In the colder months, one of my favorite meals to make is chili. I have even gone so far as to buy a vegetarian chili cookbook, but I always come back to this basic recipe based off of my Mom’s Crockpot Chili. I decided for this latest version of my mom’s veganized chili, I would use more whole foods and fewer processed ingredients. So instead of frozen veggie crumbles or canned kidney beans, I used dried beans that I had soaked the night before and cooked for a couple of hours on the stove top before putting into the recipe. I used the three bean combination of black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and black beans, based on what was in my cabinets already. I used approximately 1 cup of each of these beans (post cooking), but feel free to use as many beans as you like. As a lover of beans, I tend to use a lot. I also omitted vegan cheese from this recipe. Instead of using a slow cooker, I cooked all of the ingredients in a large pot on the stove in about 1 hour. It was wonderful, spicy, and healthy! We served it with a mixed green salad and ciabatta bread from Ithaca Bakery.
After getting several green tomatoes and green beans from our CSA, I decided to go on a frying spree. Using this recipe from blogger Bianca Phillips from Vegan Crunk, featured on One Green Planet, I made some of the most amazing fried green tomatoes. Having grown up part of my childhood in the South and still having many extended family members living there, I developed a taste for fried vegetables. Once, when I was in high school, I almost burned down our kitchen making fried green tomatoes for the first time after a frying pan of oil caught on fire. Luckily no one was seriously injured and I’ve become more aware of kitchen safety. We don’t fry up too many foods like this, so I don’t feel too guilty doing it every once in a while. These were good tomatoes, but the hubs thought they could have been crispier.
I was also craving fried green beans after having some amazing ones at a local restaurant. Using this recipe from The Neelys on Food.com, I made fried green beans for the very first time. I think it could have been improved if I had been more effective in my battering style. I didn’t get the coating of batter on each green bean evenly and it affected the cooking. Also, more spices could have been added to the batter to give it more flavor. I did use Chipotle Vegenaise as a dipping sauce for the green beans, which was divine!
To add to the meal, and to use up some of the red tomatoes we got in our CSA, I made a spicy chickpea casserole based on a former recipe I created and posted about for spicy chickpeas. The only difference is that I put this recipe into a glass Pyrex dish and put slices of tomatoes on top and baked it in the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.
We’ve had abundance of corn lately that we’ve gotten from our local farmers market. Adding it to this dish seemed quite appropriate and balanced out the spicy and fried foods quite well.
A simple, yet favorite go-to meal in our house is any type of beans and greens medley. I experimented with some spices and vegetables on hand to make this chickpea dish. I was originally planning on adding hot sauce but didn’t need to because the dish was spicy enough on its own. Using a very simple collard greens recipe of only 3 ingredients, I added some wonderful greens to the mix. For another dimension of flavor, I heated up corn on the cob and viola, this meal appeared! It was healthy, hearty, packed with fiber and flavor, and gluten-free to boot!
Spicy Red Chickpeas
3-4 cups chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white cooking wine
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup sliced grape tomatoes
2 green onions, sliced & diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large pan or pot. Add red pepper and green onions and saute until they start to soften. Add garlic and stir, sauteing for 1-2 minutes (making sure not to burn). Add grape tomatoes and stir. De-glaze the pan with the white cooking wine. Add chickpeas (either dried chickpeas that you have cooked or canned) to the vegetable mixture and stir. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper, and mix well. When completely warmed throughout, serve immediately.
1 bunch collard greens
2-4 tablespoons ume plum vinegar
dash of cayenne pepper
water as needed
For the collard greens, chop one bunch of collards into strips and saute in a large skillet with 1/4 cup of water with the lid on. Saute until the collards become bright green. Add 2-4 tablespoons of ume plum vinegar and the cayenne pepper. Mix and allow to cook until the collards are softened enough to eat easily. Serve while hot.
Tuxedo Cat Desserts, Dinner, Film Reviews, Holiday Foods, Music Bailey's Irish cream, carrot soup, carrots, chickpeas, Flogging Moliy, gherkins, horror movies, Irish, Irish soda bread, kale, Leprechaun, olives, Oreos, Shamrock shakes, shepherd's pie, St. Patrick's Day, whole wheat 2 Comments
Finding alternatives for a meat-free St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t difficult. I was never a corned beef fan in my pre-vegan days anyway, so finding a substitute for salty beef was not necessary. I decided to stick with mostly whole foods and forgo any faux meat products for this year’s feast. While listening to Flogging Molly in the background, I concocted our Irish feast.
The menu consisted of an Irish Carrot Soup, Kale Salad, Chickpea Shepard’s Pie, sour gherkins, castelvetrano olives, whole wheat Irish Soda Bread, Shamrock Shakes for dessert, and a veganized Bailey’s Irish Cream.
We started off with some freshly baked whole wheat Irish Soda Bread (minus the raisins) from Happy Herbivore. The bread was dense, moist, and chewy. It was great with some vegan butter and dipped into our next soup course.
Next we had Irish Carrot Soup from this Epicurious recipe (minus the whipping cream). The soup was described by others as tasty and “carrot-y.” I found it a tad bitter for my taste, which could have been attributed to either the lemon juice or cloves included in the ingredient mix. I would make it again in the future if I omitted one or both of those ingredients.
The soup was followed by a nice green salad and our main course. I had previously made the kale salad numerous other times and blogged about it. I also have made the Chickpea Shepherd’s Pie before, but it came out even better this time because I used a different mixture of veggies from my first attempt. I used a mixed bag of frozen corn, peas, and carrots. I also added some nutritional yeast in the chickpea mixture as the original creator of the recipe recommended. Delish! The sour gherkins and castelvetrano olives were a nice salty side dish to the meal as well. Okay, so the olives were actually Sicilian (not Irish), but they were green and addicting.
Beverage wise, we were delighted by some spirits that our friend Brent brought over. The men enjoyed Guinness Extra Stout, which according to Barnivore, is the only vegan Guinness beverage. Normally Guinness is made with a fining process using isinglass (from the swimbladders of fish).
After dinner, we had a nightcap of a veganized Bailey’s Irish Cream (consisting of a coconut milk base) that was absolutely amazing. It was creamy, smooth, and sweet with just the right amount of Jameson.
Since it was a warm evening, I decided to make veganized Shamrock Shakes for dessert. I added a healthier version of Oreos to the mix for a cookies and cream appeal.
Shamrock Shakes (2 servings)
2 to 2 1/2 cups of Rice Dream vanilla ice cream
3/4 to 1 cup of rice milk
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1 cup of fresh cilantro (more or less until desired “green” color is reached)
4-6 Oreo-style cookies (broken in half)
Fresh mint for garnish (optional)
Put all of the ingredients (minus the mint and straws!) into a blender and puree until desired consistency is reached. Add more ice cream or milk depending on how thin or thick you want it. Garnish with mint and stick a straw in the glass for easier drinking.
This was the perfect blend of mint, vanilla, and cookie-goodness! The cilantro was a nice addition and wasn’t too strong or overbearing (for those who aren’t cilantro fans).
To top of our St. Patty’s Day vegan feast, we watched the campy, cult horror film Leprechaun, featuring a young Jennifer Aniston. It was hilarious and silly and the perfect ending for a great dinner with friends. It turns out that Jennifer Aniston’s character is vegetarian in the movie, thus prepping me up for another future edition of Vegetarian Protaganists in Horror Movies. Erin go Braugh!
One of the great things about following hundreds of other VeganMofo’ers is the creativity and variety of recipes you stumble upon. For the first Vegan Iron Chef Challenge, the secret ingredient was chickpeas. I ran across this divine recipe at the Unhealthy Vegan’s blog for a chickpea-based shepherd’s pie. Oh my! It had complex flavors and textures and made a hearty fall or winter meal. We served it with baby dill pickles (as per the blogger’s recommendation!), pickled beets, and a mixed green salad. Excellent!