Category Archives: Vegan

Pickled Banana Peppers

pickled peppers blog

‘Tis the time of year where canning and pickling is on every gardener’s mind. While my garden is not having its best year ever (my pepper plants are just now starting to produce), I’m still benefiting from others’ surplus.

A friend of ours gave us a large amount of various peppers – namely Santa Fe and banana – a number of weeks ago. While I cook and make a lot of salsas using hotter peppers, and I eat a fair number of sweet bell peppers raw, I don’t have much experience with peppers with just a little heat. However, I love pickled peppers on sandwiches, so I figured I’d try my hand at making some.

I opted for the easy route; I made refrigerator pickles. Something I didn’t have to process and make shelf-stable. I don’t mind doing that (and have several times, with jams and salsa), but I prefer a crispier pickle sometimes, and in this instance, the crunch from the pickled peppers was delightful.

Of course, I was so excited about these, that all I did was snap a quick shot to share on Instagram, and then I proceeded to give one jar away. Then I dug into the other jar before I realized that I hadn’t taken my fancy-schmancy photo. So you’ll have to live with my iPhone shot above. You’ll forgive me, won’t you?

Truthfully, you can use this recipe to pickle all sorts of peppers. The subtle sweetness and the combination of the coriander and black peppercorns will make all kinds of peppers taste delicious, especially after a week or two in the fridge. Mine were perfect last night on a salad, and I have a date with a sandwich later this week, and I’m sure these peppers will make an appearance there, too!

What are your favorite things to pickle?

Print Recipe

Pickled Banana Peppers (gluten-free, vegan)

4-5 c banana peppers, cleaned

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed

1 1/2 c distilled white vinegar

1 1/2 c water

2 T black peppercorns

2 T coriander seeds

2 T kosher salt

2 T granulated sugar

Slice all of the peppers into rings about 1/4 inch thick. Knock out the seeds in the slices. Pack all of the pepper slices into a 1-quart jar or two pint-sized jars. Place the garlic cloves in the jar(s) as well.

Bring the vinegar, water, peppercorns, coriander seeds, salt and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the brine over the peppers and seal the jar. Allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for a few days before eating, and then enjoy within 1 month.

Makes 1 quart of pickled peppers.

Quinoa, Mushroom and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

stuffed squash blog

Okay, I know that my previous post was a zucchini recipe, and here we are with yet another variation on summer squash. It’s kind of everywhere at the moment, and I couldn’t pass up these absolutely adorable little sunburst patty pan squash at the farmer’s market this past weekend.

I mean really, aren’t they the sweetest?

They’re remarkably delicious when stuffed as well. They make an awesome side dish, but could just as easily work as a meatless main course. Just prepare a few handy, fresh veggies in a skillet for a few minutes, add a grain, maybe some cheese, stuff and bake. It’s also a great way to use up bits of veggies that are in need of eating before they make a turn for the worse. That’s how this particular mix of veggies happened, anyway – and it was delicious!

Now typically, I would be showering you with all sorts of summer desserts. I’m sure I’ll manage a few here and there, but I’ve been directing my attention to something else entirely as of late. You see, I’m working on my very first ebook! In this book, I’m sharing some simple-but-delicious gum-free, gluten-free baked goods recipes. So if you’ve wanted an excellent go-to recipe for waffles, bread, muffins, or cake, I’m hoping this book will be your #1 reference!

I hope to have it out to you in August, so stay tuned for more information! I’ll be announcing details in my newsletter, so subscribe today if you haven’t already!

Okay, back to these adorable squash. Truthfully, you can use any vegetables in the stuffing mixture that your heart desires. Peas, green onion, red bell pepper, spinach – all would be great here. The key is to make sure they’re chopped finely and cooked beforehand (a few minutes in a skillet will do the trick). I loved the addition of cotija cheese in mine, but Parmesan or feta would be nice as well. It’s one of those “anything goes” recipes that I’m sure you’ll adore during the summer season.

Print Recipe

Quinoa, Mushroom, and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

About 6 small patty pan squash

1 T olive oil (plus more for the insides of the squash)

2 T minced onion

2 oz crimini mushrooms, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used lacinato, but any variety will work)

1/3 c crumbled cotija cheese (omit for vegan)

2 T chopped fresh parsley

3/4 c cooked quinoa

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the squash to make a hat. Carefully score a circle inside the cut squash, and using a small spoon, scoop out the inside flesh. Leave about a half-inch inside. Rub the insides of the squash with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the squash on a lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the rest of the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion and mushroom and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add the garlic and kale and sauté for another minute or until the kale has wilted some and is bright green. Remove from heat and add the cheese, if using, parsley, and the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in.

Spoon the stuffing into the prepared squash, packing rather tightly. (You’ll likely have leftover stuffing; if so, it’s delicious on its own.) Place the “hat” back on top of each squash, and place them in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Serve.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish, 2 as a light meal.

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano

pickled blog

Beets have made plenty of appearances here before. I love them. They’re gorgeous, for starters. Most are an unbelievably intense red, but some varieties are golden, or even striped like candy canes. How could it not be love at first sight? But beyond their good looks, they’re deliciously sweet and earthy. I enjoy them raw, steamed, in salads, roasted, in soups, in dips, or even in desserts. But I also love them pickled.

However, sometimes I think about having such things way too late. The other night, when preparing dinner, it occurred to me that I wanted pickled beets. But typically, making any type of pickle takes advance time. But this version doesn’t. Once you steam the beets, you simply pour over a vinaigrette and serve immediately. Of course, you can store the rest in the refrigerator for a week or more, and they stay just as delicious. I’ve enjoyed having a few slices along with all sorts of meals. They bring a happy brightness that just screams of fresh spring/summer produce.

So if you have a bunch of beets and are wondering what to do with them, why not try making some quick pickles? Eat them as a side dish, as a condiment, or on a salad – any of those options sound delicious to me!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy beets?

Print Recipe

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano (gluten-free, vegan)

About 6 medium beets, stems trimmed to about an inch

1/3 c apple cider vinegar

1/4 c olive oil

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper

1 small Serrano chile, sliced thin

Place beets in a large pot and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low boil. Allow to cook until the beets are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to touch. Peel the beets. This ought to be fairly easily and can be done with your hands – the peels should slip right off. (If you don’t wish to dye your hands pink, you can wear plastic gloves for this) Slice the beets into 1/4 inch slices and place in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the Serrano chile to the beets, and then pour over this dressing. Toss the beets to coat completely.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.

 

 

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing

zucchini ribbon salad fg

It’s that time of year around here – time for everyone to unload their massive bounty of zucchini and summer squash upon their friends, family, and neighbors! Everyone except me, that is.

You see, as soon as I plant any squash plant, every squash bug within a 10-mile radius comes to visit. It’s insanity. I’ve tried every organic deterrent that’s been suggested to me, from squishing them on the plant, cayenne pepper, soap and vinegar, diatomaceous earth, sticky traps. They’ve all failed. I even spent last summer with a shop-vac, vacuuming up squash bugs. There were just SO. MANY. BUGS. attacking one plant, and I was afraid if I pulled the plant, they’d go on to attack my melons and cucumbers. So while I’m not proud of being the girl that sucks up bugs in a vacuum, I’m just being honest – I feel like I’ve tried everything. I can’t win the war against squash bugs.

So until I come up with a solution that works, I’ll allow others to grow zucchini and squash, and I’ll gladly take donations. One friend donated a sizeable amount of zucchini and peppers the other day, so I’ve been coming up with ways to consume it all (and not resort to just making zucchini bread, as much as I love it). One night, as I was preparing tacos for dinner, I opted to use some of the same flavors and make a little zucchini salad to go along with them.

The beauty in this salad is that it’s simple and takes just a few minutes to throw together. It’s fresh, and the zucchini ribbons are tender and tasty, especially as they start to absorb the citrusy notes from the lime and the touch of heat from the Serrano chile. It’s easy to eat the entire salad by yourself. (Not that I would know or anything…*cough cough*)

If you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden, or if you were one of the fortunate recipients of zucchini (or even if you avoided all of this insanity and purchased some!), this salad is a great way to use it up and please your palate.

Print Recipe

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing (gluten-free, vegan)

1 large zucchini or several small zucchini

8-10 small cherry tomatoes, halved

Small handful of pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

2 T lime juice (from 1 large lime)

1/2 t lime zest

1 t minced fresh Serrano chile, seeds removed (can substitute jalapeno)

2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel long “ribbons” from the zucchini, lengthwise, until you hit the seeds. Rotate the zucchini and do this all the way around. Place ribbons in a medium bowl along with the tomatoes, pepitas and cilantro.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, Serrano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the salad in the dressing and serve.

Serves 2 (or one hungry person).

Sparkling Peach Lemonade

peach lemonade blog

THE PEACHES ARE HERE! THE PEACHES ARE HERE!

Peach season is my absolute favorite. A ripe, fresh peach, perfectly ripe, is the definition of heaven. From the gentle fuzz to the intoxicating aroma to the insanely juicy first bite that drips down your face, peaches are hands-down the best part of summer. So when I visited the farmer’s market this past Saturday and found the first locally grown early peaches, I was ecstatic. I bought a reasonable amount this weekend, but mark my words: I will buy an insane amount of peaches before the season is over.

Most will end up straight in my belly. (I’ve even been known to dig into one in the car on the way home from the market – whether that means I have no shame, or just that I shouldn’t wait for something so delicious, I’m not sure, but I’m going with the latter.) But some will hopefully end up in new, delicious summer recipes, like this one.

I was hoping for something refreshing. It’s warming up this week, and it’s humid, so a lemonade seems just perfect. The addition of peaches means that this lemonade is sweeter, but it’s certainly not sticky. The balance of fresh flavors and the sweet peaches means this is a welcome beverage to accompany an evening sitting on the porch, or out by the pool. It’s kid-friendly, but if you want to make it more of an adult beverage, I have no doubt a few ounces of white rum would be right at home here.

As soon as you find some summer peaches near you, though, I highly recommend you snatch them up. The season comes and goes all too quickly, and this lemonade needs to be on your short list of peach-related treats. Hope you enjoy!

Print Recipe

Sparkling Peach Lemonade (gluten-free, vegan)

1 c water

1/2 c sugar

1 T grated lemon zest

2 large peaches, roughly chopped

1/3 c fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 c cold sparkling water or club soda

Peach slices, lemon slices, and mint sprigs for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, and peaches. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice.

Puree mixture in a blender, and strain in a fine-meshed strainer placed over a bowl, making sure to press the solids to squeeze all that delicious flavor into the juice. Chill the juice thoroughly for several hours.

Pour the juice and sparkling water into a pitcher and add the peach slices, lemon slices, and mint. Serve well-chilled over ice.

Makes about 4 servings.

Strawberry-Coconut Butter Cups

strawberry coconut choc cups blog

After you’ve made a batch of strawberry-coconut butter and have spread it on all the things (biscuits, toast, your finger…), maybe it’s time to take that next step with what’s left. If there’s any left, that is.

Which makes me think that maybe, you ought to make these before you get to spreading it and spooning it straight into your mouth, just so you can make sure you have enough. But either way, these are definitely a natural next level of deliciousness. They’re also perfect for gifts. After all, who doesn’t like chocolate?

Making your own candy might seem difficult, but I promise you, these are simple. If you wish, you can skip tempering the chocolate, like I did this time around, and make them refrigerator-only treats. But for gifts, tempering only takes an extra step or two (I describe how to do so here) and turns your chocolates into something professional-looking. But essentially, you melt chocolate, paint the inside of a chocolate mold, fill with the strawberry-coconut butter, and paint more chocolate to seal. It’s kind of like kindergarten, all over again. Easy peasy. And the results are far worth the effort – the mix of dark chocolate and the strawberry-coconut butter is a delicious treat.

So whether you’re tiring of simply eating this strawberry-coconut butter as a spread, or you want an easy-to-make candy that’s definitely worthy of gift-giving, these cups are sure to meet your needs.

Print Recipe

Strawberry-Coconut Butter Cups (gluten-free, vegan-friendly)

8 oz dark chocolate (I used Brix Smooth Dark Chocolate – if you want a vegan chocolate, be sure to choose one without milk or butter fat.)

About 1/2 recipe Strawberry-Coconut Butter - if refrigerated, allow to warm on the counter for about 30 minutes

Candy mold, such as one for peanut butter cups

Small paintbrush (like 1/4″)

Prepare a double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler, you can simply set a small saucepan with an inch or two of water to simmer, and place a large stainless bowl over the top. Place the chocolate in the top bowl/pot. Allow to melt and come to about 113-120 degrees F, stirring occasionally. (If you wish to temper the chocolate, bring the chocolate back down to 80 degrees F, and then rewarm to 90 degrees F, making sure not to heat it above that temp. Hold the chocolate at this temp while using.)

Using a small paintbrush, paint chocolate into the candy mold, making sure you cover it completely. Allow to dry. (I had to place the molds into the fridge for 10 minutes or so to set.)

Once the chocolate is set, spoon a small amount of strawberry-coconut butter into each mold. Finally, paint more chocolate over the top to fill the mold and seal the filling inside. Place the molds in the refrigerator or freezer to set for another 10-15 minutes.

Once the chocolates are sufficiently hard, you can pop them out of the molds by turning the mold upside down and pressing on the backs of each candy. They should pop out with relative ease.

Store in refrigerator, unless you’ve tempered the chocolate, and in that case, they can be stored at a cool room temperature.

Makes about 18-20 chocolates.

 

Strawberry-Coconut Butter

strawberry coconut butter 2 blog

Want something to spread on your toast or bread that’s a) different from the usual, b) way easier to make than jam or jelly, and c) full of spring deliciousness?

How about some strawberry-coconut butter?

This spread is creamy and pink (who doesn’t love that?) and packs a lovely, not-too-sweet punch of strawberry flavor. It takes just minutes to make and is completely dairy and gluten-free. Just throw the ingredients in the food processor, blitz to your heart’s content, and voila! Strawberry-coconut butter for all your spreading pleasures.

Put it on toast, put it on biscuits, or even just spoon it into your mouth. Throw it in your smoothie. When chilled, it’s smooth and scoops almost like ice cream, and is just as delectable. This little spread is the perfect springtime condiment.

Won’t you make some?

strawberry coconut butter blog

Print Recipe

Strawberry-Coconut Butter (gluten-free, vegan)

3/4 c coconut butter

3/4 c sliced fresh strawberries (you can also use frozen, simply thaw first – you don’t want cold strawberries hardening the coconut butter)

2 1/2 T maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, or golden syrup (whatever liquid sweetener you prefer)

Pinch salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Mango and Black Bean Salsa

mango and black bean salsa blog

Need a little something to serve alongside all those margaritas at your Cinco de Mayo celebration? (I mean, you need something to help absorb the tequila, right?) How about something that welcomes the warmth of spring and summer and all things fresh and vibrant?

This fruit salsa is just the thing. It’s perfectly delicious served with tortilla chips, but even better atop grilled chicken or pork. We enjoyed it on top of some broiled tilapia. Truth be told, tilapia isn’t my favorite (I’d forgotten this, but now I am once again reminded), but the salsa is quickly becoming so. I could eat it all by itself, with a spoon. It has all the delicious flavors – sweet mango, spicy jalapeno, fresh cilantro, sour lime, the “meaty” black beans, and enough salt just to make everything really sing. What more could you need?

Oh, that’s right. A margarita. Well, grab a margarita (Hmm, speaking of, maybe I should post some margarita recipes? Let’s see a show of hands – who wants margaritas??) and get to making some of this stuff, and you’re set to celebrate.

Print Recipe

Mango and Black Bean Salsa (gluten-free, vegan)

1 large ripe mango, diced

1 c canned black beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 green onions, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of 1/2 lime

Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and season to taste with salt. Chill until ready to serve. Keeps for a day or two (if you can stay out of it that long!).

Makes about 3 cups.

 

Radish Salad with Dill Buttermilk Dressing

radish salad blog

Sometimes, the simplest of things can be the most delicious. I remind myself of this often-forgotten fact every spring, when fresh vegetables start appearing in my garden and in the farmer’s markets. Just a few super-fresh ingredients thrown together can make for a delicious dish. Case in point – radishes.

I feel that for me personally, radishes have gone underappreciated for many years. They’ve always been present in a salad, but I’ve more often celebrated other components – cool cucumbers, crisp lettuce, spicy or bitter greens, or a perfectly ripe tomato. But in truth, they provide a crisp, cool crunch, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, a bit of spice. I’ve found that a fresh radish is truly a delight in itself.

And since the bounty of spring is beginning to show here – my garden is just now producing lettuces big enough to pick, as well as a good amount of cilantro, a ton of kale, and even the spinach is looking pretty tasty – I figured it was high time to create a simple spring salad. I gathered some fresh radishes, a little lettuce, and a few colorful carrots from the farmer’s market, and tossed it together.

I wanted to really bring those flavors together with an easy, delicious dressing. I am also growing dill and chives, and so I whisked together a quick buttermilk dressing with these herbs that was reminiscent of a ranch dressing, only fresher. It’s also easily made dairy-free by swapping out the buttermilk for a coconut milk & lemon juice mixture (I’ll show you how below) – something I often did in my dairy-free days.

This salad is an easy way to bring some fresh spring flavors to your meal. It only takes a few minutes to throw together, and its simplicity allows you to really enjoy each component.

radish salad blog 2

Print Recipe

Radish Salad with Dill Buttermilk Dressing (gluten-free, dairy-free/vegan adaptable)

1 small bunch green lettuce (such as Bibb, romaine, or green leaf)

1 bunch radishes

3 small carrots

2-3 T crumbled feta (omit for vegan)

Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium bowl. Slice the radishes thin and add to the lettuce. Peel the outside of the carrots, and then peel into ribbons for the salad. Add the feta and toss. Place on plates.

Makes 3-4 side salads.

For the dressing:

1/3 c buttermilk (or 1/4 c coconut milk + 1 T lemon juice, whisked)

3 T mayonnaise (can substitute vegan mayonnaise for vegan)

1 1/2 T chopped fresh dill

1 1/2 T chopped fresh chives

1/2 t kosher salt

1/4 t garlic powder

Whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in the dill, chives, salt and garlic powder. Chill until ready to use, up to 4-5 days.

Makes about 1/2 cup dressing.

Asparagus, Kale, and Mushroom Brown Rice “Risotto”

veggie risotto blog

This past weekend was filled with a few more meals eaten out than usual. Meals of the slim-on-vegetables variety. While I enjoyed what I ate, I was ready for lighter fare. I opted to break out my brown rice, and load it up with all the fresh spring vegetables I could find. Which, after my Saturday trip to the farmer’s market, was quite a lot. I’m notorious for buying every pretty thing I see at the market, and then wondering how in the world I will manage to eat it all before it goes bad.

I don’t cook with brown rice all that often. I like it – especially short-grain – but frankly, I often feel like the 40-45 minute cook time is too long. Which is funny, because honestly, making dinner usually takes me at least that long, once you factor in the dishes I am doing beforehand (from our lunches taken to work) and all. If I simply throw the rice on the stove to cook first thing, then tend to the dishes and the rest of the prep for this dish, it honestly doesn’t take any “extra time” at all. Dinner still happened at “normal” time. It was well worth it.

I mean, check out that result. The brown rice is nutty and slightly chewy, and holds up perfectly to this “risotto” style dish. With a ton of vegetables, and just a splash of cream to tie it together, it’s light and flavorful, and fresh, and plenty filling enough to be considered a main dish if you choose. And while it does have some dairy, it’s easily made dairy-free and/or vegan with a few simple swaps.

So go ahead – go gangbusters at the farmer’s market! Throw caution to the wind! Grab all the fresh green veggies that catch your eye. Throw them all together in this risotto, and you’ll be sure they’ll be enjoyed, rather than ending up sad and forgotten in the crisper. You won’t be sorry.

Print Recipe

Asparagus, Kale, and Mushroom Brown Rice “Risotto” (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

2 1/4 c stock (chicken or vegetable)

1 c short-grain brown rice

2 T butter or olive oil

4 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered (or cut into eighths if they are large)

1 green onion, minced

1 small head green garlic, minced (can use 2 cloves of regular garlic if you don’t have green garlic)

1 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1/2 c white wine

8 oz asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-inch lengths

8 oz frozen peas, thawed

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used Red Russian, but you can use any variety)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T butter or olive oil

1 T cream (can use almond, soy, or coconut milk for vegan)

2-3 T shaved parmesan (omit for vegan)

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add rice and reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add butter/olive and allow to heat for a minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Add the green onion, garlic, and thyme leaves and sauté an additional minute or until fragrant. Add the white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has evaporated. Add the asparagus, peas, and kale and sauté for a minute or until the asparagus is bright green and heated through.

Add the rice and stir in, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Finally, stir in the butter/olive oil and cream. Serve, topped with parmesan and fresh parsley.

Serves 4.