Sunday, February 10, 2013

Farfalle with Vegan Brown Butter, Arugula & Pine Nuts

There are not too many instances where I am completely blown away by the flavors in any singular dish, however this pasta dish is the exception. From the first bite your taste buds wake up and pay attention. Honestly....what is not to love... brown butter, lemon, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts all tossed to perfection with the pasta of your choice. My vegetarian girlfriend made this for her family using regular butter, brown rice penne and Parmesan cheese and she said it was a huge hit. I'd say mix it up using your favorite pasta and cheese, but I wouldn't tamper with the rest of it. It's just too good as is. 



1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 


1 pound pasta (Farfalle, Penne Rigate, work well)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) vegan butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup Vegan Parmesan (optional)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained 


For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper until smooth. Set aside. 

For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. 

In a high-sided skillet, whisk the vegan butter over medium heat until melted. Simmer until foamy. Continue to cook until the vegan butter has a nutty aroma and turns a caramel color, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the pasta, dressing, arugula, tomatoes, vegan Parmesan, pine nuts, and capers. Toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time to loosen the sauce, if needed. Transfer to a large bowl and serve. 
Note: To toast the pine nuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely before using. 

Bon Appétit

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lemon Cilantro Chickpea Quinoa Salad

This salad does an excellent job combining all my favorite flavors: Quinoa; chickpeas, lemon, cilantro, avocado and fresh baby spinach. Dang....what's not to love? Though this lovely salad would be perfect as a side dish for a great burger, sandwich or simply by itself, I chose to serve it with potato taquitos, and it was perfect! The dressing gives this salad a fresh citrusy kick that compliments the ingredients beautifully. Do give it a try and let me know what you think. Bon Appetit!

  • 1/2 C. dry quinoa  
  • 2 C. vegetable broth  
  • 1 can (15oz.) garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)  
  • 1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half  
  • 2 avocados diced  
  • 2 C. fresh baby spinach  
  • 1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/2 C. green onions finely diced

  • 2 small cloves garlic finely minced
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Make your quinoa first. Soak the quinoa in a pot with veggie broth for about 15 minutes to truly absorb the flavor. Turn on the heat to medium high and let the quinoa come to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Drain any remaining liquid. Set it aside, and make the rest of the salad by chopping up the rest of the veggies. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss. 

Whisk the dressing ingredients together by hand or in a food processor. Pour over salad and toss gently careful not to break up avocado. Enjoy!

This salad is best if refrigerated for an hour or two prior to serving to allow all the flavors to meld. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Vegan Lentil Tacos

These hearty, spicy lentil tacos have become our new favorite Mexican treat. Whether in a soft shell, hard shell or used as a base for a delicious Tostada or Burrito, this lentil taco meat can't be beat. Give it a try and judge for yourself. I promise you won't be disappointed.

1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped (any color)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (any kind)
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 ribs of celery, sliced
1-1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp olive oil

In a large pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Saute onion for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add in the lentils, carrots, celery, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, bay leaf, tomato paste and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture starts drying out, add 1/4 cup water or broth.

Remove from heat and drain in colander. Remove bay leaf and return to pan. Lower heat stirring constantly until most of the remaining liquid has been evaporated. 

Load up your taco shells, garnish with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Makes six 1/2 cup servings, which could be used to make 12 tacos, 6 burritos, 6 taco salads, or 6 nacho platters. 

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheeze

This Butternut Squash Mac & Cheeze recipe became a lovely staple in our home over the holidays. My granddaughter even requested the leftovers for breakfast one morning which brought a smile. A true comfort food, this healthy dish satisfies any cravings for a creamy and substantial pasta dish. I think it may become a favorite in your home as it has in ours. Bon Appetit! 
  • 1 fresh butternut squash* (peeled and chopped into large chunks)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews (soaked for two hours)
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2-1 tsp kosher salt (to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 16-oz package brown rice penne or your pasta of choice
  • Additions: 1 cup peas, chopped steamed kale, steamed broccoli
1. Soak 3/4 cup cashews in a bowl water just enough to cover cashews for 2 hours. Drain before using.  

2. Preheat oven to 450F. 

3. On a baking sheet,  toss squash chunks with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, flipping halfway through.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the cheeze sauce. In your food processor combine soaked (drained) cashews and garlic and pulse until you have a thick paste. Add veggie broth, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, onion powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set Aside.

5. Cook your pasta according to package directions. 

6. Add the roasted squash to your cheeze sauce and pulse until well combined. If the sauce is too thick, add additional broth until you have the consistency you like.

7. Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni into pot, along with cheeze sauce. At this point you can add veggies of your choice. To heat and eat later you can pour the mac and cheeze into a casserole dish and top with buttered bread crumbs and bake at 325 F. for 25-30 minutes just to heat through. Enjoy!

Notes: A 3.5 pound squash makes 5 cups cooked squash.

Cinnamon-Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is another great recipe from Chef Chloe Coscarelli's book Chloe's Kitchen. For those of you who live gluten-free these cookies are super easy to convert by using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour. I've made these cookies three times thus far (twice gluten-free) and they seriously disappeared in a blink of an eye. Yep....they are that good. My family loves crispy cookies so I chose to flatten them before baking and they did not disappoint -- light, crispy, and uber delicious!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegan margarine
  • 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)
  • About 1/4 cup granulated sugar for sprinkling


Make ahead tip: Cookie dough can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to one month. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two or three large baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Using a mixer, beat margarine and espresso powder until well combined. Add powdered sugar and brown sugar, and beat until combined. Mix in the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. If dough seems too dry to scoop, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Stir in chocolate chips. 

Scoop about 2 tablespoons dough at a time. Roll each scoop in a small plate of sugar. Place each scoop, round side up, on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, gently flatten the dough with the palm of your hand. For soft cookies, leave as is. Bake about 12 to 14 minutes, or until the edges are browned. Let cool and serve.

Makes 26 3-inch cookies

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Falafel Sliders with Avocado Hummus

Tonight I delved into my Chloe's Kitchen Cookbook and was immediately drawn to the Falafel Slider with Avocado Hummus recipe. I chose to make them into burgers rather than sliders but either would work well. This recipe is simple, full of flavor and makes a lovely presentation. I served it with a very simple Greek salad and it was perfect. If you live near Trader Joe's pick up their Tahini Sauce in the Deli section and save yourself a step. I'm sure you're going to love's just scrumptious! Enjoy!

Falafel Sliders:
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, divided
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, quartered
5 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
1/2 cup packed fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 garbanzo or other flour
2 Tbs. olive oil

Avocado hummus:
1/4 cup chickpeas, reserved from sliders
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1/3 cup packed fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne

Tahini Sauce: (or purchase Trader Joe's prepared Tahini Sauce)
1/2 cup Tahini
1/2 cup water
1 garlic clove
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt

14 slider buns or dinner rolls sliced in half, toasted

(If you choose to make burger out of this recipe it makes 3 substantial burgers)
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced


To make falafel sliders: Reserve 1/4 cup chickpeas for the avocado hummus. Place remaining chickpeas, onions, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt, and flour in a food processor and pulse until combined, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides. Using the palms of your hands, form mixtures into 2-inch by 1/2 inch patties.

In a large non stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and pan-fry patties in batches, letting cook about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Do not crowd the pan. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

To make the avocado hummus:
Combine 1/4 cup of chickpeas, avocado, parsley, oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in a food processor and puree. Adjust seasoning to taste.

To make the tahini sauce:
Puree tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, and salt until smooth.

To serve:
Layer the falafel sliders, avocado hummus, tahini sauce, and slice tomato on the buns.

Serving Size: serves 4

Friday, April 6, 2012

Vegan Mushroom Meat Tacos

Finding a great vegan substitute for meat that doesn't contain soy has been a struggle. One of the Meatout Monday options a few weeks back was mushroom meat. It came from and I encourage you all to check out the wonderful recipes on this lovely blog. It really appealed to me since it incorporated mushroom, onion, and eggplant and I thought it was genius. Last night I finally got around to making it and was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was. I added taco seasoning to put a Mexican spin on it but you could certainly season with your favorite spices to incorporate it in all your treasured recipes. Mushrooms and eggplant are packed full of vitamins and minerals making this meat substitute an excellent option for all your recipes.

INGREDIENTS: (makes 12 hearty tacos)
  • 1/4 cup black olives
  • 5 cloves garlic 
  • 6 drops liquid smoke (or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 16 oz. mushrooms (any kind) I used Cremini mushrooms
  • 4 cups eggplant, peeled & diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper 
  • 12 taco shells or 12 soft tortillas (for soft tacos)

  • 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper (optional)


  1. In a food processor, make a paste out of the olives, garlic, liquid smoke, and olive oil; set mixture aside in a bowl.
  2. Add mushrooms, stems and all, to food processor and pulse until finely chopped; dump processed mushrooms onto a large, rimmed sheet pan.
  3. Pulse eggplant in food processor and dump onto the sheet pan with the mushrooms; repeat this process with the onion.
  4. Drizzle mound of mushrooms, eggplant and onion with olive and garlic paste, and using your hands, toss it all together. Sprinkle with your favorite taco seasoning or use my recipe above. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Spread mixture evenly over the sheet pan; sprinkle mixture with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake at 350 F degrees for a total of 45 minutes; turn the mixture over a few times with a spatula. The mixture will release a lot of juice, and then it will start to dry out; once most of the liquid had evaporated or been absorbed, the mixture is ready. Allow it to cool in the pan.
  7. Fill prepared taco shells with mushroom meat and your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Belgian Butter Cookies a.k.a. Grandma's Ice Box Cookies

Oh dear, I am most likely going to get some backlash from my family for posting this long standing family favorite. My grandma developed these cookies many, many years ago and they immediately became everyone's favorite. The common wisdom in our family is that we should keep some special recipes just to ourselves, but honestly I am a firm believer that the whole world should be able to experience the perfect cookie. These cookies have simple ingredients, are simple to make and simply delicious. Crisp, buttery and chocked full of nuts, for me these delightful little nibbles have all the components of the perfect cookie. For an extra special treat spread cooled cookies with some vegan cream cheese. Enjoy!

  • 2 C. Brown Sugar
  • 1 C. Vegan Margarine (I use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks) at room temperature
  • 2 Egg Replacer Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 3 1/2 C. Flour
  • 1 C. Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 1/2 Tbls. Cinnamon

  1. Combine margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg replacer eggs, cream of tartar, vanilla, cinnamon and mix well. 
  2. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time mixing well. Stir in nuts. Batter will be very thick.
  3. Form dough into a log approximately 2.5" x 4" and wrap in wax paper
  4. Freeze for 6 hours or overnight
  5. Remove from freezer and slice very thin with a sharp knife.
  6. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Scrumptious Vegan Split Pea Soup

Yum....nothing says comfort like a creamy and delicious Split Pea Soup. Super low in fat and packed with protein and fiber, this soup may just be the perfect meal for my health conscious friends. I've adapted this recipe from the Moosewood cookbook and.....I have to tell you, it is AMAZING! The addition of the balsamic vinegar kicks up the volume and awakens all the delicious ingredients to create a rich flavorful soup. Honestly, this is one of my favorites. It's well known that I love a hearty healthy soup, but seriously it doesn't get any better than this. Serve it as a main course with some crusty peasant bread for a super delish meal. Enjoy!

  • 2 cups dried split peas
  • 5 cups no chicken or veggie broth (more if needed)
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 generous cup carrots diced
  • 1 russet potato, diced
  • fresh ground black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 -4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, to taste ( or red wine vinegar)
  1. Saute onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes and celery in olive oil until onions are translucent.
  2. Add broth, split peas, salt, and dry mustard. Stir well.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered for about 50-60 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent split peas from sticking to bottom of pot. You may need to add extra broth.
  4. Season to taste with pepper and vinegar.

Serve with a drizzle of sesame oil, diced tomato and minced parsley. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vegan Mexican Pozole

Several months ago I found out I have an allergy to soy which was initially very troubling. As a vegan I relied heavily on soy products to compliment my diet and as a major source of protein. It was difficult at first, particularly since so many products contain soy. Now that I have made this transition and am embracing this new way of eating, I find I am concentrating more on vegetables and grains as the major staples in my diet, and I've got to say, I feel terrific!

There are few things in the culinary world that I enjoy more than spicy food, and this lovely Mexican Pozole just makes me smile. It certainly has all the components of  a hearty and delicious stew, and yet it is surprisingly piquant with the addition of the sweet potatoes to off set the heat. Dress it up any way you choose. Garnish with vegan sour cream, avocados, cilantro, tortilla strips, and serve with some wonderful corn bread to complete the meal. Enjoy!

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups diced sweet potatoes
  • 1 28oz. can Hominy drained
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2/3 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 -14.5oz diced and fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 4 cups good vegetable broth
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil


Heat oil in large stock pot.

Sauté diced onion, carrots, green bell pepper and garlic until onion is translucent – about 5 minutes. 

Add spices, mix well and continue to simmer for a minute or two. 

Add broth, can tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and Hominy. Continue cooking until sweet potatoes are tender. 

Before serving add ½ cup lime juice and ½ cup chopped cilantro. Stir well and serve. 

Garnish with fried tortilla strips, avocado and lime slices. Enjoy!