Tag Archives: vegan

African Peanut Soup.

This soup is entry into the 2nd Annual Souper Bowl, a fundraising event created by Branny Boils Over to help the ASPCA.  To say that ‘Branny’ is an animal lover is putting it lightly… Not only does she have pets that she loves dearly, you can often find her opening her home (on a horse farm, no less!) to rescues and foster animals.

Pets are an important part in many people’s lives, my own included.  During last year’s Souper Bowl, I introduced you to our now 10 year old cat, Dexter.  When the Fruitaholic entered the picture, Dex wasn’t all too sure what to think but two and a half years later, they’ve become the best of friends, as I knew they’d one day be.

As for the soup, well, it doesn’t really have anything to do with cats (actually, it has nothing to do with animals at all… It’s vegan!), but boy is it delicious!  It was nice and creamy thanks to the tofu yet still had some texture due to the rice and veggies.  The original recipe called for uncooked rice, and during the simmer time on the stove, my rice did not cook so I’ve updated the recipe below to reflect what I feel would be an improvement to this dish, by stirring in cooked rice after the soup had simmered.  I also feel like it could have benefitted from the addition of some green onions, but did not include that in the recipe below.  Aside from that, it was definitely a nice change of pace from your everyday, run of the mill soup.  Even the Fruitaholic finished his bowl and asked for more!

Be sure to stop by Branny Boils Over on February 5th for the roundup!

African Peanut Soup – adapted from Apron Strings

  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 Shallot, diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 16 oz. Pkg. Silken Tofu
  • 1 28 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes in Puree
  • 1 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • Dash of Tasbasco
  • 1 Cup Creamy Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
  • Roasted Peanuts, for garnish

Add the oil, pepper, onion, shallots and garlic to a large stockpot and saute over medium high heat until soft, about 6 minutes.  Stir in cilantro.

In a blender, mix the broth and tofu until smooth, then transfer to the stockpot.  Add the tomatoes, cardamom, nutmeg, and Tabasco and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk and rice.  Garnish with peanuts.

Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash.

As you all know, with the start of a new year, we all make resolutions.  We all have some sort of goals that we set for ourselves that are inevitably broken by the time February rolls around.  I’m pretty sure mine are much like yours:  eat healthier, exercise more, lose some poundage, be a better person, blahblahblah.

I don’t typically set out to make resolutions, but new year or not, I’ve decided to take my health into my own hands.  I’ve always been of bigger stature, and much like most of us, I’ve failed many times at dieting.  But on January 2nd, when the scale told me that I now weigh five pounds more than I did when I was nine months pregnant, it was the kick in the pants I needed to make a real lifestyle change.

Christmas 2K11. Yep, it's time for a change.

So this year, I’m hoping to eat a more plant-focused diet (despite my love of bacon).  I’m aiming to work out at least three times each week (there’s really no excuse… I have a treadmill and an elliptical at my disposal in my basement).  I’d like to finally complete the Couch to 5K program with the goal of being able to run my very first 5K this Spring or Summer (as it stands now, I huff and puff going up and down the stairs).

The Husby is out of town this week for work so I’ve been left to fend for myself.  And usually when that happens, I end up ordering in or eating out.  But not this time.  I packed up the Fruitaholic and we headed to the grocery store, determined to make and eat the majority of my meals at home this week.

Wanting to keep things easy since I’d just be cooking for me, I bought a couple prepackaged salads, a couple chicken breasts, a ton of fruit for snacking, and a small spaghetti squash.  I’m not sure what caused me to buy the squash since the first time I tried it, I had some kind of small reaction to it.  But there it was right in front of me, begging me to bring it home.  And so I did.

But what to do with it?  I knew I didn’t want to drown it in pasta sauce.  Even though it shares a name with and is touted as a pasta substitute, it’s not pasta!  I knew I wanted it to be healthy and full of flavor.  And my oh my, it certainly was!

I had originally planned to cook up one of my chicken breasts to go alongside it, but once it was ready (quickly and easily, I might add), I realized I didn’t need it.  I had half of the squash and it was super filling, but so tasty to the point that I would’ve (and since it’s healthy, could’ve) eaten the other half as well.  I may have even moaned as I was eating it, soliciting dirty looks from the Fruitaholic (who wouldn’t touch it, sigh).  I’m anxiously awaiting the leftovers for lunch tomorrow, and to making it again many, many times during the course of the year.

Cheers to a healthy, flavorful 2012!

Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash – slightly adapted from Gourmet Magazine via Epicurious

  • 1 3-4 Lb.  Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter, unsalted (to make this dish Vegan, substitute a Vegan butter spread or Olive Oil)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 Cup Golden Raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, chopped

With a small knife, pierce the squash all over to prevent bursting.  Place the squash on a microwave safe plate and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, then turn the squash over and cook an additional 8-10 minutes, until the squash is soft.  Allow to cool 10-15 minutes.  Alternately, place the whole pierced squash in a baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

While the squash is cooling, melt the butter and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 1 minute.  Stir in the spices and salt and remove from heat.

When the squash is cool enough to touch, carefully halve lengthwise.  Remove and discard the seeds.  Scrape the flesh with a fork to release the strands from the skin.  Add the toasted almonds and golden raisins, then toss with the spiced butter mixture and top with cilantro.

Moroccan Stuffed Tomatoes.

I’ve mentioned before that my love for cooking stems from my Dad.  We’re constantly talking about food, and emailing or calling each other with different recipes that we’ve found, so when I called to check in the other day, it wasn’t unusual that we spent 20 minutes chatting about this great recipe he found.

Jade from The Mess Pot chose August’s theme for What’s Baking, which was “Celebrate Summer,” and as soon as I opened up the email Dad had sent with the recipe inside, I knew it would be a perfect fit.  Dad is making an effort to consume less meat, and so am I, and if all meatless recipes taste as good as this one, I see much less meat in my future.  Two of the best kinds of summer produce, tomatoes and zucchini, are the stars of this dish.  The ingredient list is simple and the end result delicious.  The tops of the filling got a little bit charred in the oven, but it didn’t distract from the amazing flavor.  I’m so glad I decided to add some golden raisins to the mix.  I loved the sweet little bites against the the savory of the rest of the filling.

We ate these as a meatless main dish (2 tomatoes per person) but it would make an excellent side dish alongside some simply seasoned chicken breasts.

Moroccan Stuffed Tomatoes – adapted from New York Times Dining, created by Anissa Helou

  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil, plus additional for brushing baking dish
  • 4 Ripe Vine tomatoes, tops sliced and seeds removed
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Lb. Zucchini, trimmed and grated
  • 3 Tbsp. Golden Raisins
  • 3 Tbsp. Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/3 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes, or to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. Shelled Pistachios

Preheat oven to 350.  Brush a baking dish with olive oil.  Without puncturing the tomato, cut off a small slice from the bottoms so that they sit flat.  Arrange tomatoes in the baking dish, open side up, and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Place the grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle lightly with salt and allow to drain for a few minutes.  Squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Heat until shimmering, then add onion and saute, stirring often, until golden and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, zucchini and golden raisins to the pan and saute an additional 2 minutes, until the zucchini has softened and the raisins are plump.  Remove from heat and add cilantro, red pepper flakes and pistachios.  Spoon the filling into the tomatoes, mounding the tops.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Garnish with additional cilantro and pistachios, if desired.

Recipe Swap: Grilled Garlic Vegetable Salad.

I am most definitely NOT a vampire.  Want to know how I can tell?  I.  Love.  Garlic.

Way back in the past when I turned 21, the (future) Husby surprised me with our very first vacation together.  The trip happened to fall at the tail end of a family vacation with my parents and little brother to San Francisco, so I had to cut the family part of my travels a wee bit short.  We had a great time taking in all of the typical SF sightseeing, and on my last night in San Fran, we went to a baseball game at Giants Stadium.

Food wise, Giants Stadium is known for their Gilroy Garlic Fries:  A giant pile of crispy potatoes fried in garlic oil and topped with minced garlic and parsley.  I giddily downed an entire order, scraping the sides of the tray with my fingers in order to get every last little bit of garlic into my mouth.  I couldn’t tell you if the Giants won or not, but I can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the garlicky goodness I consumed that night.  So.  Freaking.  Delicious.

Cut to three days later as I’m laying on a beach in the Bahamas with the man I love.  The previous week’s festivities should have been the furthest thing from my mind.  But the stench of garlic emanating from my pores reminded me around every turn.  It was worth it. :)

So while I’m a bit late posting to last week’s recipe swap (theme Summer Vegetables) due to my lack of a grill while out of town, I was pretty darn thrilled to receive my recipe from Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations.  The first step of the recipe was to roast a whole head of garlic on the grill!

Grilled Garlic Vegetable Salad – slightly adapted from Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

  • 1 Whole Head Garlic
  • 1 Zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Yellow Squash, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, tops and seeds removed
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper, tops and seeds removed
  • 1 Red Onion, halved
  • 1/2 Bunch Thick Asparagus, ends trimmed (my bunch was really thin so I used a grill basket)
  • Sesame Oil
  • Minced Fresh Ginger
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat your grill to medium-high.

Using a serrated knife, chop a small amount off of the top of the garlic head, so that it sits flat.  Drizzle with oil and wrap with aluminum foil.  Place on the top rack of the grill and allow to roast for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, toss the vegetables

Toss the vegetables with about 1 Tbsp. oil and salt and pepper.  Place directly on the grate and grill, flipping once or twice, until they start to get some color, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from grill and once cool to the touch, chop into bite sized pieces and place in a medium bowl.

When the garlic has finished roasting, allow to cool a few minutes then, remove from foil and peel.  The garlic should be soft and slide right out.

In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, sesame oil and ginger.  Pour over the vegetables, toss until coated and refrigerate until ready to serve.