Green Tacos

I needed to use up kale from my garden before it went to seed. And I was in the mood for tacos. So I decided to try this recipe for sweet potato and kale taco filling. The recipe calls for grated sweet potatoes. I was a little skeptical of this, but I was pleasantly surprised. The texture was great in the tacos. The recipe is super fast and easy and very tasty. I made it with this tempeh chorizo recipe and kidney beans. The combo was great. I’ll definitely make this again. In fact I already bought another sweet potato!

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/green-tacos

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

I have a robust sweet tooth. For years I’ve been purchasing my sweets. My go-tos were frozen yogurt bars and bittersweet chocolate, with the occasional pint of lactose free ice cream thrown in. But recently, I listened to a Science Vs. podcast episode on processed foods. The episode featured a scientist describing ultra-processed foods as Clorox for your gut, taking all the good bacteria with them as they went through. That image really stuck with me. I have a lot of issues with my gut. So I decided to start making my own desserts.

This recipe for “vegan chocolate pudding” was my first attempt. The recipe calls for Mexican spices, but since I had fruit in the chococate I was using, I left those spices out. I used 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the 3/4 cup called for and found that to be enough. But I like super dark bittersweet chocolate. The recipe is ridiculously simple, essentially just chocolate, sugar, and silken tofu. But oh my goodness the result. It wasn’t really a pudding, but rather an ultra thick, rich, chocolate mousse. The kind that you only need a bit of to feel satisfied. I think in order to make it more like a pudding, you’d need to add an extra 4 oz of silken tofu.

I honestly cannot believe how good this was. I particularly enjoyed dipping strawberries in it. And amazingly, it was so rich that I found I had fewer sweets cravings throughout the day when I ate a bit of this at night. So far my homemade desserts experiment is looking like a success.

Next time I’m going to use baking chocolate so that I can better control the sweetness level. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Creamy White Beans with Herb Oil

I accidentally bought way too much cilantro for another recipe and needed to find ways to use it up. I found this intriguing recipe for white beans in an herb oil sauce on New York Times Cooking. Instead of using half cup cilantro and half cup basil, I just used 1 cup cilantro. I really try not to use canned beans, but I couldn’t find dried butter beans or cannellini so I ended up using canned cannellini. This made the recipe really fast to make.

I’d definitely make this again. It was fresh, tasty, and unusual. A solid way to dress up plain beans to make them feel indulgent.

Smoky Lentil Stew with Leeks and Potatoes

The way I cook- making two recipes each weekend that I eat all week- I have to find recipes that are interesting enough that I will want to eat them five days in a row. So I rarely make lentil soup. Usually, I find that I get bored with lentil soup after a couple days and it ends up in the trash. But this recipe from the New York times includes potatoes, leeks, and a lot of spices and seemed interesting enough to possibly eat for a full week.

I was right. The spices created much needed complexity and the potatoes added enough carb-induced instant gratification to make the recipe more satisfying than the average lentil soup. The fresh parsley really helped add extra flavor and texture to an already good recipe. This easy, cheap, and healthy stew is a winner in my book.

A couple notes for next time: It seemed silly to leave half a cup of tomatoes in the can. And after eating the stew, I was confident the extra tomatoes would only have added extra flavor. Next time I’ll just add the full can. Also, I think you could reduce the number of pots by cooking the potatoes in the same pot with the lentils. I’d just add them halfway through the lentil cooking time.

Seitan Porcini Beef Stew

I came across this recipe for a vegan “beef” stew using porcini mushrooms and vegan sausage and had to try it. I love a hearty stew, and I’d never made a vegan beef stew before. The recipe calls for homemade vegan sausage, but I was tired so I jut bought vegan sausage instead. I want to try making this again with homemade sausage, but even with the store-bought sausage, it was very very good. It took a day for the flavors to blend and come out fully, but by day two the stew was rich, flavorful, interesting, and satisfying.

Cuban Black Beans

In college I lived in an apartment with my two best friends. We cooked a lot. One of my roommates, Ellen, shared this recipe for her mother’s favorite Cuban black beans with me. The recipe came from one of her mother’s cookbooks. Creamy, sour, and a tad sweet, it quickly became one of my favorites as well. But I never got a copy of the recipe from Ellen and for years afterwards I couldn’t make it. Finally, recently I got a photo of the recipe from Ellen and went about making it once again. It didn’t disappoint.

Below is the version I make. I have greatly reduced the oil (the original recipe calls for 2 cups!) and also left out the pimentos, which are called for in the original recipe but which I never have around. I’ve also changed the steps around a bit and shortened cooking times to simplify things.

Be aware! This recipe make 12-16 servings. If you don’t want that much beans, consider halving the recipe. However, it does freeze well.

2 1/4 cups dry black beans, cooked (or 3 cans) (keep the liquid)

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cups green bell pepper, chopped

3 cups yellow onion, chopped

2 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup white vinegar

  1. Blend bell pepper and onions in a food processor until they are finely ground
  2. Heat the oil in a large stockpot
  3. Once oil is hot, add the pepper onion mixture and sauté it for 8 minutes.
  4. While the mixture is sautéing, blend 1 cup of the beans in the food processor
  5. Add the whole and blended beans, sugar, and salt to the pot, gently stir
  6. Simmer on low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
  7. Add the vinegar

Tempeh Bolognese

I was in the mood for tempeh, but didn’t want to spent a long time cooking. I found this tempeh bolognese recipe and was intrigued. I’d never tried making a vegetarian bolognese recipe, but I liked the idea of a filling sauce that didn’t require anything extra to be a full meal. I made it with dried shitake mushrooms and fresh wild stump puffballs I picked from my backyard.

I served the sauce over spaghetti squash and was surprised by how much I enjoyed the dish. The tempeh flavor was definitely present, but I didn’t mind it. The texture was very good and the dish was flavorful and filling, while only requiring 1 pot and 30 minutes to make.

I ended up needing to add extra tomatoes to make the dish saucy enough. It calls for 28 ounces of canned tomatoes, but I used a combination of fresh and canned tomatoes, which might have been why I needed extra. Also, I ran out of sauce before I finished the whole spaghetti squash. Next time I’d 1.5x the recipe.

In my book this was a winner. I’m going to keep it in my repertoire for nights when I need to make something filling and satisfying without much time or work.

Stewed Black Eyed Peas

I wanted to make something really simple to enjoy my last black eyed pea harvest of the season. I looked at a recipe for stewed black eyed peas on the New York Times and, using this recipe as my inspiration, made this recipe for stewed black eyed peas:

2 cups Fresh Black Eyed Peas

6 cups water

2 Leek Tops (Green Part Only)

1 onion, cut in quarters

Tsp salt

2 garlic cloves, peeled

I put everything in my small slow cooker and cooked on high for 5 hours. The result was delicious. Flavorful, soothing, and with surprising depth of flavor. This is my favorite black eyed pea recipe I made all summer.

There was enough broth to use in another recipe. I used it in this one, and I suspect that’s the reason that the recipe was so flavorful. https://nimbleveggies.wordpress.com/2021/11/15/farro-with-mushrooms

Farro with Mushrooms

I was looking for a recipe to use up the remainder of the mushrooms I had bought for a recipe I’d made the week before. I came upon this recipe on the New York Times and was intrigued. I used the mushrooms I had (fresh cremini and chanterelle and dried shitake) instead of those that were called for. I used half white and half red wine since I ran out of white.

Dried shitake was not a great choice. They were too chewy for the recipe. The chanterelles worked well. Even with all my changes and the odd dried mushroom choice, the recipe was very good. It is sort of reminiscent of a risotto with farro, but much faster to make since you add the liquid all at once. The flavor is really deep and rich and the fresh parsley adds complexity. I only used 5 cups of broth instead of the 6 that were called for. I’ll be making this again.

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1013008-farro-with-mushrooms?action=click&module=RecipeBox&pgType=recipebox-page®ion=all&rank=5

Note: I used the broth from this recipe. I think it’s one of the main reasons the recipe came out so flavorful. https://nimbleveggies.wordpress.com/2021/11/16/stewed-black-eyed-peas/