Daily Vegan Lunch for 15 December, 2013: Spinach Falafel

vegan spinach falafel IMG_3828Shown with roasted fingerling potatoes that look like sausages and taste like what you’d expect: mini baked potatoes.

FALAFEL INGREDIENTS:

1 fifteen ounce can chickpeas (about 1.5 cups) rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons plus one tablespoon any type of flour, I used chickpea flour
1 teaspoon cumin
Oil for frying

CREAMY TAHINI SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon vegan cream cheese (I used homemade cashew cream cheese recipe from 5 September)
1 tablespoon tahini
1/3 cup water
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Make the falafel.  In a blender or food processor, combine chickpeas, spinach, garlic, 2 tablespoons tahini, cumin, lemon juice, and salt.  Process until it is almost but not quite a paste.

Transfer chickpea mixture into a bowl and add 4 tablespoons of flour, stirring in completely.  Put remaining tablespoon of flour in the middle of a plate or small cutting board.

Heat about 1 inch of oil in a pan that IS NOT NON-STICK to the smoking point.  I prefer to use a small cast iron pan for this.

Put flour on your hands from the plate and use your flowered hands to roll several meatball sized blobs of chickpea-spinach mixture.  The mixture will be a bit sticky.  Flatten each ball a little to make a flatter shape.  Drop them (carefully) into the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes each side or until browned.  Turn them over in the oil once.  Makes about a dozen falafels depending on ball size.

To make the sauce, combine veggie cream cheese, garlic, and tahini in a small bowl, mash together.  Add water a little at a time, stirring in as you go until it is the right thickness for you.  Add salt to taste.

Serve the falafels in oven-warmed pita bread with some shredded or chopped cucumber and tahini sauce.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 6 December, 2013: Polenta with Broccoli and Spinach Mix

vegan polenta broccoli and spinach

IMG_3799

BROCCOLI SPINACH MIX INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cups broccoli florets
1 cup frozen spinach
1.5 cups onions
2 teaspoons oil
1.5 cups vegetable boullion
1/2 cup roasted red pepper (I used some from a jar) chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
3 cloves garlic, minced or about one tablespoon

POLENTA INGREDIENTS:

1 cup cornmeal or polenta
About 3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup plant milk, I used almond OR one additional cup of broth or water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tablespoons oil
Salt to taste

Mix cornmeal, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder in a bowl. Bring the 3 cups of vegetable broth to a boil and immediately turn heat to low-medium. Add the cornmeal mixture and the oil to the pot and stir. Add almond milk until the texture resembles thick porridge. Add salt to taste. Cover and take polenta off heat.

In a large frying pan, cook onion in oil on medium-high heat until it is translucent. Add garlic, cook 30 seconds more. Add broccoli florets and spinach plus 2 tablespoons of broth or water. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Allow to steam about a minute and a half. Stir in roasted pepper. Mix the cornstarch or arrowroot with the remaining broth. Pour the broth into the pan and stir until thickened.

Serve the broccoli-spinach mix over the polenta.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 29 November, 2013: Angel Hair Pasta with Peas, Spinach, and Pine Nuts

vegan angel hair pasta with peas, spinach, and pine nuts

IMG_3764

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups cooked angel hair pasta or about half a box
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen spinach
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
liberal black pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare pasta according to package directions, cover and set aside.

Dry roast the pine nuts in a shallow pan by spreading them out in the pan and turning the stove’s heat to medium. In about 5 minutes, the pine nuts will become fragrant. Stir them around and roast about 1 more minute. Take them off the heat and set aside.

Defrost the spinach and the peas in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little water, drain if necessary. Fry the garlic in 1 teaspoon of the oil on medium heat in a shallow pan. Add the defrosted spinach, and peas to the pan.

Put the spinach mixture in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the noodles, pine nuts, and remaining oil to the noodles and vegetables. Pour or squeeze the lemon juice on the noodles and add the pepper. Mix well and taste test. If it needs salt, add that and remix.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 25 November, 2013: Emerald Green Soup

vegan dark green soup IMG_3723INGREDIENTS:

2 cups onion, chopped
1 tablespoon oil
5 cups chard
2 cups frozen spinach
5 cups vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, fry the onion in oil on medium heat until it is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, sauté about 30 seconds.  Add nutmeg and thyme, sauté about 30 more seconds.  Add frozen spinach (or 3x the amount if using fresh spinach) and chard and vegetable broth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Finish by taking about 2 cups of soup out of the pot and blending or food-processing it into a puree, then pour it back into the original batch.  I used my stick blender and just stuck it right in the soup pot and blended until the soup was thick enough for my tastes.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 20 November, 2013: Grilled Pepper, Spinach, and Cashew Cheez Sandwich

grilled pepper and spinach cheez sandwich IMG_3705
INGREDIENTS:

Per sandwich

2 slices bread (I used sourdough)
1.5 cups roasted red bell pepper (I used Italian ones from a can) or fresh tomato slices
2 cups fresh spinach leaves

3/4 cup cashew cheez

Oil for frying

CASHEW CHEEZ INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cups cashew pieces
1/4 cup raw onion
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 a lemon’s juice
1 cup oats
2 cups water
1 roasted red bell pepper (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons miso

DIRECTIONS:

Combine cheez ingredients in a high speed blender OR if you don’t have a high speed blender, use cashew butter instead of cashew pieces and pre-cook oats in water in microwave for 2 minutes, then combine and blend in normal blender.

This makes enough cheez for 4 servings.

Put spinach in a bowl and microwave 30 seconds.  Alternately, wilt it in a small pan on medium heat with a teaspoon of water for 3 minutes.

Spread both slices of sandwich bread with about 1/4 cup or so of cheez.  Add slices of bell pepper and wilted spinach.

Oil a griddle on medium heat and fry the sandwich for about 2 minutes on one side or until golden brown and toasty.  Then flip and fry for 1 more minute.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 8 November, 2013: Spicy Spaghetti with Spinach and Pinto Beans

fat free spicy pasta with greens and olives

INGREDIENTS:

5 cups cooked angel hair pasta

1 teaspoon oil (optional)
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1 cup pinto beans, drained
2 tablespoons prepared spaghetti sauce
3/4 cup vegetable broth

3 cups spinach leaves
1 cup sliced black olives
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pine nuts, to serve

DIRECTIONS:

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, set aside. In a frying pan on medium heat, heat oil and briefly fry garlic, about 30 seconds. Add pinto beans, chili sauce, spaghetti sauce, and vegetable broth. Heat through, about 2 minutes. Add spinach leaves and black olives and cook until spinach wilts. Serve on angel hair pasta. I sprinkled it with pine nuts as you can see.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 26 October, 2013: White Bean and Spinach Pizza

vegan white bean spinach pizza

INGREDIENTS:

1 store bought pizza crust or pre-cooked pizza crust (alternately you can use tortillas or pitas as I often do)
2 cups cooked white beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups spinach leaves

2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes and their water or oil
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake pizza crust by itself for 5 minutes (this is for an extra crunchy crust, you can omit this step if you like softer crust). Mix salt, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, vegan mayonnaise, and olive oil in a bowl, stir well. Spread the crust with the tomato/mayo/garlic/olive oil mixture. Evenly top the pizza with white beans and spinach leaves. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 19 October, 2013: Black Lentil, Potato, and Spinach Stew

vegan black lentil, potato, spinach stew indian

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup black or brown lentils
3 cups of water

1 tablespoon oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups potatoes, peeled and chunked
2 cups additional water

3 cups fresh spinach leaves (or use 1.5 cups frozen spinach)
1 heaping tablespoon fresh minced garlic
2.5 cups pureed tomatoes (I used tomatoes from the garden and put them in the food processor for 45 seconds)

SPICES:
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

In a small pot or pan, combine lentils and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer on medium heat. Cook uncovered until lentils soak up all the water.

Fry onion in the bottom of a large soup pot on medium-high heat until translucent. Turn heat down to low. Add spices and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Bring heat back up to high. Add potatoes and 2 cups additional water and boil until potatoes are tender and 1 cup of the water is boiled off. Add spinach, garlic, and puréed tomatoes and cook until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 13 October, 2013: Sushi Maki With Cooked Fillings

more vegan sushi

INGREDIENTS:

2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1.5 cups spinach leaves
1 cup maitake or oyster mushrooms
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

4 cups cooked sushi rice (I used Botan calrose rise)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

3 nori sheets

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS: Rinse and cook sushi rice according to package directions. Mix vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave until sugar dissolves. Dump the vinegar mixture into sushi rice and stir. Taste and add salt if needed.

Oil a large pan and bring to medium heat. Sauté carrots, mushrooms, and spinach on 3 different sides of the pan. Keep them separate and add water a teaspoon at a time to the spinach pile until the spinach pile wilts. Once it does, take the spinach out. The mushrooms, now slightly browned, can be taken out. The carrots will soften in about 5 minutes. Take them out before they lose too much firmness.

Roast the sesame seeds by putting them in a small, dry pan (no oil) at medium heat. In about 5 minutes, they will start becoming golden-brown. Take them off the heat as soon as they start browning noticeably. Set aside.

Make the rolls. Place nori sheet shiny side down on a clean, dry surface. Start by spreading about 1.5 cups rice evenly across a nori sheet. Next, lay a strip of carrots, mushrooms, and spinach about 1/4 of the way in to the nori. Sprinkle with a big pinch of roasted sesame seed. Roll the fillings into the roll. Some people use a mat for this but I do not. Set the roll seam side down on a clean surface. Once you have finished rolling all three rolls, cut them into bite sized pieces with a serrated knife.

Heat

Daily Vegan Lunch for 12 October, 2013: Creamy Spinach and Potato Curry

creamy vegan curried spinach and potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon oil
2 cups onion, chopped
3 cups frozen organic spinach
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I used my own made of cashews and almond yogurt)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the peeled potato cubes in 2 teaspoons of oil and sprinkle with spices in a baking pan. Toss them to coat. Put into the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, toss the potatoes and cook for 20 more minutes.

In a large pot, fry the 2 cups chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add the additional teaspoon cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and coriander. Toss for about one minute until spices are fragrant. Add the spinach and vegetables broth to the pot and cook it until the spinach thaws and is heated through, up to 20 minutes. Add the garlic and the cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese is incorporated. Lastly, add the cooked potatoes to the resulting stew. Serve with rice.