tempeh Beanballs
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

MAKES 20 BEANBALLS, 3 PER SERVING

12 ounces tempeh
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt

First, prepare a steamer to steam the tempeh.  When ready, break tempeh into bite size pieces and steam for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350oF and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, use a fork or similar to mash the beans.  They should be well mashed, with no whole beans left, but not completely smooth like a puree.  Mince well the garlic cloves.  Add the herbs and spices, soy sauce, tomato paste, and balsamic vinegar, and mix well.

When the tempeh is ready, add it to the mixture and mash well. It's ok if it's still hot when mixing, it will help meld the flavors. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, add the bread crumbs and salt. Taste for salt.  If the taste is bitter, don't worry, it will mellow out when baked.

Using about 2 Tablespoons per ball, roll the miexture into walnut-size balls, placing them on the baking pan.  Spray with an ample amount of nonstick cooking spray and cover loosely with aluminum foil.  Bake for 15 minutes, flip the balls, and bake for 10 minutes, uncovered.

Blackened Tofu

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Broiled Blackened Tofu
Alyssa made us some healthy, broiled, blackened tofu.  She worked very hard to put a nice, individualized, tofu salad together for each of us.

Allen is "not a tofu person" and Jill is very particular about textures.  But even they cleaned their plates.

Spinach Salad with Blackened Tofu
Mine was a spinach salad with tofu, pecans, dried craisins and homemade Italian salad dressing.  I, too, was a member of the clean plate club.  We also had a pile of fruit.  I felt pleasantly full when finished. And the tofu had this to offer per serving:

100 calories, 7g fat, 5g carb, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 9g protein, 0mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 15% daily Vitamin A, 20% daily Calcium and 15% daily Iron.

 

Broiled Blackened Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

SERVES 4

SPICE BLEND:
2 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced

EVERYTHING ELSE:
1 block tofu (about 14 ounces, pressed or not), sliced into 8 equal pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce (wheat-free tamari keeps this dish gluten free)

In a shallow dish, mix the spice blend and set aside.

Adjust the oven shelf to be 6" under the broiler.  Preheat the oven to broil.  Spray a bakingsheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Poke each slice of tofu iwth a fork three or four times, to let the flavors seep in.

Put the olive oil and soy sauce in a small bowl.  Dip each piece in the oil mixture then lightly dredge each side in the dry mixture.  Place in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray.  Broil for about 12 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Watch closely as to not let it burn. When done, it should look dark all over and black in some spots.  

 

Vegan Scallion Potato Pancakes

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Vegan Scallion Potato Pancakes

These baked potato pancakes that Alyssa put together are so tasty. They are from Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  And here's what you get per serving of 2 pancakes:

180 calories, 2.5g fat (no saturated or trans fats), 35g carbs, 4g fiber, 2g sugars, 5g protein, no cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 60% daily Vitamin C, 8% daily Iron

Nice.  I had them with corn on the cob and a veggie burger with barbecue sauce on it, and kale chips.

Next time I make these, I will pan-fry them with as little olive oil as I can get away with.  I like mine more dark and crunchy.

And I am definitely taking my allotted two potato pancakes and making a sandwich out of them – with the p. pancakes playing the role of the buns.  Something with mustard or apples or sweet potatoes or squash.  There's a recipe in my vegan cookbook for Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples.  Bingo!

I'll have to try that in the future and update this post.

Scallion Potato Pancakes
Compliments of JennaDish

MAKES 6 SERVINGS, 2 PANCAKES PER SERVING

from Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled ad cut into 3/4" pieces
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (from one bunch – greens parts only)
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Breading:
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425o F.  

Boil the potatoes, lowering the heat to a simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain, running cold water over the potatoes and tossing to cool quickly. Let sit a few minutes if necessary.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, add potatoes, scallions, sesame oil, salt and black pepper and mash well until there are no large potato chunks left.  Add the panko and mix well.

Mix together the breading ingredients on a large plate or shallow bowl. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter and roll into a ball and then flattening it into a pancake about 4" in diameter.  Press it firmly into the breading mixture, then transfer to the baking sheets.  Spray pancakes lightly with cooking spray and place in oven to bake for 12 minutes with racks place in the center of the oven. Remove from oven, flip each pancake, and spray the pancakes on the other side.  Rotate the baking sheets and bake for another 8 minutes.  

 

Vegan: “Creamy” Zucchini and Basil Soup

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Vegan Creamy Zucchini Basil Soup

 

When it's vegan, is it Kreamy or "Creamy" or just plain Creamy, with an explanation to follow?

 

Creamy Zucchini Basil Soup
This is a question that has been plaguing our family for … centuries, decades, 5 minutes now.

What amazes me about this soup is that everyone in our family really liked it.  Even the non-vegan, even the picky, even the manly man, even the nut-hater.  Even after Alyssa explained it had nutritional YEAST in it.  No one was deterred.

Crazy.

Thank you to the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen's website of massive recipes to help us with our 6-Week Vegan Challenge.

Watermelon

If it's summer………..SERVE WITH WATERMELON!!  (It will break up the greenness)

 

Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/09/creamy-zucchini-and-basil-soup.html  

2 pounds zucchini (about 5 small to medium)
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups vegetable broth (we used Kitchen Basics Unsalted Vegetable Stock)
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
3 tablespoons raw cashews
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
salt & pepper, to taste

Set aside one of the zucchini; trim and coarsely chop the rest. (We skipped this part.)

Cook onion in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chopped zucchini, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.

Pour into a blender (in 2 batches, if necessary) taking care to avoid burns by not filling the blender more than halfway. Add the basil, cashews, and nutritional yeast and blend until smooth.

Return soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm. Shred the remaining zucchini with a spiral slicer, mandolin, or grater. Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle grated zucchini over top.

Nutrition Facts (according to FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

Nutrition (per serving): 128 calories, 56 calories from fat, 6.7g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 437.6mg sodium, 542.3mg potassium, 14.2g carbohydrates, 2.7g fiber, 4.5g sugar, 6.3g protein, 2.6 points.

Vegan: Nutty Crunchy Veggie Burger

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Nutty Veggie Burger with Onion Rings
Nutty Veggie Burger
After the last veggie burger turned out a little more soft than Alyssa liked, she went on a search for something a bit more chunky.  Less beans, more variety, more dense, firm but not dry.

In comes a nice recipe from Whitewater Cooks by Shelley Adams, which needs to be altered slightly to be vegan-friendly, plus we didn't need 12 burgers, so a reduction in servings was needed!

Alyssa also made ONION RINGS to go with it! …. That post to come.

So, do you bake these or fry them?

To bake or to fry?  That used to be the question.  Now, not so much.  There was a recently published study that followed people who fried their food and those who didn't, and there was no noticable difference in their health.  Not to say you can fry everything, have fried chicken for breakfast, deep fry your veggies, etc.  I translate the study (link below) to say, 'hey, if you want to saute the following veggie burgers in a little healthy oil, go for it!'  But we baked this time.

Download Bmj.e363.full

Nutty Crunchy Veggie Burger
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Whitewater Cooks by Shelley Adams

Bake or fry.  You choose!  

MAKES SIX 5-OUNCE BURGERS

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
   3 vegan eggs =
   3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
   1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon water
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (or regular dried is fine) 
1 cup low-sodium black beans, drained and pureed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup sunflower seed, toasted
1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs (we used 3 slices sprouted wheat bread)
1 cup oat flour
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup finely grated carrot
    if frying:
flour for dredging
olive oil or canola oil for frying

Preheat oven to 350o if baking.  In a non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. 

Meanwhile mix the vegan eggs in a small bowl by stirring together the ground flaxseed and water.

Saute onions and garlic until softened and starting to brown.  Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add the cumin, chili powder and oregano to the onions and mix well.

In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients through the grated carrot, including the onion mixture.  Now add most of the vegan eggs (flaxseed mixture), leaving a tablespoon or less, and try to make a tightly formed ball or patty.  If it needs more egg mixture add the rest.  

To bake, place on a foil-lined baking sheet, sprayed lightly with cooking spray. 

Bake 15 minutes, then flip and bake another 10 minutes or until heated through.

HELPFUL HINTS BELOW:

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Finely grate the carrot with a cheese grater, if you have one. 

Vegan Eggs- Ground Flaxseed and Water
This is the mixture of ground flaxseed and water, which is used widely in vegan cooking as an egg replacer.  Once you mix it, let is sit a few minutes to thicken.

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If you don't have oat flour, grind your own.  Take old fashioned oats and grind them in a small food processor.  It should look like flour when your finished, but for this recipe you don't have to grind to a fine flour.  Some pieces in it is fine.

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You can learn how to Make Your Own Chili Powder, which has a fresher, deeper flavor.

Vegan: How to Make Sauteed Vegetables with Italian Herbs

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Considering that I'm trying to be at least 90% vegan (well, no dairy/no meat) to support my daughter, Alyssa, for the next 6 weeks or so, I need to eat veggies, plus it doesn't hurt to use things up in the fridge…

Over the last few weeks, I've made sauteed vegetables and potatoes three times.  Here are three versions of a dish that seems like they are all the same, but depending on the amount of veggies and potatoes, the spices, and the cooking method, can taste quite different.

Sauteed Potatoes Veggies
Sauteed Potatoes and Veggies
The above (2 photos, same dish) was made with the following ingredients and method, enough for 3 people:

Olive oil, as needed
1 large zucchini, diced small
1 stalk celery, chopped small
1/2 – 1 red pepper, chopped small
1/2 onion, chopped small
oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme sprig (optional)
9 new potatoes, boiled until tender, mostly peeled, cut in large chunks
Non-Dairy Basil pesto (1 cup basil leaves, 1-2 Tbsp pine nuts, olive oil, ground)
(feta cheese for your dairy eating loved ones)

In oiled cast iron skillet over medium heat, throw in the first 4 veggies & the 6 spices/herb. 
Cover and let the veggies cook without stirring, about 10 minutes, then turn and toss until tender.
Dump the veggies in a bowl and set aside.
Using more oil, throw in the pre-cooked potatoes, turn up the heat to medium high, and do the same – let cook while still, then flip and toss until mostly browned.  When about done, throw in pesto and toss to coat evenly. Quickly remove pan from heat.

Place potatoes in bowls, throw earlier veggies back in the pan to quickly stir and reheat.
Spoon the soft veggies over the potatoes.
Sprinkle feta on the dish of anyone who prefers their cheese, please.

Potato Onion Pepper Saute

The saute above is made up of new potatoes, red onions, tomatoes from my porch plant, green beans, poblano peppers, herbs de provence, and some fresh ground pepper.

 

Potato Zucchini Tomato Onion Saute
This one had quite a different taste.  Better I would say.  Even Alyssa nearly raved about it and she's not a big veggie eater.  The ingredients for this one in order of the cooking process:  olive oil, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, zucchini coins, chopped poblano pepper, onion sliced thin to cook faster, a previously baked potato cubed, tomatoes cut about 1" pieces.

 

HOW TO MAKE A POTATO VEGGIE SAUTE
Compliments of JennaDish

Look in your fridge and see what veggies you have, and decide how much you want to make and how big of a pan you have to accommodate the stinkers.

Let's say you are cooking for yourself but you may as well make enough for leftovers tomorrow.  For two people I cooked the following:

olive oil
big pinch red pepper flakes
1 big clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 zucchini, cut into 1/8" to 1/4" coins
1 red onion, cut in half then sliced thin
1 whole baked potato, cubed to 1" pieces
1/2 to 1 poblano (or green or red) pepper, cut into small 1/2" pieces 
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half, or a whole tomato or two cut to 1" pieces
fresh basil, optional

That would defintely feed two, expecially if you are having something else like bread.  But you could throw in a little more just to make sure.  Use a 10" or 12" pan for this much so you have tossing room.

Have everything chopped and ready to go.  The French call this Mise en Place (pronounced miz on plas) which basically means put in place.

Layer flavors.

Start with a non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet on medium heat.  

Add olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons to start.  Let it get warmed up about 2-3 minutes.

Throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes.  If it sizzles and seems it will burn, turn the heat down a bit and lift the skillet to quickly reduce the heat and stop the food from burning.  You don't need to cook red pepper flakes, you just want to heat it enough to bring out the flavor of the spice and to meld it with the oil.  So 20 seconds or so.  

Make sure your heat is under control now.  Not so low that it does nothing, and not too hot.  Then, immediately put in the minced garlic.  Same general idea – pieces are very small and delicate so it will burn quickly.  Stir around until it seems it's starting to become golden but before it burns, for Pete's sake.  Add a little more olive oil if you need it.  That will also help it to cool down briefly.

Now toss in the zucchini and stir around for 4 minutes or so until they are really softening up and starting to brown.  Now add small-cut peppers, stir a minute or two, then throw in the onion and keep tossing every minute or so.  Let things start to caramelize.  Once you get all the veggies about 2 minutes away from being the way you like them, throw in the potatoes which just need to heat through another 2-4 minutes.  Then add your tomatoes and heat through a couple minutes.

The whole idea here is to start with aromatics, meld and layer flavors, then start adding vegetables starting with those that will take the longest.  You also decide what to put in next based on how much you want something cooked.  For example, I only want the tomatoes heated up, so I put those in last.

Remove from heat and divvy up some veggies on your plate.  You can add fresh, torn basil if you like.

Yer done.

 

 

 

 

Vegan: Tuscan White Bean Burgers

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Tuscan White Bean Burger
The thing about healthy food, unless it's a plate of bright veggies or fruit, the photos can be a little on the boring side.

But this ugly duckling bean burger is a tasty mixture of cannellini (navy) beans, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, fresh sage leaves and Kalamata olives (which I skipped this time). So it's big on flavor.

And I put a big ol' roasted red pepper on it and some English mustard.  Yum.

I put this veggie burger together for Alyssa, who has decided to challenge herself to eat as a vegan for six weeks.

Meet Alyssa …

IMG_3089
Proud Meat Eater.

IMG_3090
But here it is a year after this photo was taken and she just wants to try a challenge that forces her to eat healthier.  As a vegan, you'd better like more than 3 vegetables, you'll need to tolerate beans, grains, and nuts, and eat alternatives to milk and cheese.  Maybe even eat some tofu, although not absolutely necessary.

Besides getting used to these healthier foods, something else that Alyssa finds challenging is soft, grainy, or mushy foods.  So although she loved the flavor of this White Bean Burger, it was softer than she liked. It was slightly softer than a crab cake.  I told her to put some potato chips on it for crunch.  

I personally wolfed it down and wished I had another.  

I have agreed to go vegan along with Alyssa, as much as possible. That means I'll still have my healthy Greek yogurt some mornings.  And maybe an egg sammie on the weekend. But no meat.

Here's the recipe…

 

Tuscan White Bean Burgers
Compliment of JennaDish

To help with timing, you can make the whole bean burger mixture the evening before, so you can come home and form the burgers and cook them quickly.  These make smallish burgers, smaller than most buns, so I'd double the recipe if you are feeding four, unless you have a filling side.

MAKES 4 SMALL TO MEDIUM PATTIES

from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas Volger

1 onion, peeled
4 Tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 head garlic
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (cannellini or navy – I used a 15 oz. can) 
1 egg (I used powdered Ener-G Egg Replacer to respect our temporary veganism)
3 fresh sage leaves, minced
1/2 cup sliced, pitted Kalamata olives (I left them out this time)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs, or more if needed (I used Panko bread crumbs)
Salt
Fresh ground pepper

1. Caramelize the onions: Cut the onion in half through the stem and then slice into 1/8"-thick half-rings. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium-low heat and add the onion, turning to coat.  Cook slowly, stirring occasionally and lowering the heat if the onion begins to burn, until caramelized, about 30 minutes.  Cool.

2. Meanwhile, roast the garlic.  There are many methods, but I prefer this one: Break the head of garlic into cloves and clean off most of the papery skins. Toss the cloves in 1/2 teaspoon of the oil and spread out on a small baking sheet (a toaster oven works great for this).  Roast at 300oF for 25 to 30 minutes (mine took less time), shaking the pan and stirring the cloves around frequently until the largest clove can be pierces effortlessly with a knife.  Cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 375oF.  

4. In a food processor, puree 1/2 cup of the beans with half the roasted garlic, half the caramelized onion, the egg, and half the sage.

5. Chop the remaining onion and roasted garlic coarsely and place in a mixing bowl.  Add the remaining beans and coarsely mash with a potato masher.  Fold in the pureed bean-egg(replacer) mixture, remaining sage, the olives, and lemon juice.  Fold in the bread crumbs, adding more if necessary- just until the mixture begins to pull from the side of the bowl (it will be a wet mixture). Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Shape into 4 patties.