Harvest Vegetable Tart

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A tart is really just a fancy casserole and this beauty takes advantage of the exquisite red/orange palate of fall by using colorful root vegetables cut into small leaf shapes using cookie cutters to create an Autumn motif. It happens to be savory and delicious too! It would look great on your Thanksgiving table…

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The original inspiration for this recipe was filled with three kinds of cheese which sounds delicious but I was looking for something less caloric and more savory.  I opted to braise the leftover bits of veggies in olive oil and vegetable broth with shallots and garlic for a flavorful, lower fat tart filling.  I also added coconut milk for creaminess and parmesan for its nutty and salty flavors, but next time I will omit the coconut milk and spread a nice layer of Kite Hill Ricotta Cheese(vegan) over the braised veggies before adding the leaves.

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I have had this set of leaf cookie cutters for so long that I don’t remember where I got them but they are still available for sale: 7 Piece Leaf Cookie Cutters. William Sonoma and other gourmet kitchen and restaurant supply stores have a good selection too.  They are worth having in your kitchen arsenal to decorate pies, casseroles or yes, even to make cookies.

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Root vegetables are decidedly homely from the outside, but once you remove their rough exterior, they are positively lovely, an entire array of jewel tones.  I chose my veggies for their variety of colors and flavors. In fact, their brilliant colors show us what a storehouse of nutrients they are.  Since they grow underground, they absorb a tremendous amount of nutrients directly from the soil which includes a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Click through for 5 Reasons To Eat More Root Vegetables

Parsnips are a funny veggie and actually get a little bit sweet when cooked.  If you don’t like them, substitute another veggie or regular potatoes, especially in the tart filling. Actually, you can use any combination of root vegetables that you like.  Just beware that red and purple veggies may stain wood cutting boards and fingers… heads up.

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TIPS:  I found it helpful to use a potholder to protect my hands when pressing the cookie cutters into the veggies.  Also, I opted to not use the purple carrot ‘scraps’ in the tart filling as it leaches pink liquid turning the whole filling pink and unappetizing. (Yep, found out the hard way)  Other options would be to omit the coconut milk and parmesan and dot with goat cheese or vegan ricotta (I recommend Kite Hill Ricotta and Vio Life Just Like Parmesan) before topping with the leaves.

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HARVEST VEGETABLE TART

  • 1 single pie crust
  • 1 butternut squash*
  • 1-2 purple carrots*
  • 1-2 parsnips*
  • 1 large sweet potato*
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 medium shallots, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk or 1 cup vegan ricotta
  • 1/2+ cup shredded parmesan (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
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  • Pre heat oven to 375. Peel and slice squash neck into 1/4 inch rings.
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  • Using a cookie cutter, press firmly into squash. I recommend using a potholder to make pressing down easier on your hands.
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  • Peel and slice remaining root vegetables, using various leaf shapes.  Reserve veggie ‘scraps’.
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  •  Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.  Arrange the leaves on the baking sheets. If your cookie cutters have large and small shapes, separate them as they may have different cooking times. Spray or brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. My cookie cutters are small and I had about 70 leaves.
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  • Prebake the leaves until they are tender enough to pierce with a knife tip, but not so tender that they fall apart, about 15 minutes.  Larger leaves may need another 5 minutes. Let cool.
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  • Saute shallots until lightly browned in 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add garlic.
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  • Gather the veggie scraps and dice. You should have about 6 cups of veggies. Don’t include purple carrot scraps as they will turn everything pink. Add to the shallots along with vegetable broth.  Simmer 10 minutes with the lid off.  Add more broth if necessary but liquid should mostly evaporate.
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  • Veggies should be soft but still somewhat firm.  They will cook again in the tart pan.  Stir in 2 tsp of flour and then add coconut milk, herbs and parmesan (if using).
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  • Roll out pastry dough and place it in a tart pan, pressing gently into the bottom.  Roll the pin over the top to cut the dough to fit the pan.
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  • Pour vegetable filling into pie crust and spread evenly with a spoon.
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  • Arrange the leaf shapes onto the top of the filling, covering any gaps until entire tart is covered.  Spray or brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with more parmesan, if desired.
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  • Bake tart for 35-45 minutes.  Let cool slightly before cutting. Serve with a crisp green salad.  Enjoy!

HARVEST VEGETABLE TART

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
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  • 1 single pie crust
  • 1 butternut squash*
  • 1-2 purple carrots*
  • 1-2 parsnips*
  • 1 large sweet potato*
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 medium shallots, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2+ cup shredded parmesan (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre heat oven to 375. Peel and slice squash neck into 1/4 inch rings.
  2. Using a cookie cutter, press firmly into squash.  I recommend using a potholder to make pressing down easier on your hands.
  3. Peel and slice remaining root vegetables, using various leaf shapes.  Reserve veggie ‘scraps’.
  4.  Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.  Arrange the leaves on the baking sheets. If your cookie cutters have large and small shapes, separate them as they may have different cooking times. Spray or brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  5. Prebake the leaves until they are tender enough to pierce with a knife tip, but not so tender that they fall apart, about 15 minutes.  Larger leaves may need another 5 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Saute shallots until lightly browned in 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add garlic.
  7. Gather the veggie scraps and dice. You should have about 6 cups of veggies. Don’t include purple carrot scraps as they will turn everything pink. Add to the shallots along with vegetable broth.  Simmer 10 minutes with the lid off.  Add more broth if necessary but liquid should mostly evaporate.
  8. Veggies should be soft but still somewhat firm.  They will cook again in the tart pan.  Stir in 2 tsp of flour and then add coconut milk, herbs and parmesan (if using).
  9. Roll out pastry dough and place it in a tart pan, pressing gently into the bottom.  Roll the pin over the top to cut the dough to fit the pan.
  10. Pour vegetable filling into pie crust and spread evenly with a spoon.
  11. Arrange the leaf shapes onto the top of the filling, covering any gaps until entire tart is covered.  Spray or brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan, if desired.
  12. Bake tart for 35-45 minutes.  Let cool slightly before cutting. Serve with a crisp green salad.  Enjoy!

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Portobello Mushroom Wellington

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This vegan Portobello Wellington is pretty enough to serve as a main course for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It features layers of rich beluga lentils, whole portobello mushrooms and sauteed garlic spinach. I created this dish a couple of years ago while looking for a non-turkey main course for Thanksgiving. The dish was a huge success, pretty AND delicious. This year I will be making Mushroom Wellington again but with a gluten free crust.  Just add mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and you’re good to go!  🙂

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A traditional Beef Wellington is a fillet steak coated with pâté and duxelles, which is then wrapped in pastry and baked.  In this reimagined vegan  version, whole portobellos stand in for the ‘steak’  and the lentils with shallots and garlic would be the ‘pate’ with duxelles, which is just a fancy name for mushrooms sautéed with onions, shallots and garlic.  The flavor combination of the three layers worked so well together in creating a flavorful but still juicy filling.  I cooked the lentils in vegetable broth for more flavor. Of course, adding sauteed shallots and garlic to the black lentils gave them an even richer taste.  They were a great first layer.  Then I placed whole sauteed portobello mushrooms as the middle later and topped with spinach sauteed in garlic.

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Except for the pretty crust, which is what makes this a holiday worthy dish, all of the ingredients add flavor and nutritional value.  Spinach and mushrooms are high in food value, including fiber, vitamins and minerals, plus protein.  They also have zero or low amounts of fat, cholesterol, carbs and sugars.  If I were going to make my own crust, I would try a recipe using white whole wheat flour like this one from King Arthur Flour or this gluten free onehttps://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/gluten-free-classic-double-pie-crust-recipe.  Last time I made this on a whim, so I cheated with pre-made crusts.  It happens…

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I chose black lentils, also called Beluga lentils due to their resemblance of black caviar, because I find them the richest in flavor and their texture remains firm when cooked.  However, brown or green lentils would work well here too.  They are also quite healthy.  100 grams of cooked lentils contains 116 calories, 9.02 g of protein, .3 g of fat and 9.02 g of fiber.  They are also rich in minerals and vitamins.  Click for MORE info.

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TIPS:  This recipe is easy to prep a day or so ahead of time and assemble just before cooking.  Just prepare the lentil mixture and saute and drain the mushrooms and the spinach, then place in the refrigerator in airtight containers until ready to assemble.  You can preform them into log shapes before refrigerating for easier assembly.  For those who really like to plan ahead, you could probably assemble the whole thing a day or two ahead and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. One word of warning, don’t keep it warm in the oven as the spinach gets overcooked.

PORTOBELLO WELLINGTON

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Note:  This recipe can be made with 3 or 4 large portobello mushrooms.  The 3 mushroom wellington will fit in an 18″ baking sheet, while a 4 mushroom one needs a 21″ pan.  The recipe is for both.  For the larger wellington, use the larger quantities.

  • 1-1 1/4 cup black lentils (or brown)
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth (optional)
  • 3-4 large portabello mushrooms
  • 3-4 large shallots peeled and minced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil (divided)
  • 8-12 oz fresh spinach (3- 4 cups)
  • 2 – 3 blocks or rolls of pastry dough (or puff pastry, if preferred)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or soy milk (as pastry wash)
  • salt and pepper to taste
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  • Cook lentils in vegetable broth for more flavor (optional) following instructions on package.  Remove from heat and let cool. Trim mushroom stalks if needed and wipe caps clean with a damp paper towel. Do not immerse in water.
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  • Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and place the mushrooms, top side down. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes or until you hear the water release and sizzle in the pan. Remove from the heat, and drain on paper towel cap side up as they will release liquid as they cool.
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  • In the mushroom skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and half of garlic, lightly saute spinach.  Just cook until wilted and liquid releases.  If you decided to use frozen spinach, squeeze out as much water as possible. Remove from heat and let cool
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  • Saute shallots in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until lightly browned.  Add remaining garlic and cooked lentils.  Stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and let cool.
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  • Once cool enough, you should be able to form it into a log.  If you can’t, it’s probably too wet, so return it to the stove or put it in the refrigerator to firm up.
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  • Roll out pastry dough into any shape you prefer to make both a top and bottom crust.  I used 4 pre-made pie crusts and rolled 1 1/2 together to make the long traditional Wellington shape, however, you can make it a circle, square or rectangle.
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  • Place bottom crust on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Form lentil log in center of bottom crust and pat into shape
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  • Arrange mushrooms on top of lentils, cap side up
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  • Top evenly with the sauteed spinach.  Pat into as smooth a shape as possible for best results
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  • Place top crust over your lentil, mushroom, spinach creation and smooth it with your fingers.
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  • Cut around the Wellington using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, leaving a generous 1 inch margin.
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  • Using a fork, firmly press the two edges closed going all the way around.
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  • Cut shapes with a cookie cutter to decorate the top if you like.  Leaves would be pretty too. Save any leftover dough for future use.
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  • Brush the pastry with melted vegan butter or soy milk and poke air holes with a fork.
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  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  If the edges start getting too brown, cover them with strips of aluminum foil. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Portobello Wellington

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Note:  This recipe can be made with 3 or 4 large portobello mushrooms.  The 3 mushroom wellington will fit in an 18″ baking sheet, while a 4 mushroom one needs a 21″ pan.  The recipe is for both.  For the larger wellington, use the larger quantities.

  • 1-1 1/4 cup black lentils (or brown)
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth (optional)
  • 3-4 large portabello mushrooms
  • 3-4 large shallots peeled and minced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil (divided)
  • 8-12 oz fresh spinach (3- 4 cups)
  • 2 – 3 blocks or rolls of pastry dough
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or soy milk (as pastry wash)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook lentils in vegetable broth for more flavor (optional) following instructions on package.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Trim mushroom stalks if needed and wipe caps clean with a damp paper towel. Do not immerse in water.
  3. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and place the mushrooms, top side down. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes or until you hear the water release and sizzle in the pan. Remove from the heat, and drain on paper towel cap side up as they will release liquid as they cool.
  4. In the mushroom skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and half of garlic, lightly saute spinach.  Just cook until wilted and liquid releases.  If you decided to use frozen spinach, squeeze out as much water as possible. Remove from heat and let cool
  5. Saute shallots in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until lightly browned.  Add remaining garlic and cooked lentils.  Stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Once cool enough, you should be able to form it into a log. If you can’t, it’s probably too wet, so return it to the stove or put it in the refrigerator to firm up.
  6. Roll out pastry dough into any shape you prefer to make both a top and bottom crust.  I used 4 pre-made pie crusts and rolled 1 1/2 together to make the long traditional Wellington shape, however, you can make it a circle, square or rectangle.
  7. Place bottom crust on a parchment lined baking sheet
  8. Form lentil log in center of bottom crust and pat into shape
  9. Arrange mushrooms on top of lentils, cap side up
  10. Top evenly with the sauteed spinach.  Pat into as smooth a shape as possible for best results
  11. Place top crust over your lentil, mushroom, spinach creation and smooth it with your fingers.
  12. Cut around the Wellington using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, leaving a generous 1 inch margin.
  13. Using a fork, firmly press the two edges closed going all the way around.
  14. Cut shapes with a cookie cutter to decorate the top if you like.  Save and leftover dough for future use.
  15. Brush the pastry with melted vegan butter or soy milk and poke air holes with a fork.
  16. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  If the edges start getting too brown, cover them with strips of aluminum foil.

Best Pasta with No Cook Tomato Sauce

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What could be easier than tossing warm pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil?  This is a delicious NO COOK sauce that I have been making for ten years or so.  It is really delicious!   I no longer have the original recipe for this ‘sauce’ and usually only think about making it later in the summer when I have too many tomatoes on my windowsill on the verge of getting overripe. This recipe  is a great use for tomatoes that are a bit past their prime and starting to get a mealy texture. Of course, the better quality tomatoes, the more delicious the sauce but you can slip in an overripe tomato or two and it will work out just fine.  You can also add a few cherry tomatoes if you wish. I just use what I have on hand, but the more colorful the variety of tomatoes, the better.  Just dice the tomatoes, add a clove of minced garlic, sliced or chopped basil and oregano, drizzle with olive oil and let sit on the counter at room temperature for one to three hours.  All the flavors combine and transform raw tomatoes into a deliciously fresh sauce.  Sometimes I add fresh mozzarella for a Caprese type pasta or sprinkle with grated or shaved parmesan but it is just as good on its own. Great vegan cheese choices are Miyoko’s Vegan Mozz and Vio Life Just Like Parmesan.

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There is some debate whether tomatoes are more nutritious raw or cooked.  Usually cooking vegetables reduces their nutritional value as vitamins are lost during the cooking process, however, it looks like tomatoes may be different.  Cooking tomatoes reduces the amount of vitamin C but may increase the amount of lycopene (a phytochemical with antioxidant properties) that can be absorbed by our bodies.  So I think its a toss up.  You can lightly sauté this sauce if you prefer but I love the simplicity of leaving it raw as nature intended. It can be served immediately, warmed by the hot pasta or at room temperature.

TIP:  Garlic lovers beware!  For those of us who pile on the garlic, be forewarned.  Since this sauce is not cooked, the garlic does not mellow and sweeten the same way it does when cooked, so don’t use the same amount you would in a cooked sauce and make sure you finely mince. For gluten free substitute a GF pasta. There are so many good options out there now! Easy peasy…

Tomato Pasta1

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tomato Pasta1

4 – 6 ripe tomatoes of varying size and variety

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced or chopped

1 Tbsn fresh oregano, chopped (or thyme)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)

1 cup fresh mozzarella (optional)

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  •  Dice tomatoes and place in a medium sized bowl

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  •  Add garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper to tomatoes.

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  •  Stir gently to combine and let sit at room temperature for one to three hours (30 minutes if you can’t wait).

Tomato Pasta6

  •  Slice or dice fresh mozzarella, if using.

Tomato Pasta4

  •  Add mozzarella to the sauce about 15 minutes or so before serving. (You don’t want it sitting out too long). Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Tomato Pasta3

  •  Cook spaghetti according to instructions, drain and place in a serving bowl.

Tomato Pasta2

  •  Pour tomato sauce over the top and gently combine.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rustic Tomato Tart

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I can’t say enough about these roasted tomatoes – drizzled with balsamic and honey and slow roasted until they reach caramelized perfection.  Their cooking juice alone is worth the price of admission, delicious as a dipping  sauce for a crusty baguette.  But that’s not all!   I layered the lovely roasted tomatoes over a bed of fresh mozzarella and then folded it all in a buttery crust to form a rustic tart. You would never know that the crust is actually good for you because it’s so yummmy, but it’s made with 100% White Whole Wheat Flour.  No that wasn’t a typo.  I used a whole grain flour made from white whole wheat, which is a different kind of wheat whose germ has a lighter color and milder in flavor than the more traditional ‘red’ wheat.  It has the same nutritional value as whole wheat but is not as heavy, making it a better choice for baking. I believe in making food healthy but not at the expense of taste.  Win, Win!
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These roasted tomatoes are really sweet and flavorful, great layered in sandwiches or mixed in with other vegetables. I know I will be making these over and over again!  I know I already said this, but it bears repeating.  The sauce is ‘to die for’ so carefully pour every last drop into a small bowl and use it as a dipping sauce.
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Tomatoes are America’s favorite vegetable (even though it’s technically a fruit) and they are so wonderful when they are in season like right now, fresh from the vine.  You can just taste the goodness! If you are worried that cooking tomatoes, destroys the nutrients, don’t. Tomatoes are one of the veggies that actually benefits from being cooked. Most people know that tomatoes are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, like lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect our immune systems.  The best way to get lycopene, which is in the skin and gives tomatoes their red color, is through cooked or processed tomatoes.  Cooking them with a little healthy oil helps carry the lycopene into the bloodstream. ( Best Health Magazine)  So roast away!  You won’t regret it…

TIPS:  This recipe is easy to make vegan.  Just substitute a vegan mozzarella (I really like Miyoko’s Vegan Mozz) and vegan parmesan (I like Vio Life Just Like Parmesan) or omit the cheeses which are not necessary anyway, as the star of this dish is really the roasted tomatoes. To veganize the crust, substitute a vegan butter (I love Miyoko’s) or oil and brush the crust with non-dairy milk (My favorite is Oatley) before cooking.  Then I would suggest sprinkling the tomatoes and especially the crust with a coarse salt and more herbs before baking.
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I spotted this recipe in the Farm Fresh – Summer, 2015 magazine, although I added a layer of fresh mozzarella beneath the tomatoes and used white whole wheat flour for the crust for a more nutritious tart.
RUSTIC ROASTED TOMATO TART
7-8 ripe tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
3 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)-divided
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz fresh mozzarella or vegan mozz, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan or vegan parm, shredded(optional)
CRUST (or your favorite pre-made crust)
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)plus more for dusting the surface
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted vegan butter
2 Tbsn + 1 tsp ice water
1 egg or 2 Tbsn non-dairy milk(for glazing the crust)
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If you are making dough for a crust, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine.  Cut butter into slices and add to the flour mixture.  Pulse about 20 times or until the butter particles are small.  With the motor running, add the ice water and process until the dough is beginning to come together.  It will be loose but will come together if you pinch it.  Turn the loose dough out onto a mixing bowl and knead it briefly  Shape it into a flat disc and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.  (Or to save time later, you can roll it into a 12 inch round, then wrap it in plastic and store in the refrigerator)
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Pre-heat the oven to 425.  Line a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Brush with with olive oil.  Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey in a small bowl.
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Cut tomatoes in half horizontally and carefully remove seeds.
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Place tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with salt.
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Pour the balsamic mixture into each tomato half, distributing as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with 2 tsp thyme.
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Roast the tomatoes until they are brown on the edges and collapsed, about an hour.  Let them cool.  Save any pan juices to serve with crusty sourdough bread!
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While the tomatoes are cooling, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.  Heat oven to 400.  Line a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12 inch round, then transfer to parchment paper. Don’t worry if the edges aren’t perfect.  I think it makes a more interesting tart.
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Arrange mozzarella slices in the center of the round, leaving a 2 inch border of dough.
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Arrange the roasted tomato halves over the mozzarella, starting in the center and slightly overlapping, still leaving a 2 inch border.

Fold the edge of the dough up and over the tomatoes, pleating as you go.
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Brush the dough (including under the folds) with beaten egg.  Sprinkle the tart with parmesan and remaining thyme. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes.

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Let cool slightly and transfer to a cutting board or serving platter.  Serve warm or at room temperature.




Rustic Tomato Tart

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 
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7-8 ripe tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
3 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)-divided
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced (optional)
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded(optional)
CRUST (or your favorite pre-made crust)
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)plus more for dusting the surface
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter
2 Tbsn + 1 tsp ice water
1 egg (for glazing the crust)
If you are making dough for a crust, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine.  Cut butter into slices and add to the flour mixture.  Pulse about 20 times or until the butter particles are small.  With the motor running, add the ice water and process until the dough is beginning to come together.  It will be loose but will come together if you pinch it.  Turn the loose dough out onto a mixing bowl and knead it briefly  Shape it into a flat disc and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.
Pre-heat the oven to 425.  Line a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Brush with with olive oil.  Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey in a small bowl.
Cut tomatoes in half horizontally and carefully remove seeds.
Place tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with salt.
Pour the balsamic mixture into each tomato half, distributing as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with 2 tsp thyme.  Roast the tomatoes until they are brown on the edges and collapsed, about an hour.  Let them cool.  Save any pan juices to serve with crusty sourdough bread!
While the tomatoes are cooling, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.  Heat oven to 400.  Line a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12 inch round, then transfer to parchment paper. Don’t worry if the edges aren’t perfect.  I think it makes a more interesting tart.
Arrange mozzarella slices in the center of the round, leaving a 2 inch border of dough.
Arrange the roasted tomato halves over the mozzarella, starting in the center and slightly overlapping, still leaving a 2 inch border.
Fold the edge of the dough up and over the tomatoes, pleating as you go.
Brush the dough (including under the folds) with beaten egg.  Sprinkle the tart with parmesan and remaining thyme. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Let cool slightly and transfer to a cutting board or serving platter.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
 
 


Veggie Zucchini Enchiladas (gf)

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Love Mexican food but not the heavy carbs and calories? You might like these vegetarian enchiladas packed with fresh corn, black beans, mushrooms and pasilla peppers, sauteed with garlic, cumin and chili powder, then rolled in thin slices of summer squash, nestled in a bed of zesty red enchilada sauce and topped with pepper jack cheese.  Bake in the oven until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbling. Yum!  You won’t miss the tortillas (or the calories).

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These enchiladas are seriously good!  I made them twice.  The first time (above) I used corn, mushrooms and pasillo peppers.  You can see that the zucchini slices were harder to roll. (*See TIPS) The second time I added black beans and black olives.  I loved both versions but preferred the second one but I happen to love beans. I understand that some people don’t like or can’t tolerate beans.  It’s pretty easy to adapt this recipe to your tastes. The addition of beans (of any type) boosts protein as well as adding fiber and important vitamins and minerals without adding loads of calories.  Even without the beans, the corn, mushrooms and peppers have quite a bit to offer.  Corn has gotten a bad reputation nutritionally speaking because it’s a carb but corn contains certain B vitamins and vitamin C, as well as magnesium and potassium.  Corn also contains a large amount of insoluble fiber which helps get the bowel going and feeds ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. For more information on poor maligned corn, read this great article 5 Myths About Corn

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I added a dab of ricotta for creaminess and a sprinkle of pepper jack for cheesy deliciousness but these cheeses are optional for those who want to cut dairy or calories. This is a vegetarian recipe but it is easy to veganize.  My favorite ricotta is made by Kite Hill, a vegan ricotta made from almond milk rather than cow’s milk.  It’s slightly salty taste and creamy texture complement the veggies and sauce in this dish. I use it for everything!

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There are plenty of vegan hard and shredded cheeses available for use instead of traditional pepper jack.  Vegan readers, please message me your favorites and how you like to use them and I will give them a try.  I love using new products and I am moving away from dairy.

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TIPS:  This recipe calls for yellow squash because it is softer and more pliable than zucchini.  If you do use zucchini, you might try salting it after slicing and letting it sit for about 10 minutes to soften.  This is also a good trick if you like your ‘tortillas’ to brown as the salt draws out excess water.  If you can only find small squash, use 4 slices instead of 3 to make your tortilla wraps.  Fresh corn is fabulous but you can also use frozen corn.  I don’t recommend canned corn unless that is your only option.

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VEGGIE ZUCCHINI ENCHILADAS

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup criminy mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, seeded and diced (or small can diced green chilis)
  • 1 16 oz can or 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 4 large yellow squash (or zucchini) *see TIPS
  • 1 cup ricotta (optional)
  • 1 cup cheddar, jack or hot pepper jack cheeses, shredded
  • sliced black olives as garnish (optional)
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  • Preheat oven to 350º. Saute onion in large skillet over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin, and chili powder.
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  • Add corn, pepper and mushrooms, saute several minutes until mushrooms release their water. Remove from heat and stir in beans.
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  • Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, slice squash lengthwise into thin strips.
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  • Arrange three zucchini slices, slightly overlapping, and Spread a Tablespoon of ricotta along the center, if using.
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  • Place a spoonful of veggie mixture on top and a sprinkle of shredded cheese.
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  • Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Roll up and transfer to the baking dish, open side down. Repeat with remaining squash slices.   Spoon any remaining corn mixture into ends of enchiladas.
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  • Top with remaining enchilada sauce, cheese and olives, if using.
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  • Bake until cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 25-30 minutes.

Veggie Zucchini Enchaladas

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup criminy mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, seeded and diced (or small can diced green chilis)
  • 1 16 oz can or 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 4 large yellow squash (or zucchini) *see TIPS
  • 1 cup ricotta (optional)
  • 1 cup cheddar, jack or hot pepper jack cheeses, shredded
  • sliced black olives as garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Saute onion in large skillet over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2.  Stir in garlic, cumin, and chili powder.
  3. Add corn, pepper and mushrooms, saute several minutes until mushrooms release their water. Remove from heat and add black beans.
  4. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
  5. Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, slice squash lengthwise into thin strips.
  6. Arrange three zucchini slices, slightly overlapping, and Spread a Tablespoon of ricotta along the center, if using.
  7. Place a spoonful of veggie mixture on top and a sprinkle of shredded cheese.
  8. Roll up and transfer to the baking dish, open side down. Repeat with remaining squash slices.   Spoon any remaining corn mixture into ends of enchiladas.
  9. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
  10. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25-30 minutes.

Steamed Artichokes with Two Vegan Dipping Sauces

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There is nothing more nostalgic for me than steaming artichokes and eating them one leaf at a time, just like when I was a kid, teethmarks and all.  It’s definitely the easiest way to cook them and it makes a fun appetizer or side dish, especially when you have delicious sauces to dip them in.   I grew up dipping artichokes in mayo or melted butter but why limit yourself? Picture whole steamed artichokes dipped in either Lemon Herb Butter or Garlic Parmesan Aioli (both vegan and delicious).  

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The artichokes in my garden are ripe, in fact one has flowered which is an incredible work of nature. They are actually just giant thistles.  I love them so much, that I always let one go to seed on purpose and sometimes they go to seed by accident when I’m out of town, although for obvious reasons, that didn’t happen last year… I have recently oven roasted, pan roasted and stuffed artichokes with great results. For the more adventurous artichoke lover, check out these recipes:

Meatless Monday-Roasted Artichokes & Fennel with Lemon Parsley Pesto

or 

Meatless Monday – Roasted Artichokes Stuffed with Garlic, Parmesan & Quinoa

or 

Meatless Monday – Pan Seared Artichokes with Blackened Garlic

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Artichokes are great for scooping up yummy sauces but are they actually good for you?  The answer is Yes! Did you know that artichokes have more  antioxidants than cranberries or blueberries and more fiber than lima beans or prunes? They are also loaded with important vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Click through to read more about the amazing artichoke:   12 Unexpected Health Benefits of Artichokes .

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Those trying to limit or eliminate dairy from their diets should try a few fabulous new vegan products.  Miyoko’s Creamery has a vegan butter made from cultured cashew milk.  It is delicious and tastes just like real butter. It’s actually the only butter I buy now and comes in unsalted too. Miyoko also makes really delicious cheeses and is coming out with new types all the time. I really like the Double Cream Chive soft cheese and her Vegan Mozz works…

My favorite vegan mayonaise is Just Mayo from Hampton Creek which is so good that the mayo industry tried to shut them down. It’s egg free and made from pea protein but best of all it tastes just like the real thing.  I love promoting new products that are really good. I also like Vegenaise Mayo from Follow Your Heart which is easier to find.  

Another non-dairy staple is VioLife Just Like Parmesan. It comes in a wedge that you can freshly grate into dishes. It’s pretty darn good and I’m picky about cheese. Look for these products in your store.  I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

TIPS:  I like to cut the sharp tips off the ends of the leaves but you can skip this step if you are in a hurry or don’t want to go to the trouble.  You can also just throw them in a pan with plain water and they will turn out just fine.  A wide pan where the artichokes can fit in a single layer works better than a tall one.

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STEAMED ARTICHOKES

4 artichokes
1 bay leaf
3-4 cloves garlic
3-4 lemon slices or 1 Tbsn lemon juice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

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  • Bring 2 inches of water to a boil and add bay leaf, garli, lemons, salt and pepper.
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  • Cut the stems off each artichoke so they can sit upright. Trim the prickly thorn tips from each petal and cut the top half inch off of each one. Rinse them under cool water.
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  • Place them upside-down in the water, cover the pot and simmer on low for 25-35 minutes, or until a knife can be easily pierce the bottom.  While the artichokes are simmering, prepare your dips.
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  • Using tongs, remove the artichokes from water and allow to drain.  Place on a serving platter.
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  • Serve with dips and lots of napkins.
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LEMON HERB BUTTER

1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
1 Tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme, oregano or basil
1 Tbsn lemon juice

  • In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.  Taste and season with salt if desired. Serve warm.
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GARLIC PARMESAN AIOLI

1/2 cup vegan mayonaise or plain yogurt for a zip
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic paste)
1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Steamed Artichokes with Two Dipping Sauces

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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4 artichokes
1 bay leaf
3-4 cloves garlic
3-4 lemon slices or 1 Tbsn lemon juice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • Bring 2 inches of water to a boil and add bay leaf, garli, lemons, salt and pepper.
  • Cut the stems off each artichoke so they can sit upright. Trim the prickly thorn tips from each petal and cut the top half inch off of each one. Rinse them under cool water.
  • Place them upside-down in the water, cover the pot and simmer on low for 25-35 minutes, or until a knife can be easily pierce the bottom.
  • While the artichokes are simmering, prepare your dips.
  • Using tongs, remove the artichokes from water and allow to drain.  Place on a serving platter.
  • Serve with dips and lots of napkins.

LEMON HERB BUTTER

1/2 cup butter (or vegan butter), melted
1 Tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme, oregano or basil
1 Tbsn lemon juice

  • In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.  Taste and season with salt if desired. Serve warm.

GARLIC PARMESAN AIOLI

1/2 cup mayonaise or plain yogurt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic paste)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Black Bean Quinoa with Cumin Orange Vinaigrette

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Tired of green salad?  This flavor filled quinoa salad with mango and avocado topped with an orange cumin vinaigrette is one of my favorites!  I promise you won’t be bored. It’s a little bit spicy from the jalapenos, a little bit sweet from the mango, the black beans add a rich salty flavor and fresh avocado, purple onion, bell pepper and cilantro make it salad worthy.  Yum!

Quinoa is the perfect backdrop for these beautiful flavors.  It also happens to be a nutritional powerhouse, high in protein, low in fat, gluten free and loaded with lovely vitamins and minerals (but you don’t have to tell your family that).  What I didn’t know is that Mango is also a superfood, providing over 20 vitamins and minerals in every delicious bite.  Black beans add another protein and nutrient boost and their high fiber content helps keep your tummy full. Then there is the Avocado, which we now know is a good fat that is highly nutritious.  Look at the glorious colors! This is what they call ‘Eating the Rainbow”. The best part of this salad though, is how great it tastes! 

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This is the perfect dish to throw together for an easy dinner or bring to a potluck, especially if you have leftover quinoa on hand (or you make it ahead), then it’s only about ten minutes of chopping, mixing and you’re done!  This salad can be made a day ahead, without the avocado.  Bring to room temperature then gently toss in the avocado, if using, before serving.

TIP:  You can buy mango pre-cut but it’s very easy to do it yourself (and less expensive) if you know the right technique.  How to cut a Mango

https://www.mango.org/how-to-cut-a-mango/

VARIATIONS:  If you don’t have, or like, mango, you can substitute orange or nectarine segments (or even canned or frozen corn).  Use a combination of yellow, orange, red and green bell peppers for lots of color.  This recipe is only mildly spicy using one red jalapeno pepper so double the amount of jalapeno peppers and add a bit more cumin if you like it hot.

Black Bean Mango Quinoa Salad

BLACK BEAN QUINOA WITH CUMIN ORANGE VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup mango, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red or green jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
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  • Rinse quinoa to remove bitterness and cook according to package instructions; set aside and let cool.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, cumin and salt in a small bowl; set aside. This recipe makes just enough dressing. If you want more to drizzle, double the recipe or just measure generously.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, bell pepper, jalapeno, black beans, avocado, onion and cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  • If you aren’t serving immediately, place the avocado pit on top of the salad to keep the avocado from turning brown, or add the avocado right before serving .  Serve at room temperature.
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 If you have any leftover mango, how about mango margaritas? They are cool and refreshing with just the right amount of sweet and tart – and now we know they are loaded with yummy nutrients!

https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/05/02/mango-margaritas-homemade-tortilla-chips-with-grilled-pineapple-salsa/

Black Bean Quinoa with Cumin Orange Vinaigrette

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 cup quinoa
1 cup mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red or green jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
 
 vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

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  • Rinse quinoa to remove bitterness and cook according to package instructions; set aside and let cool.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, cumin and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, bell pepper, jalapeno, black beans, avocado, onion and cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  • If you aren’t serving immediately, place the avocado pit on top of the salad to keep the avocado from turning brown, or add the avocado right before serving .  Serve at room temperature.

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Endive Salad Bites

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Appetizers are the little things you keep eating until you lose your appetite. ~ Joe Moore
I don’t know who Joe Moore is but I’m with him on this.  The way I look at it, you might as well make the appetizer as yummy and nutritious as dinner.  This one is sure to satisfy, or at least start your night off on a delicious, healthy and low cal note.  I’m loving the three bite salad!

I am a sucker for foods that have a nice presentation and are easy to eat appetizer style, my kind of eating! The shape of endive spears is perfect for stuffing. Just toss all the salad ingredients with the dressing and pile them up in the endive spear, or boats as I have always thought of them.  Their slight bitterness is offset by the sweetness of the orange and grapes and the creaminess of the avocado and soft cheese.  The vinaigrette is simple but helps to blend the flavors nicely and done in just a few minutes.

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Alternatively, you could julienne the endive and toss the whole thing together as a large salad.  Either way, delicious!

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The first time I made this salad was when I was getting weekly CSA boxes and my endive came with an informational blurb which I found quite interesting.  Endive is a member of the chicory family (which makes me think of coffee for some reason).  Belgian endive is grown from chicory roots in a dark environment, which is why their tender leaves are such a light color. I was enthralled, so I googled, and here is what endive looks like growing. At first glance I thought I was looking at a photo of a factory chicken farm! You can click on the photo link for the full story on endive.

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Photo Credit: http://endive.com/how-endive-is-grown

For their pale complexions, endive are surprisingly nutritious, providing many valuable vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, iron and zinc, among many others.  The biggest surprise is that it is a good source of beta-carotene which we usually attribute to the orange vegetable family.  But that’s not all.  It has more than 50% of the potassium of a banana. Not too bad for our pale friend, the endive.  It also makes a darn good edible appetizer boat.

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ENDIVE SALAD BITES

1 head Belgian endive
1 orange or grapefruit
1 avocado
1/2 cup red grapes
4 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled goat, gorgonzola or feta cheese (or vegan Vio Life Feta or Miyoko’s Classic Chive soft cheese)
1/3 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped (or more for garnish)

Marinade

2 Tbsn olive oil
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsn red wine or apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

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  • Cut the ends off orange and remove the peel by cutting in a downward motion going all the way around.  Cut into wheels and then sections.  Place in a large bowl.
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  • Slice grapes and admire their gorgeous jewel toned colors.
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  • place in the bowl with the oranges.
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  • Halve avocado and cut into pieces a similar size to the orange segments.
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  • Add avocado, cilantro, scallions and crumbled goat cheese to the bowl.
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  • Prepare marinade and drizzle over salad sparingly.  You can always drizzle more later and since they are to be eaten by hand, you don’t want them too drippy.
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  • Cut the core end off the endive. Clean by gently wiping both sides with a lightly damp paper towel. Pull off as many leaves as you want to use. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator under a lightly damp paper towel. Place 1-2 tablespoons of salad into each endive spear.   Arrange on a platter and garnish with extra cilantro.

Endive Salad Bites

  • Servings: 12 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 head Belgian endive
1 orange or grapefruit
1 avocado
1/2 cup red grapes
4 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled goat, gorgonzola or blue cheese (or vegan Vio Life Feta or Miyoko’s Classic Chive soft cheese)
1/3 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped (or more for garnish)

Marinade

2 Tbsn olive oil
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsn red wine or apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

  • Cut the ends off orange and remove the peel by cutting in a downward motion going all the way around.  Cut into wheels and then sections.  Place in a large bowl.
  • Slice grapes and place in the bowl with the oranges.
  • Halve avocado and cut into pieces a similar size to the orange segments.
  • Add avocado, cilantro and scallions to the bowl.
  • Crumble goat cheese and add to the salad.
  • Cut the core end off the endive. Clean by gently wiping both sides with a lightly damp paper towel. Pull off as many leaves as you want to use. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator under a lightly damp paper towel.
  • Prepare marinade and drizzle over salad sparingly.  You can always drizzle more later and since they are to be eaten by hand, you don’t want them too messy.
  • Place 1-2 tablespoons of salad into each endive spear.   Arrange on a platter and garish with extra cilantro.

Black & Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash & Pomegranate

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Black and Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pomegranate

People often ask for food recommendations.  Here it is people –    one of my top five favorite dishes so far!  This is a Wow! dish. I have updated a few photos from this 2014 blog when Goodmotherdiet was only 2 months old and I was a newbie at food photography.  I can remember feeling it was a major accomplishment just to get a photo onto the blog regardless of quality. But I digress… Black and wild rice, roasted butternut squash, scallions, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate and microgreens, all topped with a yummy honey vinaigrette!  I have made this dish out of season with dried cranberries or cherries with good results but nothing compares to the zing and pop that you only get from pomegranate seeds.

I love this grain salad because it can serve as a main course or a hearty side dish. It’s fabulous as a party or buffet dish since it’s served at room temperature. It can be made ahead and you just toss it when ready to serve.

To see the original blog post click on the link: https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/01/27/meatless-monday-black-wild-rice-with-roasted-squash/amp/ But check out the new photos and recipe below first to see all of the goodness that goes into this dish. -Joyce

BLACK AND WILD RICE SALAD WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND POMEGRANATE

  • 1 1/2  cup black rice
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 medium or 1 small butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup microgreens (or parsley or cilantro)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (or pepitas – shelled pumpkin seeds)
  1. Cook black rice and wild rice in a large pot of boiling water with about 4 cups vegetable broth or salted water about 35 minutes or until tender.  Remove from pot into a large bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 450. Half, seed and peel the squash and cut into cubes.  I found a small squash so used the whole thing.  Place squash cubes in a baking dish and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast squash 20 to 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Whisk vinegar, honey and 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl.  Add rice, squash, pomegranate, microgreens and pistachios; toss to combine.
  5. To make ahead, combine all ingredients except for dressing and microgreens and refrigerate. For serving, bring to room temperature, add dressing and microgreens and toss.

Meatless Monday -Vegan Mini Meatloaf

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Vegan meatloaf might not spring to mind as a delicious main course but I’m here to tell you it is….It’s reminiscent of my mother’s traditional meatloaf using Quaker Rolled Oats, onions, ketchup and Beyond Meat ground ‘beef’, cooked to a nice perfection and then topped with barbecue sauce for the last bit of cooking.  It’s pretty delicious.

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I was asked to come up with a vegan main course for a St. Patrick’s Day event where the main course was going to be corned beef.  This was a nice (and perhaps selfish)  challenge for me since even though I have gotten used to eating around the main course or making side dishes into dinner, its always nice to have a dinner option available.  Vegetarians and vegans are often in a pickle at parties where a vegetarian/vegan option isn’t being served.  We don’t want to be perceived as difficult or judgey, but then again we won’t eat the meat option and we are hungry too.  So when someone goes to the trouble to make sure there is something meat free , I am beyond grateful.

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I used to love my Mom’s meatloaf which was based on a Quaker Rolled Oats recipe from the 1960’s.  It was a huge hit in my house and now that there are so many good meat substitutes available, I decided to give meatloaf another whirl but using Beyond Meat ground beef substitute instead of actual ground beef. If you are interested in the health aspects or nutritional information, check out  Beyond Meat. I chose to make mini meatloaves because they are easier to serve than slicing, and they are darned cute.  You can use a mini meatloaf pan or hand form the meatloaves onto a glass baking dish or cooking sheet with a rim.

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You can also make a traditional large meatloaf using a loaf pan or free formed onto a baking dish.  This recipe is makes eight mini meatloaves. You can cut the recipe in half for four servings if you prefer.  Or you can make one large meatloaf.  Form meatloaf mixture with your hands into 10×6-inch loaf on glass baking dish or cooking sheet with a rim. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until meatloaf is firm and has a nice crust. Add barbecue sauce for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes to ensure easy slicing.

I used real eggs as a binder, compliments of my backyard rescue chickens whom I consider ambassadors for all factory animals. Here’s my sister, Margaret, with Margaret the chicken. Aren’t they cute?  Check out their facebook page Mrs V’s Rescue Chickens.   If you aren’t lucky enough to have access to pasture raised chicken eggs or you don’t use eggs at all, there are really good options beyond making a flax egg (1 Tablespoon flax seeds to 3 Tablespoons water equals 1 egg).  I have had success using Just Egg but there is also Follow Your Heart and Red Hill Egg Replacer neither of which I have tried.

Tips:

Mini meatloaves can be made ahead of time, which is a nice time saver if you are hosting an event.  Uncooked loaves can be covered in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for a few days until you are ready to cook.  Just bring to room temperature before cooking to ensure even cooking.  Cooked meatloaves can be frozen for about three months and microwave well once defrosted.

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VEGAN MEATLOAF

  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 pkgs of @beyondmeat Beyond Burgers  (2 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs or vegan egg substitute (*see note)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce or gf soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp of Onion Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup barbecue sauce

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  • Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until tender, remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Combine all ingredients except for barbecue sauce in a large bowl.

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  • Mix well using a large wooden spoon (or I prefer to use my hands)

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  • Divide the mixture into eight parts and form them into small loaves and place on an oiled baking sheet, or spoon into oiled mini loaf pans, forming a rounded top on each one.

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  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, spread with barbecue sauce or ketchup and cook another 15 minutes,

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Vegan Mini Meatloaves

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 pkgs of @beyondmeat Beyond Burgers  (2 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute (*see note)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce or soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp of Onion Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup barbecue sauce or ketchup

 

  1. Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until tender, remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Combine all ingredients except for barbecue sauce in a large bowl.
  3. Mix well using a large wooden spoon (or I prefer to use my hands)
  4. Divide the mixture into eight parts and form them into small loaves and place on an oiled baking sheet, or spoon into oiled mini loaf pans, forming a rounded top on each one.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, spread with barbecue sauce or ketchup and cook another 15 minutes,

 

Meatless Monday – Beet Veggie Burgers with Pickled Onions

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What is more American than a juicy burger, except for maybe baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, and I would argue about that… Well these burgers may not be traditional in that they are plant based, primarily quinoa and pinto beans and they get their lovely color from raw shredded beets, but they can definitely go head to head with a beef burger.  I thought these were really good, especially with the pickled red onions, butter lettuce, a little avocado, mustard and mayo, boom!  I could eat these once a week!

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I found this recipe in the Hannaford fresh Magazine, May – June 2019 this summer and I’ve been wanting to make them ever since.  I have always liked veggie burgers, not because I miss meat, but because there is something so iconic about eating a burger.  It’s the ultimate comfort food. (Sorry mac and cheese)  I was immediately intrigued by the addition of raw shredded beet in this recipe. You may have tried the increasingly popular Beyond Meat Burger which is entirely plant based and gets its red coloring from beet juice which is what piqued my interest in this recipe.  Beyond Beef is a very good beef replacement but I’m not sure where regular people go about getting pea protein isolate so… that’s where this recipe comes in. These burgers are packed with protein provided by both the pinto beans and quinoa with smoked paprika and other spices to make a really delicious burger which is easy to make.   Plus homemade is best!
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…And the magic ingredient is beets!  In spite of their homely external appearance, once peeled they are beautiful and vibrant jewel tones, proving the old adage that beauty is on the inside. In addition to providing the gorgeous red color in these burgers, beets are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and iron.  One word of caution though, beet juice stains anything porous so use a ceramic cutting board or a plate when peeling.  I used my cuisinart for shredding which worked pretty well although it looked a bit like a bloodbath.
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I like to set up a burger bar so people can make their own.  This time, I set out pickled onion, avocado, dill pickles, butter lettuce and the usual condiments.  The pickled onion is a fun touch but completely optional.  Pickling red onions in half rice wine vinegar and half water softens their texture and sharpness.  It becomes a whole new vegetable!
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TIPS:  This recipe takes under 30 minutes if you are efficient, including quinoa cooking time.  Using leftover quinoa, or making it ahead, is even faster.  It does recommend refrigerating patties for a half hour before cooking to firm them up but this step can be skipped if you are pressed for time. This recipe can be made gluten free by using gluten free panko.  It can be made vegan by using an egg replacer or flaxseed combined with water. Use 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal to 3 tablespoons of water for one egg.  The original recipe called for 1 cup chopped walnuts but I am allergic, so I skipped it altogether.  I don’t feel the recipe needed it but feel free to add walnuts for more heft and protein.
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BEET VEGGIE BURGERS
1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded red beet (1 small beet)
1 large egg or vegan egg substitute (see Tips)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
4 tsp. olive oil
6 hamburger buns
1/2 -1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional-see Tips above)
PICKLED RED ONION (Optional)
1 small red onion
3/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
  • Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa according to directions.  Pour into a large bowl to cool.

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  • While quinoa is cooking, thinly slice red onion and place in a bowl with rice vinegar and water. Cover and refrigerate until burgers are ready for serving.

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  • Mash pinto beans with a wooden spoon until mostly broken down but not completely smooth and add to quinoa.

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  • Peel raw beet with a sharp knife on a plate to save your cutting board from staining.  Shred or grate in a food processor, mandolin or box grater. Add to quinoa mixture.

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  • Add breadcrumbs, egg, garlic powder, salt, and paprika and mix until well combined.

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  • Form mixture into six thick patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. (You may be able to skip this step if you are in a hurry)

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  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add three patties and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and patties.

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  • Place cooked patties in buns and serve with pickled red onions and your other favorite toppings.

Beet Veggie Burger

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans(drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded red beet (1 small)
1 large egg or vegan egg substitute (see Tips)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
4 tsp. olive oil
6 hamburger buns
1/2 -1 cup finely chopped walnuts(optional-see Tips)
PICKLED RED ONION (Optional)
1 small red onion
3/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
  • Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa according to directions.  Pour into a large bowl to cool.
  • While quinoa is cooking, thinly slice red onion and place in a bowl with rice vinegar and water. Cover and refrigerate until burgers are ready for serving.
  • Mash pinto beans with a wooden spoon until mostly broken down but not completely smooth and add to quinoa.
  • Peel raw beet with a sharp knife on a plate to save your cutting board from staining.  Shred or grate in a food processor, mandolin or box grater. Add to quinoa mixture.
  • Add breadcrumbs, egg, garlic powder, salt, and paprika and mix until well combined.
  • Form mixture into six thick patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. (You may be able to skip this step if you are in a hurry)
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add three patties and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and patties.
  • Place cooked patties in buns and serve with pickled red onions and your other favorite toppings.

Meatless Monday – Tofu ‘Steaks’ with Chimichurri Sauce

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When I made this the first time, I declared it a place where meat lovers and vegans can co-exist in happiness.  I just made it again and I still agree. Here is a  ‘steak’ a meat lover will find tasty and satisfying while a vegetarian will be in raptures…  It takes less than 30 minutes and will not disapoint.    Last time, I served the tofu steaks with brown rice and broccoli with a healthy dose of chimichurri over everything which was hearty and satisfying.  This time, I served with a simple salad of lettuces and edible flowers that I had just picked from my garden.  It’s a hot day so it was perfect.

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Each tofu steak is a hefty seven ounces although my husband has a hearty appetite and usually eats his and goes back for seconds, so I need to use two blocks of tofu if I’m serving a large eater.  I also like to make sure there are leftovers for lunch.  Its really good cold too. The tofu is first brushed with a spicy and savory marinade and then pan seared and topped with a fresh and zesty chimichurri sauce, a South and Latin American condiment that is loaded with chili peppers, fresh herbs and garlic.  Chimichurri is good on almost anything and it can be made spicy or mild depending on your taste, which is why its so popular.  Originating in Argentina, it is commonly used to top grilled steak, which is one reason it’s so good on this dish.

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Even though the tofu should be allowed to drain for about 10 minutes, this recipe still takes less than 30 minutes.  Just slice the tofu and let it drain.  While it’s draining, prepare the chimichurri sauce and the marinade.  Using a food processor for the shimichurri sauce saves time and results in a smoother sauce.  Brush the tofu with the marinade and let sit while you prepare the rice or other veggies you’re serving.  The tofu only takes about 6 minutes to cook.  Easy, fast, delicious!

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Tofu steaks can be cut in two sizes, depending on preferences.  One block serves two people, unless you have someone with a large appetite, in which you can double the recipe.  I loved the thickness (about one inch) of the steaks and my husband loved the size (7 oz each).  Tofu is normally cut into thinner slices or cubes so this is a nice difference. The outside was so flavorful and the inside had a wonderful creamy consistency that you don’t get with thinner pieces.  For 7 oz steaks, stand the tofu on end and slice vertically to get two one inch thick pieces. For 3.5 oz steaks, cut each half in half. Pictured below.

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TOFU ‘STEAKS’ WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

15 – 16 oz extra firm tofu
1/4 cup avocado oil (or other high heat oil)
1 bunch broccolini(optional)
1 cup brown rice (optional)

Tofu Marinade:
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Chimichurri Sauce:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and minced (or 1 tsp dried hot pepper flakes-or both)

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  •  Drain tofu and stand it on it’s end and cut in half vertically on the narrow side so you end up with two wide one inch slices.  Place tofu on double thick paper towels and top with another paper towel and place something heavy (like a cast iron pan) on top to help press out the water.  Let sit at least 10 minutes. Tofu can be cut into 7 oz or 3/5 oz ‘steaks’.  See TIPS.

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  • Mix all Chimichurri ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. For a finer sauce, pulse in food processor.

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  • Combine tofu marinade ingredients and brush them onto tofu covering top, bottom and all sides.  Marinade should be fairly thick and pasty. Set aside.

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  • If you are serving with rice, get it started.  If you are preparing a vegetable, like baby broccolini, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet and saute broccolini with some chopped garlic, 8 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and tent with foil or cover and use a new pan for the tofu.

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  • Add more oil to the pan if necessary, or use a grill pan or grill, and heat on medium high until almost smoking.  Add tofu and cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Turn and cook the other side another 3-4 minutes.

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  • Serve with a big spoonful of chimichurri sauce.

Tofu Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

TOFU STEAKS WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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15 – 16 oz extra firm tofu
1/4 cup avocado oil (or other high heat oil)
1 bunch broccolini(optional)
1 cup brown rice (optional)

Tofu Marinade:
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Chimichurri Sauce:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and minced (or 1 tsp dried hot pepper flakes-or both)

  •  Drain tofu and stand it on it’s end and cut in half vertically on the narrow side so you end up with two wide one inch slices.  Place tofu on double thick paper towels and top with another paper towel and place something heavy (like a cast iron pan) on top to help press out the water.  Let sit at least 10 minutes.  Tofu can be cut into 7 oz or 3/5 oz ‘steaks’.  See TIPS.
  • Mix all Chimichurri ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  If you prefer a smoother sauce, pulse in the food processor.
  • Combine tofu marinade ingredients and brush them onto tofu covering top, bottom and all sides.  Set aside.
  • If you are serving with rice, get it started.  If you are preparing a vegetable, like baby broccolini, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet and saute broccolini with some chopped garlic, 8 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and tent with foil or cover and use a new pan for the tofu.
  • Add more oil to the pan if necessary, or use a grill pan or grill, and heat on medium high until almost smoking.  Add tofu and cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
  • Turn and cook the other side another 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve with a big spoonful of chimichurri sauce.

 

 

Meatless Monday – Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

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Salads in winter must have a hearty element to them or they just don’t work for me, especially in cold, wet weather, like now.  This one has roasted butternut squash, toasted pecans, dried cranberries and salty feta over a bed of dark leafy greens, drizzled with a rich balsamic vinaigrette.  Yum! Best of all it’s simple, just a few delicious ingredients and good for you. Butternut squash is my favorite of the hard winter squashes and still in season.  Butternut squash has a natural sweetness that really shines when brushed with olive oil and roasted, and it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, as evidenced by it’s brilliant orange color.
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This salad is easy to make except for the peeling and cutting of the butternut squash  It is not that really that hard to peel but if you are looking for a shortcut, many supermarkets offer it already pre-cut into cubes.  Go for it if you need a big time saver!  This recipe calls for 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of cut up squash (medium butternut).  Supermarket packages of cut up squash are usually 16 to 18 ounces, which is equal to a small squash but totally adequate for this salad. It will just be slightly smaller.  To make this salad more hearty, you can add cooked barley or quinoa.  A layer of black or green lentils cooked al dente would be a good addition too.
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I used a sprinkling of feta cheese which works well with its salty flavor and crumbly texture.  Goat cheese would work well here too, as well as some of their vegan counterparts.  If you’re not a dried cranberry fan, walk on the wild side with dried blueberries or cherries.  Best of all is the vinaigrette with the balsamic reduction.  It’s rich and really complements the other ingredients, however, the ingredients do combine to a pretty delicious vinaigrette without the fuss of reducing the sauce.
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ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 cups fresh greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, etc)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted or candied
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
Vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste

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  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread butternut squash pieces into a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle or spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can line baking sheet with parchment paper instead of oil for easy clean up.

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  • Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning a few times, until squash is tender.

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  • While the squash is cooking, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.  Or, if you want a thicker dressing, stir the vinegar and honey in small saucepan over medium heat until reduced by about half (recommended).  Let cool slightly and add the remaining ingredients.  Set aside.

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  • Thinly slice red onions and chop salad greens and add to large bowl or platter

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  • Allow squash to cool and then add to salad greens

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  • Top with dried cranberries, pecans and crumbled feta. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 cups fresh greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, etc)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted or candied
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread butternut squash pieces into a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle or spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can line baking sheet with parchment paper instead of oil for easy clean up.
  • Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning a few times, until squash is tender.
  • While the squash is cooking, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.
  • Thinly slice red onions and chop salad greens and add to large bowl or platter
  • Allow squash to cool and then add to salad greens
  • Top with dried cranberries, pecans and crumbled feta. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
TIPS: This salad is easy to make except for the peeling and cutting of the butternut squash  An easy shortcut is to buy pre-cut squash which is a great timesaver but a bit more expensive.  To make this salad more hearty, you can add cooked barley or quinoa.

Meatless Monday -Winter Vegetable Soup (Vegan)

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I love winter soups and this one is no exception.  It manages to be hearty but light and very low calorie AND it happens to be delicious.  The combination of winter root vegetables, potatoes, carrots and turnips with creamy baby lima beans, also called butterbeans, is a winner.  The crispy fried sage on top is the bomb!  I know, you might think you don’t like lima beans but these petite ‘baby’ beans are delicate and creamy.  They don’t have the same tendency as the larger lima beans do to be mealy.  You may be surprised.  That said, you can use canellini beans and any root vegetables, if you prefer.

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As a Meatless Monday Blogger, I was lucky enough to have been gifted with 5 lbs of Green Baby Limas from Camellia Foods as part of the Food for Change movement sponsored by Slow Food USA. Camellia Brand Foods is a New Orleans based company that prides itself on its high quality and standards.  Their products are all non-GMO and gluten free. So, thank you Camellia Foods! All I had to do was come up with a recipe.  Well, half of my first pound became this lovely soup. I have four more pounds of Camillia Baby Lima Beans.  I will send or deliver to the first four readers who request a pound.

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Thank you also for Slow Food USA who spearheaded this project, Terra Madre Day.  (Which I missed because my delivery was late – better late than never). Check out their website to see more recipes using Camellia products by other bloggers or to learn more about them.  Here is a little taste:

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SLOW FOOD USA

Welcome to the table! We inspire individuals and communities to change the world through food that is good, clean and fair for all. As the Slow Food movement grows, we stay true to these core values for all:

GOOD

  • Believe that delicious nutrition is a right for everyday life
  • Cultivate joyful connections to community and place
  • Advocate for diversity in ecosystems and societies

CLEAN

  • Protect natural resources for future generations
  • Help people and the environment depend on each other
  • Promote food that is local, seasonal, and sustainably grown

FAIR

  • Build local cooperation and global collaboration while respecting all laws
  • Require no prerequisite or credential for participation
  • Fight for dignity of labor from field to fork

Slow Food USA is part of the global Slow Food movement creating dramatic change in more than 160 countries. In the US, there are more than 150 local chapters and 6,000 members. Join us to connect the pleasures of the table with a commitment to the communities, cultures, knowledge, and environment that make this pleasure possible.

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So lets go back to the recipe at hand.  This is a very easy soup.  The beans can be made ahead of time and refrigerated in a covered container for a day or so.  You can also make a whole pound and use half for soup and use the rest for salads or other dishes.  Baby lima beans are delicious sauteed with shallots and garlic in olive oil and make a wonderful side dish.

TIPS:  The fried sage is optional but I think its pretty tasty as a topping and it only takes a minute or two.

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WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP

  • 8  oz. (1 1/4 cups) dried baby lima beans or cannelini beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1-2 large shallots or 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1  medium clove garlic, minced
  • 2  Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or more for a brothy soup)
  • small bunch of sage, whole leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large russett potato, peeled and diced small
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed or peeled and diced
  • 1  large turnip, celery root or other root vegetable, peeled and diced
  • 1  to 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

  • 20181216_185509Rinse and sort beans, Put the beans and the water in a large pot with the bay leaf, if using. and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour. Beans will still be slightly firm. If you feel the beans are already done, pour them into a bowl including the cooking water and add them for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove the bay leaf

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  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute the shallots and until transluscent not browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic for the last minute.  Add to the pot of beans.

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  • Pour in the broth and add the potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables. Simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add thyme.

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  • While the veggies are cooking, heat 1 Tbsn olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and fry the whole sage leaves on both sides. Sprinkle with salt.  They should sizzle and get crisp when cooled.  Try one first to make sure you have it right.  It should only take a minute or 2. Remove from the oil and let cool on a paper towel.

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  • Add the vinegar, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

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  • Top with fried sage.

 

Vegettable Winter Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 8  oz. (1 1/4 cups) dried baby lima beans or cannelini beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1-2 large shallots or 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1  medium clove garlic, minced
  • 2  Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • small bunch of sage, whole leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large russett potato, peeled and diced small
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed or peeled and diced
  • 1  large turnip, celery root or other root vegetable, peeled and diced
  • 1  to 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

  • Rinse and sort beans, Put the beans and the water in a large pot with the bay leaf, if using. and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour. Beans will still be slightly firm. If you feel the beans are already done, pour them into a bowl including the cooking water and add them for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove the bay leaf
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute the shallots and until transluscent not browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic for the last minute.  Add to the pot of beans.
  • Pour in the broth and add the potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables. Simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • While the veggies are cooking, heat 1 Tbsn olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and fry the whole sage leaves on both sides. Sprinkle with salt.  They should sizzle and get crisp when cooled.  Try one first to make sure you have it right.  It should only take a minute or 2. Remove from the oil and let cool on a paper towel.
  • Add the vinegar, 1 teaspoon at a time to taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
  • Top with fried sage.

No Peel Potato Latkes for Hanukkah

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Hanukkah falls really early this year, beginning Sunday, December 2nd (which is tomorrow!) and the holiday season starts with a bang. You know what that means… chocolate and latkes!  So, I want to share my easy no-peel latke recipe which, besides skipping the tedious and time consuming job of peeling potatoes, serves two purposes. The skin has much of the nutrition and leaving it on helps make the latkes extra crispy and tasty.  Warm latkes topped with applesauce and sour cream, are a family favorite. The only problem is, that no matter how many I make, they disappear! Feel free to try my No Peel Applesauce recipe as a great topper. Click HERE for the recipe

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Who wouldn’t love a celebration that lasts eight days and involves lighting pretty candles, exchanging gifts, playing games that involve chocolate coins and eating foods that have been fried in oil?  Once a year, latkes (and even doughnuts) which are fried in oil are the reigning treats.  So what is the significance of the oil?  Hanukkah, (Hanukah, Chanukkah or Chanukah depending on the transliteration) also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday in which candles are lit for eight nights to commemorate the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem which had been desecrated and a statue of Zeus built in it’s place back when Greek Gods were in favor (2nd century BCE). During the dedication a cask of oil which should have only been enough to burn the temple menorah for one night miraculously burned for eight, thus the eight days of celebration today incorporating candles, menorahs and oil.

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Dreidel is a popular game played during Hanukkah.  Tradition has it that the reason the dreidel game is played is to commemorate a game devised by the Jews to camouflage the fact that they were studying Torah, which was outlawed at the time by the Ancient Greeks. The Jews would gather to study, posting a lookout to alert the group to the presence of soldiers. If soldiers were spotted, the Jews would hide their scrolls and start to spin tops, so it would look like they were gambling instead of studying Torah. My family loves playing dreidel for chocolate coins, and I have been collecting dreidels for over 20 years.  Every year I hunt for a new one to add to our collection. It’s getting harder to find something unique but I always find one.  Here is the new addition.

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The other ubiquitous Hanukkah treat is the chocolate coins given as gifts or used as collateral in dreidel. Gold are milk chocolate and silver are dark, so pick your favorite!

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Latkes are easy to make but it does take a toll on your kitchen as the splattering oil makes a bit of a mess – but they are worth it!  There are many kinds of latkes, made with grated, shredded or mashed potatoes but my family prefers them extra crispy made with long thin strips of potato that allows the oil to  seep in through the middle, crisping them the whole way through.  Topped with applesauce and sour cream, they are hard to beat.

TIPS:  This recipe calls for potato only latkes but it’s fun to add other veggies or even fruit.  I often add shredded apple strips which makes them salty sweet.  You can also try grated or shredded carrots or any other root vegetable.  Get creative!

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NO-PEEL POTATO LATKES
4 large potatoes
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 large or 1 whole small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsn lemon juice
2 Tbsn flour (any kind)
1 to 2 cups vegetable oil

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  •  Grate unpeeled potatoes using a hand grater or food processor fitted with the grate attachment. You can use a blender but your latkes will be more like pancakes. Squeeze excess water from the grated potatoes with paper towels and add lemon juice right away to prevent browning.  Pour into a large bowl and add chopped onions.

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  • Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs. It will not look like batter.

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  • Heat half the oil in a heavy skillet on medium high to high until the oil is almost smoking. A cast iron pan works great as it holds the heat. Drop potato mixture by generous spoonfuls onto hot oil and flatten slightly with the tip of a wooden spoon. I try to poke a few holes so oil can bubble up through the middle.

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  • Brown well on both sides, turning to accommodate hot spots in the pan.

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  • Drain on paper towels.

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  • Keep warm in a 250 degree oven covered loosely with aluminum foil.  Latkes can be made ahead and reheated in single layers in a 350 degree oven.

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  • Serve plain or with applesauce and sour cream.

 

Potato Latkes

  • Servings: 2 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Latkes1

4 large potatoes
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 large or 1 whole small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsn lemon juice
2 Tbsn flour (any kind)
1 to 2 cups vegetable oil

  •  Grate unpeeled potatoes using a hand grater or food processor fitted with the grate attachment. You can use a blender but your latkes will be more like pancakes. Squeeze excess water from the grated potatoes with paper towels and add lemon juice right away to prevent browning. Pour into a large bowl and add chopped onions.
  • Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs.
  • Heat half the oil in a heavy skillet on medium high to high until the oil is almost smoking. A cast iron pan works great as it holds the heat. Drop potato mixture by generous spoonfuls onto hot oil and flatten slightly with the tip of a wooden spoon. I try to poke a few holes so oil can bubble up through the middle.
  • Brown well on both sides, turning to accommodate hot spots in the pan.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Keep warm in a 250 degree oven. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.