Tag Archives: vegan

Spice Rubbed Grilled Asparagus and Bell Peppers with Roasted Corn on the Cob

Spice Rubbed Grilled Asparagus and Bell Peppers with Roasted Corn on the Cob

Stubbs Rub Grilled Veg Corn text

Barbecue spice rubs may be great on grilled and roasted meats, but have you ever thought to use them to spice up your vegetable side dishes? Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q’s variety of spice rubs are also perfect for seasoning veggies because they contain great blends of spices and flavors, like paprika, ancho chili, mustard, coffee and lime. The best part: all the seasoning you need is in one jar.

The following recipes for grilled, spice-rubbed bell peppers and asparagus, and roasted corn on the cob with rub, are great for grilling in the summertime but equally as easy to roast in the oven or on the stove top in a grill pan any time of the year. I used Stubb’s smoky Steak Rub on the bell peppers and asparagus, which has pepper, garlic, onion, and ancho chile, and I picked Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Rub because the paprika and turmeric give the corn an injection of savory flavor and a pop of orange-red pop of color.

Pick your favorite Stubb’s rub flavor combination and try it out on your grilled, roasted, sauteed, or even raw vegetables to add a quick, easy and flavorful kick to your next home-cooked meal.

Check out the recipe on Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q’s website!

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Cherry-Coconut Chia Seed Pudding with Pistachios

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Cherry-Coconut Chia Seed Pudding with Pistachios

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Remember that animal-shaped terracotta pottery from the ’80s that you had to smear wet seeds on which would later sprout “hair” (grass)? Who knew that you could, A. actually eat those slimy seeds, and B. over 20 years later they’d be revealed as a healthy addition to your diet? Yep, I’m referring to the Chia Pet and those little chia seeds that adorned them.

Formally known as Salvia hispanica, the flowering chia plant is native to Mexico. Its seeds have been cultivated for food since the age of the Aztecs, being as important a crop to them as maize (corn). When soaked in a liquid, chia seeds puff up — absorbing about 12 times their weight — and form a gelatinous outer shell (chia “gel”). Aztec warriors would use them as a portable food staple during battles, supposedly being able to be sustained for a whole day after consuming just one tablespoon of chia gel.

What is it about the chia seed that’s got the health food community going ga-ga for them, you ask? They’ve got a ton of nutrients packed into their tiny shells: the USDA claims that one ounce of chia seeds contains 9 grams of fat, 11 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of protein, and provide 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. They’re chock full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids (read: the good fats), too.
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Not-so-mellow mushrooms: Sherry-Braised Wild Mushroom Salad with Pecorino and Hazelnuts

Not-so-mellow mushrooms: Sherry-Braised Wild Mushroom Salad with Pecorino and Hazelnuts

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Though it’s an oxymoron, a warm salad is the perfect starter or main course for your table any time of the year, and I have just the recipe for you: sherry-braised mushrooms sautéed with shallots, thyme, and garlic, tossed with mixed greens, toasted hazelnuts and shaved Pecorino cheese.

Mushrooms are a great alternative to meat in a salad as they’re savory and hearty, pairing well with a variety of vinegars, nuts and cheeses. Many varieties of mushrooms are widely available in the winter and early spring months, which is why this is the perfect time to go foraging for tasty fungi at your local grocery store.

Though I didn’t go out and dig them up in my backyard, I’m using the term “wild mushrooms” with this dish because species of edible mushrooms that are either cultivated or harvested wild can be used in it. Examples of cultivated (or farmed) mushrooms include shiitake, Portobello, cremini, oyster, trumpet, etc.; mushrooms that are most commonly harvested wild (foraged) include truffle, matsutake, chanterelle, hedgehog, and, of course, the psilocybin-containing hallucinogenic ones (which I wouldn’t advise using in this recipe). Unless you’re a seasoned mushroom hunter, your safest bet is probably to buy them at the grocery store.

The key to this salad is adding the freshly sautéed mushrooms straight from the pan to the salad greens and tossing them together seconds before serving. The greens will wilt a few minutes after the hot mushrooms are added, so you don’t want them to wilt too soon before they’re eaten — they won’t taste bad, but a soggy pile of salad just isn’t pretty to look at.

Enjoy this salad as a main or first course, and pair it with a zesty Sauvignon Blanc or a medium-bodied Pinot Noir.
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Soup for Dummies: Warm up with this easy-to-make curried cauliflower-apple soup

Soup for Dummies: Warm up with this easy-to-make curried cauliflower-apple soup

Cauliflower Soup 1 logo

When the temperatures start to take a nose dive and it’s finally time to dig out the sweaters, I have one thing on my mind (besides keeping warm): soup! Synonymous with warmth and comfort, no wonder it’s such a popular dish this time of year.

The best part about soup is that it’s so darn easy to make. Seriously. You throw everything into a pot, bring it to a boil, lower it to a simmer, then let it ride for anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours (depending on what you put in it).

With most soup recipes, especially those that need to simmer for a long period of time, a lid is required during cooking to prevent the liquid from evaporating (or else you’ll just have a pot of soggy vegetables). Also, you’ll notice that soup is always cooked in a pot or saucepan with high sides instead of in a sauté pan with low sides. Why? The high sides prevent some of the moisture from leaving the pot and evaporating, while pans with low sides are designed to help wick moisture away — which is why they are great for making pan sauces and reductions.

Curried Cauliflower and Apple Soup is a creamy, dreamy dish using currently abundant seasonal produce. Cauliflower is a great base for a pureed soup because, when blended, it acquires a creamed consistency; hence no cream (or the added calorie count) is needed. The Madras curry gives the recipe an Eastern twist and a pop of flavor, but feel free to omit it or change it up with your favorite curry blend.

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A fresh take on asparagus: Asparagus-Hazelnut Pesto with Mint

A fresh take on asparagus: Asparagus-Hazelnut Pesto with Mint

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Spring is in the air which means your local grocers will have their produce aisles stocked with plenty of colorful seasonal veggies. One of the most accessible vegetables during this time of the year is asparagus. This green, stalk-like vegetable (that’s infamous for making your pee smell funny) is fantastic because it’s so very versatile — you can boil, blanch, broil, grill, steam, saute, and even roast it.

But lately, I had become bored with asparagus because I’ve used it in almost every way possible, and in just about everything. (Except in my cereal. That would be gross.) Luckily, while perusing a recent issue of Food and Wine magazine, I stumbled upon a recipe that used asparagus as a base for pesto. Huzzah! I had to try it, but of course, put my own spin on it as well.

The original version is very similar to traditional Italian pesto, containing basil, olive oil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I decided to use mint in place of basil as it adds a cooling note to the dish. My adaptation of the pesto will also put a spring in your step as it is lighter in calories than most other recipes. I didn’t use much oil in it (water is great for thinning it out without adding calories) and I omitted the Parmesan cheese that’s traditionally used in most pestos — therefore it’s also vegan. But I promise this recipe doesn’t sacrifice any of the flavor (but it’ll still probably make your pee smell funny).
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“Quick and Dirty” Greens: Braised collard greens with mustard spice rub

“Quick and Dirty” Greens: Braised collard greens with mustard spice rub

Collard Greens logo

Though traditional, “low and slow” cooked collard greens are grand, these greens can also be cooked (as I like to say) “quick and dirty” in a fraction of the time. Braising or stir frying collard greens at a high temperature keeps their verdant color and also helps to tenderize them quickly.

To kick up my collards, I like to use dried spices and — as every good Southerner does — a splash of red wine vinegar. Dried mustard powder goes well with sauteed greens, so I decided to use Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub. The dried mustard, smoked salt, honey and garlic complement the slightly bitter taste of the greens.

The next time you need a quick, vitamin- and nutrient-packed side dish, be sure to give this dish a try!
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Swoon-worthy ‘Shrooms: Mushroom Bourguignon, a vegan take on the classic French dish

Swoon-worthy ‘Shrooms: Mushroom Bourguignon, a vegan take on the classic French dish

What if I said that you could take an amazing dish that’s traditionally made with beef and make it equally as delicious with a swap-out of mushrooms?

If you’re thinking about taking on the seemingly daunting task of cooking for your sweetheart this Valentines Day, but haven’t a clue what to make, then you’ve come to the right place. Yes, you could go the usual route and do the steak and potatoes thing, but it’s so…common. And what if your date isn’t of the omni/carnivore persuasion, eh? What if I said that you could take an amazing dish that’s traditionally made with beef and make it equally as delicious with a swap-out of mushrooms? Now you’re curious. Read on.

The following is a great twist on the classic French dish, Boeuf (beef) Bourguignon, where beef stew meat is cooked with carrots, onions, herbs and tomato paste. It is then simmered in red wine until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened and concentrated all of those lovely flavors into a savory, gravy-like sauce. This mushroom bourguignon replaces the beef with hearty mushrooms, like portobellos and criminis, but uses the same techniques — and most of the same ingredients — as the original. The traditional dish uses pearl onions, but I opted for peas as they give the dish some more color. Even better, this mushroom version takes a fraction of the time to cook.

Lastly, I must give credit where it’s due. This recipe was adapted from the original incarnation of Mushroom Bourguignon by Deb Perelman on SmittenKitchen.com. It’s featured in her new cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and the first time I laid eyes on the recipe — and the book — I was smitten. I highly recommend picking up this book; it’s full of dazzling looking dishes that are great for cooks of any skill level, and it features both meat and vegetarian main dishes.
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East Meets West: Enjoy a twist on a classic with these Indian-inspired enchiladas

East Meets West: Enjoy a twist on a classic with these Indian-inspired enchiladas

Not the prettiest enchiladas, but the bold flavors make up for its looks.

Experimenting with food and flavors is a passion of mine and I love to “explore” the globe through its cultures and their cuisines. Sometimes, I like to be region-specific with my cooking, and other times I, in the immortal lyrics of Fleetwood Mac, like to “go (my) own way” by using a basic flavor profile and letting the creativity flow.

This past week, my culinary journey was at a fork in the road. You see, I had a craving for cheesy Mexican enchiladas with tomato sauce, but also had the itch to experiment with some Indian flavors and wanted make the dish a little healthier. Thus, these vegetarian, gluten-free Indian enchiladas were born. I used a few basic spices that can be easily found in the spice aisle at most grocery stores — save for the Indian chili powder that can be found at an Indian grocer or easily substituted with regular chili powder — and some easy-to-find ingredients commonly found in most Indian cuisines, like butternut squash, chickpeas and tomatoes.

Paneer cheese, a fresh farmer-style cheese that doesn’t melt, is a star ingredient in the filling. It holds up to high heat cooking and adds both bulk and protein to the filling. Paneer can be found at specialty and Indian grocery stores, but can be easily substituted with firm tofu (this would then make the dish vegan as well).

Even if you’ve never cooked Indian food before, this recipe is very approachable and can be adjusted to your taste and spice level: leave out the spicy chilies for a milder sauce or add more if you’re a heat-seeker, substitute the kale with spinach, and you can even use different types of winter or summer squash in the filling if you please.
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Raw Ambition: Fudgy Raw Brownie Bites

Raw Ambition: Fudgy Raw Brownie Bites

What would you say if I told you that these fudgy gems (see photo) were not only utterly delicious but also incredibly good for you? They’re also quick and easy to prepare, plus there’s no heat involved in their creation — they’re raw!

These brownie bites are chock-full of chocolatey goodness, and bonus: they’re gluten-free, vegan and filled with beneficial vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and protein — thanks to superfoods like nuts, dates, raw cacao and coconut.

I know some of you might be wondering how can I give you a dish swimming in cream and cheese one week and then turn around and offer a recipe for what some would consider “earthy, crunchy hippie food” the next. It’s because life is about balance. And just because you have to get healthy foods into your diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor.

To further sell you on these, let’s break down the health benefits in the ingredients: Medjool dates have a rich flavor and act as both a natural sweetener and a binder for these brownies. They’re used in many raw desserts and are a great replacement for sugar or honey, plus they have high levels of potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese, and are a great source of fiber. Nuts — in this case pecans — are ground up and serve as the “flour” for the brownies. Nuts contain both protein and contain healthy unsaturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids (particularly pecans and walnuts), which aid in the prevention of vascular diseases.

Powdered raw cacao is the pure, ground form of the “meat” of the cacao bean, also known as the “nib.” This is the raw form of chocolate before it has been mashed into a paste and melted down. Not only does cacao contain a natural chemical which acts as an aphrodisiac (aka: theobromine), it also has more antioxidant flavonoids (cancer and cardiovascular disease fighters) than any other food, and has up to four times more antioxidants than green tea. As for the coconut, it is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.

If I’ve sold you on these brownies’ salubrious benefits (or haven’t scared you off with all this healthy talk), be sure to give them a try. You’ll wonder why you ever wasted the empty calories on those standard baked ones.
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Asian-inspired Soba Noodle Salad recipe

Asian-inspired Soba Noodle Salad recipe

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As the temperature starts to rise (at least in this part of the country), its time for some refreshing and simple dishes for those hotter days, like my Asian-inspired cold soba noodle salad. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and have a heartier, more substantial texture than regular pasta noodles. In Japan, they’re used in a variety of ways throughout the year: cold in the summer in a salad (like this one) or hot in a soup or broth in the winter months, and in a multitude of variations. Surprisingly enough, soba noodles are now more widely available now bring in the ethnic aisle many grocery stores. Or you could take a culinary adventure to your local Asian market and pick up other interesting ingredients to play with.

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