avocado · beans · breakfast · field roast · hummus · lentils · newbie · quinoa · salsa · soup · thanksgiving

Top 5 Vegan Starter Recipes (that’ll leave you full and satisfied)

Salad, not included!
Today, I had a friend ask me for my top 5 vegan recipes.  That question is harder than it looks 
because the answer hinges on who is asking and what they hope to discover. 
If you are a newbie vegan, then it means I have to give my favorites at all 3 meal times so you have a full days worth of food.  If you are a vegetarian looking to cut out cheese and eggs, then I want to include things with cashew cream or flax eggs to make it seem like nothing is missing.  If you are a seasoned vegan looking for meat 
substitutes to grill, then I can get into the nitty gritty of seitan or veggie burgers.  The degree of kitchen skill also plays a role too, as you don’t want to scare anyone off from trying a plant-based diet with complex techniques or obscure ingredients.
My friend today was looking for  my favorite vegan starter recipes.  I thought about this long and 
Stir Fry, not included!
hard and have come up with a list, including 2 breakfasts, a sandwich, a soup and main dish as my top 5.  (Honestly, spinach chickpea salad and stir-fry are my go to dishes for lunch and dinner respectively, but since I make it different every time and there is no wrong way to do it, I didn’t include these in the top 5).  Enjoy!  

1.    Kale Strawberry Banana Smoothie
2.    Loaded Oatmeal
3.    Spinach Mushroom Hummus Panini
4.    Lentil Soup (with Field Roast)
5.    Black Bean Brown Rice Bowl

Recipes after the jump…

Picture taken pre-vitamix
Put the ingredients in this order into a blender (Note: if using a vitamix or any other super-power blender, put the ice on top)
·      1 cup water or soy/almond/hemp/rice milk
·      1/2 cup ice
·      Optional supplements (in order of most important for me)
o   1 tbsp ground flax 
o   1 tsp ground chia 
o   1 tsp spirunlina 
o   1 tsp raw maca 
o   1 tbsp goji berries 
o   1 tbsp cocao nibs
·      4 big leaves kale (Note: Spinach might be more palatable to a first timers palate)
·      Banana
·      Handful of strawberries (frozen work the best!!)
·      Optional flavor additions:            
o   1 tbsp nut butter
o   1 pitted date
Blend until smooth.  You may have to adjust the liquid/solid ratio depending on your blender.
Tastes better than it looks! Its all about how full and great you feel after… 
2. Loaded Oatmeal (adapted from Livestrong.com’s meals for vegetarian athletes)
·      1 cup of oatmeal,
·      1 cup water or soy/almond/hemp/rice milk
·      1 tbsp. of flaxseed
·      1/2 cup frozen blueberries
·      1 banana, sliced
·      2 tbsp. of sliced/crushed almonds or walnuts
·      I tbsp peanut/almond butter
·      ¼ tsp cinnamon
Cook oatmeal according to instructions along with flaxseed and blueberries
Stir in cinnamon and nut butter.
Fold in nuts and banana and top with a little more cinnamon.
3. Spinach Mushroom Hummus Panini (adapted from Engine 2)
·      4 tbsp hummus of choice
·      2 slices Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread
·      1 medium Portabella Mushroom
·      1 1/2 cups Spinach, Raw
·      1 Green Onion, diced
·      Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce plus water to sauté
Panini bliss
Sauté the mushrooms on medium heat in a nonstick skillet for about 5 minutes or until soft. (Note: you can sauté in any liquid, so oil isn’t necessary! I like soy sauce for the flavor.  Add water as necessary)
Spread bread slices thickly with hummus. Sprinkle one side with green onions and reserve the other as sandwich top.
Using a slotted spoon to allow any liquid to drain away from the mushrooms, place them on top of the green onions.
Put spinach on top of the mushrooms. Smush it down!
Top the sandwiches with the reserved piece of bread, and press to seal.
Carefully place the sandwich in a nonstick skillet.
Place a heavy casserole dish on top of the sandwich to flatten it. (Note: if you’re locuky enough to own a Panini press, use it!)
Cook the weighted sandwich on one side over medium heat for about 5 minutes, taking care not to let it burn.
Flip sandwich and cook the other side in the same way.
When done, the panini will be quite thin and browned on both sides.
Serves 4
A one-pot meal
·      2 carrots
·      2 celery stalks
·      1 medium onion
·      4 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
·      4 cups veggie stock or broth
·      4 cups water
·      1 and ½ cups green lentils
·      Bay leaf
·      3 cups spinach/chard/kale
·      Salt and pepper to taste
·      Optional: 2 Italian field roast sausages
In a large pot, sauté coarsely chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic in a little water or stock until soft. (Note: no oil needed!) 
Then pour in the veggie stock/broth and water
Rinse and pick through lentils add to the broth and veggies.  
Throw in a couple bay leaves and pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes.
If you want, sauté chopped field road for a few minutes until browned and add to simmering soup.
Add the greens to the simmering soup in last few minutes. 
Serve hot!  I like a little sriracha in mine. 
5.  Black Bean Brown Rice/Quinoa Bowl
Serves 2
·      1 cup dry Rice/Quinoa cooked according todirections
·      1 can Black Beans 
·      1 Large Green Pepper
Plant rainbow
·      1 Large Red Bell Pepper
·      1/2 Small Red Onion
·      4 oz. Mushrooms
·      1 cup Canned Corn
·      2 Tomatoes
·      2 sprigs Cilantro, Fresh
·      1 Avacado
·      1 tbsp Chili Powder Generic
·      1 tsp Ground Cumin
·      2 cloves Garlic Clove
·      1 tsp Liquid Aminos/soy sauce
Heat the beans with water or stock, along with corn, green pepper, Bragg’s, cumin and chili powder.
Cook rice/quinoa according to directions with mushroom, red pepper, onion and garlic
To serve, place several big spoonfuls of rice/quinoa onto large plates and ladle beans on top.
Add generous of tomato, avocado and fresh cilantro on top
Add hot sauce and bam!

cole slaw · grilling · lentils · peanut butter · vegan · veggie burgers

VB (Veggie Burger) Sneak: Lentil-Mushroom Burgers with Peanut Butter Relish Slaw, Roasted Garlic Aioli, and Whiskey BBQ

Week 6: Browns vs. Bengals

Veggie Burger Cook Off, 2012 edition (Note: There were two other entries into this year’s cook off and I will have one of the other recipes posted later this week).

I wouldn’t sneak a veggie burger or any vegan dish on anyone.  But I think this recipe is so good that meat eaters will have no idea they are eating a burger made entirely of whole, plant-based foods.  It comes from Scott Jurek, a vegan ultramarthoner and author of Eat & Run.  He is role model for all vegan (and non-vegan) athletes who look for an extra edge by eating a plant-based diet.

The most common question I get is “what holds this together?” Scott’s recipe holds up well on the grill, which is key for any homemade veggie burger recipe.  A lot of cooking is trial and error.  Just like athletic events or anything challenging in life, if you fail, dust yourself off and try again.  The Browns winning today after dropping 11 in a row is a testament to that.  Making a veggie burger is similar, and you might fail the first couple of times.  However, if you follow the directions below, it will stick together very well on the grill.

Lentil-Mushroom Burger

  • 1 cup dried green lentils (2 1⁄4 cups cooked)
  • 2 1⁄2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Dash black pepper
  • A few drops of liquid smoke (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (a garlic press is a kitchen must have)
  • One large onion finely chopped
  • 3⁄4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups fine bread crumbs (I use Ian’s brand)
  • 1⁄2 cup ground flax seed (flax seed meal) 
  • 3 cups finely chopped portobello mushrooms (about 2 large caps)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups destemmed, finely chopped kale, spinach, or winter greens
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Dash sea salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • Dash paprika
  • Note: for buns I use Ezikiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Burger Buns which pack a whopping 9 grams or protein per bun! 
Bring the lentils, water, parsley, 1/4 of the onion and one of the garlic gloves to a boil.  Simmer for a half hour or until the lentils easily mush.  Add a dash of black pepper and a few drops of liquid smoke then mash together. Set aside to cool.
Lentils, by themselves, don’t look that appetizing!
Meanwhile, sautee the rest of the onions, mushrooms, kale and rest of the garlic.  Cook until soft and fragrant  about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
Sauteed veggies
Add the bread crumbs, flax seed meal, walnuts,  and nutrional yeast to a large bowl.  Season with salt, pepper and paprika.  Mix well and then add the lentils and veggie mix.  Combine well (this gets a little messy!) and put in the fridge to cool.  
Mix with your hands!
Girl, look at that patty
You can leave it as is and make patties at the tailgate or you can make the patties ahead of time.  Throw them on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side.
Patties on the tailgate
A litte burnt, but it doesn’t matter!
Peanut Butter Relish Slaw (from “Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites,” by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman.  Their book, “The Complete Guide for Vegan Food Substitutions,” is also a good one.)
  • 12 oz shredded coleslaw (I used purple and green cabbage and carrots)
  • 1 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/3 crunchy peanut butter (any excuse to use peanut butter in a recipe and I’m game)
  • 1 tablespoon capers (What the hell are capers?)
  • 2 tablespoons brine from capers 
  • 1 tablespoon dijon or stone ground mustard
  • Healthy shake of red pepper flakes
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix very well.  Place in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.  It may look a little dry at first but after it chills it gets saucy.  
You’d never think these ingredients go together
Saucy indeed
Roasted Garlic Aioli (You could use standard condiments, but what’s the fun in that?!)
  • 1/2 cup veganaise
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted (I do this ALL THE TIME)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Chop off the top of the garlic head so the cloves are just exposed.  Drizzle with a bit of oil, wrap in foil and bake for 45 minutes at 400.  Alternatively, you could peel all the cloves and bake in a rammekin with olive oil for 45 minutes.  Then drain the oil for later use (dipping bread, salad dressing etc.).
Press the garlic through a garlic press and combine with other ingredients.  Chill in the fridge.
Whiskey BBQ (also from “Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites“)
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup grape jelly
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha (god’s gift to mankind)
  • 1/4 cup whiskey (or white vinegar if you don’t have any)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustart
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Sautee the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until translucent.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for a half hour.  Take of the lid a simmer for a few more minutes.  This keeps well in the fridge so you can make ahead of time.  
Here is the final product!

Gimmie a bite. There may or may not be roasted red peppers involved.

Burger photo shoot