Posts Tagged ‘Vegan MoFo’

This recipe is by request (which I always appreciate, so definitely send any and all recipe requests my way in the comments!).  As you already know, I love sweet potatoes and I love caramelized onions.  This simple burger marries the two together, along with black beans (another personal favorite) into one simple patty-shaped deliciousness delivery system.

If you have never made your own burgers before, I promise you that once you do you will never go back to frozen pre-packaged patties.   Home made burgers pack a punch of fresh flavor and textures that the little cardboard hockey pucks simply can’t imitate.  These guys are fairly easy to make, especially if you “bake” your potatoes in the microwave (to do this I poke holes in medium sized sweet potatoes with a fork, wrap them in damp paper towels, and bake them in the microwave for about seven minutes or until soft) and have some caramelized onions in your refrigerator ready to go.  I especially like the addition of chipotle pepper to these – they add a nice smoky flavor that compliments the sweetness of the potatoes.

The best part about eating burgers is, of course, the fixins.

We top ours with lettuce, tomato, avocado, caramelized onions, mustard, ketchup, and cilantro-lime mayo (see recipe below).




Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

1 cup mashed sweet potato
1 15oz can black beans
1 ½ cups bread crumbs (I like whole wheat)
½ onion, caramelized (or, depending upon how you like your onion flavor, use a smaller amount of raw onion or still use ½ onion that has been sautéed for 10 or so minutes)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 small chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Oil for frying

1.    Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix/mash together until well blended.  (The black beans will lose some of their texture, but I like to make sure that there are always some whole beans left to make the burgers more interesting)
2.    Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat (a few tablespoons to cover the bottom will do, but be sure to continue to add oil if needed because these burgers can easily stick to the pan).    Shape the burger mixture into eight patties.  
3.    Cook four burgers at a time (or fewer depending upon the size of your pan – the goal is to not crowd the pan), for about 4-5 minutes per side or until crispy brown on each side.  
4.    Serve with lots of fixins!

Cilantro-Lime Mayo

½ cup vegan mayonnaise
½ -1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (amount depends upon how spicy you like it)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.




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Admit it … you probably thought that I’ve decided to take another year and a half break from this site again didn’t, you?  Well, I certainly can’t blame you for that.  I was, however, simply traveling for work since my last post, but now I am settled back on the island and I have a perfect recipe for your fall dinners to share.

Everyone has that moment in their lives when they do something that makes them suddenly sit up and realize that they are, indeed, an adult. For some, it’s a birthday (21 … 25 … 30 … maybe 40), for others it’s marriage, it could be buying your first house, or holding your first child.  For me, it was the moment that I realized that I enjoy Brussel sprouts that certified me in my mind’s eye as a bona fide, card-carrying member of the adult population.

Brussel sprouts are fairly simple to make as they require very little prep or additions.  They are versatile and they always seem to add something special to a meal.  This is my latest interpretation of sprouts (other versions may include walnuts, mushrooms, garlic, caramelized onions, carrots, shallots,, chestnuts, or pine nuts) and we thoroughly enjoyed them.  The apples and pecans add nice texture and flavor to sprouts.

I am curious to hear how everyone else best enjoys their Brussel sprouts (or if you simply can’t bring yourself to even try them!) – please share in the comments!

Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Apple and Pecans

2 lbs Brussel sprouts
1 apple, diced
1 cup pecan halves, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
More salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Cut off the ends of the Brussel sprouts and remove any wilted outer leaves. Slice them in half.  Dice the apple and slice the pecans.  Place the sprouts, apple, and pecans in a 9×12” baking dish.  Whisk together the oil, teriyaki, and maple syrup in a small bowl and pour over the sprout mixture.  Toss to even coat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss again.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned.  Be sure to stir once or twice during baking to ensure even browning.

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Repeat after me:  this is not a health food.

Despite it being a breakfast food, this is not the type of thing that rings a golden halo of healthy smugness over your head as, say, a bowl of bran cereal or a tall glass of fresh pressed green juice would.  It is exactly the type of thing, however, that will have you dancing around in tippy-toes of joy in front of your oven as you eagerly wait for the timer to go off.  It is the type of breakfast that pulls bleary-eyed sleepers away from happy dreams and warm beds and into the kitchen on cold mornings.  This is dessert showing up as breakfast at your doorstep on Halloween.

I saw these on apartment therapy a few weeks back and promptly booked marked them, knowing that I would have to have them.  I made them for a leisurely Sunday breakfast and was so glad that I did. As they do require some advanced prep work, they are not a spur-of-the moment breakfast, but they are perfect for special occasions like holidays or birthdays.  Be aware that this recipe makes a lot of rolls. If you are not feeding a crowd, I recommend halving the recipe.   I made the whole thing and was able to send one pan full over to our neighbors to enjoy, as well.

To adapt the recipe, I swapped out the dairy ingredients for their vegan counterparts.  I also swapped out white flour for a mixture of whole wheat and spelt flours (to attempt to assuage feelings of guilty decadence),  cut down the sugar by just a touch, and I swapped in Rice Nog for the milk to add just that much more holiday goodness to each bite.  I also swapped out individual spices for pumpkin pie spice because I love that stuff at this time of year.


I also have a confession to make.  I took a few of the leftover rolls the next day and slathered them in some maple butter cream frosting I had leftover in my refrigerator from a batch of cupcakes I had made earlier in the week and served them for dessert.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Over the top decadence.  My sweet tooth swooned.  And that is how you make a food item multi-task.



Pumpkin Rolls with Brown Sugar Glaze
Adapted from The Kitchn at Apartment Therapy

(instructions are verbatim except for my substitutions)

¼ cup water
1 package yeast
1 cup Rice Nog
½ cup Earth Balance butter
¼ cup sugar
1 15 oz can pumpkin
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups spelt flour

½ cup Earth Balance butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chopped pecans

½  cup Rice Nog
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
Pinch salt
2 cups powdered sugar

Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit a few minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Meanwhile, warm the Rice Nog and Earth Balance in a small saucepan on the stove top until the EB is melted. Combine this with the sugar in a large heat-proof mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Let the Rice Nog mixture cool until it is just warm to the touch – NOT HOT. Then stir in the yeast and the pumpkin. Add the salt and all of the flour all at once, stirring until all the flour has been absorbed. Squish it between your hands if you’re having trouble incorporating the last of the flour. The dough will be sticky, but should come together in a shaggy ball. If it’s still more the consistency of cookie batter, work in an additional 1/2 cup of flower.

Cover the dough and let it rise for 1-3 hours. Do not panic if it does not get very large in bulk.  It will be OK.   After letting it rise, you can punch the dough down and refrigerate it overnight or continue shaping the rolls.

To shape the rolls (either immediately or with the refrigerated dough), sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and dump the dough on top. Pat it down into a rough rectangle and then use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a rectangular shape about a half an inch thick, longer than it is wide. If the dough gets sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on the dough’s surface and on your hands.

Melt the Earth Balance in the microwave and stir in the brown sugar and the pumpkin pie spice. Spread this over the rectangle of dough, leaving an inch of bare dough at the top. Sprinkle one cup of the toasted pecans over the dough, if using. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch it closed at the top.

Rub a tablespoon of soft Earth Balance into the bottom of two 9×13 baking dishes, two 9-inch cake pans, or a combination. (I used one oval baking dish and one glass pie dish)  Using a bench cutter or a sharp knife, cut the cylinder into individual rolls 1 – 1 1/2 inches thick (confession: I made mine bigger, probably in the 1.5 – 2” range).  Place them into your baking dishes so they have a little wiggle room on all sides to rise. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise until they fill the pan and look puffy, 30 minutes for already-warm dough and 1 hour for dough that’s been refrigerated.

About 20 minutes before baking, begin heating the oven to 375°. When the rolls are ready, bake them for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden and starting to look toasted around the edges. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking.

While they are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the Rice Nog and Earth Balance. When the EB has melted, add the brown sugar and salt. Stir until the brown sugar has melted.   Stir in the powdered sugar. This should form a thick but pourable glaze.

Let the baked rolls cool for about five minutes and then pour the glaze on top. Sprinkle the remaining cup of pecans over the top, if more nuttiness is desired. Eat them immediately. Leftovers will keep for several days and are best reheated for a minute in the microwave



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In case you were wondering what to dunk your cornbread into, worry no more … this chowder is the perfect thing to pair with it.  I have a love affair with sweet potatoes every autumn, and they find their way onto our dinner table at least one time per week, often times more.  I love their vibrant orange color, their sweet flavor, and their versatility.  I bake ’em, mash ’em, cream ’em, slice ’em, dice ’em, and roast ’em.  I make sweet potato bread, sweet potato and black bean burgers, baked sweet potatoes with all of the fixings, coconut-mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato pie, sweet potato cake, roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, and sweet potato chowders.  For those of you who are having a Forrest Gump moment right now, I will demonstrate restraint … but please know how much I love thee, dear sweet potato.

Here in Hawaii we have purple sweet potatoes. True story.  Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes (‘uala) are also called Okinawan potatoes and are native to Japan, but they are believed to have been grown in the Hawaiian islands for centuries.  They get their unique purple hue from their abundance of anthocyanin (a type of phytochemical).  We also have purple Molokai Sweet Potatoes, which are only grown on the island of Molokai.  This chowder  does not use purple sweet potatoes but instead calls for the traditional Mainland-style red-skin and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes because I really love their flavor and, quite frankly, am not too keen on serving up purple soup.  Purple sweet potatoes are best served with simple preparation so that their purple coloring can be a unique addition to your plate and not look like a side dish at a grotesque Halloween buffet.  If you ever have the opportunity to work with them, mashed or baked is the way to go with purple potatoes, and then top them off with the simple garnish of your choice.

This (not purple) chowder is simple to make, which makes it a prime candidate for a weekday meal.  Pair it with some bread and a salad and you’ve got a delicious, healthy dinner for your busy work week.  Enjoy!



Two Potato and Corn Chowder
1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
4 medium red potatoes, diced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder (add more or less depending upon your heat tolerance)
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 cups broth ( I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base but use whatever flavor strikes your fancy)
1 10 oz frozen corn
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish
1.  Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onion, and saute for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the spices, salt, and pepper and cook for 30 additional seconds.  Add the broth, bring to a boil, lower to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
2.  Stir in the corn and almond milk and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Use an immersion blender or stand-up blender to puree the soup (I like to leave it a little bit chunky, but puree to your desired consistency).  Sir in the cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper.  Gently heat for 2-3 minutes.  Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro and serve.


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Cornbread Two Ways

It’s good to be back after an inadvertent eighteen-month hiatus from blogging!  I have no terrible or fantastical reason for being away so long.  Life just got very busy, and as I continually rearranged things on my plate to devote enough time to the day-to-day priorities of my life or to make room for new activities or experiences, I found that I simply did not have a big enough plate for all of the things I wanted to fit on it. I found, however, that I missed the experience of blogging and of being an active participant in a very awesome and active online foodie community. When I read about Vegan MoFo 2010 and realized that for the first time I was not too late to jump on board, I decided to take advantage of a perfect opportunity to jump back into this site and to once again have fun sharing my experiences in the kitchen.  I’ve signed up for Vegan MoFo and look forward to gaining momentum throughout the month. While I recognize my limitations (!) and will not attempt to post every day, I will post frequently, so please be sure to check back often!  Now, onto the food …

As we move into the holiday season we suddenly have reasons and happy excuses to make all of the side dishes that we may lazily ignore the rest of the year.  Bread climbs right to the top of that list for me at this time of year. Who doesn’t love home made bread?  (But who always has the time to bake a loaf while tending to the rest of dinner?) Cornbread is a quick way to add delicious homemade bread to a meal, and it readily pairs with thick autumnal soups and stews.  I also love it because it is so easily customizable – just add your favorite herbs or additions and you have endless (easy!) possibilities.  Below I have shared recipes for Caramelized Onion and Rosemary Corn Bread and a more classic Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread.

The first recipe came about because I love caramelized onions.  They are so simple to make: all that is required is patience.  They add a beautiful depth of rich flavor to any number of meals.  I like to make a large batch and keep some on hand in the refrigerator to add to soups, sandwiches, or vegetable dishes.  They elevate simple corn bread to a sophisticated side dish, and they pair nicely with the rosemary, but feel free to experiment with your favorite fresh herbs.

For the more traditional version of cornbread, I used Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds.  I have never made liberal use of vegan cheeses, mostly because the flavor and texture turn off my taste buds.  I have found with Daiya, however, that I like its creaminess and flavor in traditional comfort foods liked “grilled cheese” and “pizza” on the infrequent occasions that I order those items (mostly at Whole Foods hot bars when traveling).   It works really well in this recipe because it melts into the batter well and is complimented by the spiciness of the jalapeño.  (If anyone has any opinions about or successes with Daiya cheese, I’d love to hear about in the comments!).




Caramelized Onion and Rosemary Corn Bread

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 ¼ cup corn meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup canola oil
3 tbsp melted Earth Balance butter
3 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1.    Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and stir often until they begin to become soft and translucent, about 10-15 minutes.  Turn the heat down a bit and continue to cook the onion for 30-45 more minutes, stirring often, until the onions have turned a deep, golden brown.  Remove from heat.
2.    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.  Lightly grease an 8×8” baking pan.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add the almond milk, oil, and melted butter and stir until well blended.  Fold in the onions and rosemary.
3.    Spread the batter into the pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly in the pan on a rack before serving.



Jalapeño and Cheddar Corn Bread

1 ¼ cup corn meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup canola oil
3 tbsp melted Earth Balance butter
1/3 cup Daiya cheddar
1 green jalapeño, diced

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.  Lightly grease an 8×8” baking pan.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add the almond milk, oil, and melted butter and stir until well blended.  Fold in the Daiya cheddar and jalapeño.
2.    Spread the batter into the pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly in the pan on a rack before serving.

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