Quick and Easy, Side Dishes

Black-Eyed Peas with Turnip Greens

Sorry for a long absence. Obviously, this blog has fallen off of my priorities list. What can I say? Life happens. But don’t be surprised if you see a post from me here and there in the future, though not as religiously as I had previously tried to post. And I think an update is due in the next few weeks, to the pages that are on this blog (I’ve already started, you may notice), and to its overall theme. My life is very different now and a change is appropriate.

In any case, I’m eternally curious about black-eyed peas. I tried them once before and they were fine, but not something I’d write home to my mother about. So several years ago, determined to give them another shot, I found this recipe in the “Fix-it-and-Forget-It Vegetarian Cookbook” and bookmarked it (with a real bookmark! Like…NOT on the internet!) and promptly forgot it. Until tonight. Now, how I got so many turnip greens in my freezer I am not entirely clear on, but there they were, and a package of black-eyed peas as well. I actually added in about 2 cups of fresh spinach that really needed to be used up. Now, I did have to plan ahead enough to pull these frozen things out of the freezer and thaw them, but I have to say…when I know that I’m shoving some greens into a pan to wilt them, I really like using frozen greens. They’re already cooked. I just have to let them soak up the juices. It is one of my favorite shortcuts. Plus, wilting greens is so demoralizing. You start out with so many and it boils down (literally and figuratively!) to so few.

So…black-eyed peas the second time around? Pretty dang good! This recipe was so simple. Maybe a little too simple. I feel like it could have benefited from some herbs and spices. But instead of vegetable broth I substituted some vegan no-chicken broth and that made it salty and nice, so not bad at all! I’ll be putting this back on my menu and trying some herbs and spices in it next time to see what can happen.

Black-Eyed Peas with Turnip Greens
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
16-oz. vegetable broth
16-oz. bag frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
6 cups fresh torn turnip greens or 1 package frozen turnip greens, thawed
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large saucepan, simmer turnip or potato with the onion in the vegetable broth until it can be pierced with a fork.
2. Add the beans, cover, and cook 5 minutes more.
3. Add greens and cook till wilted.
4. Season with salt and pepper.



Black-Eyed Peas with Turnip Greens

Main Course, Quick and Easy

Vegetarian Crock-pot Irish Colcannon

This may be a good idea, I thought a while ago. And it was. This actually turned out pretty great and I’ll be making it again the next time I have a head of cabbage laying around without a plan for its life. It’s a good time for crock-pot recipes here in Fresno California. The weather is hot and I swear the air conditioning can barely keep up. It’s really nice to have a crock-pot option rather than adding more heat to the house by running the oven. This recipe would go really well with some sausages…vegetarian or otherwise.

Crock-pot Irish Colcannon
6 medium potatoes, chopped
1 small cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter or margarine
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup soy milk
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup white cheddar cheese

  1. Combine everything except the milk, eggs, and cheese into a crock-pot. Set on medium for 6 hours.
  2. Turn off the heat on the crock-pot, add in the soy milk, and mash the contents using a potato masher.
  3. Pour the eggs on top of mixture in the crock-pot and turn to high for 2 hours till the eggs are set.
  4. Very quickly, so as not to lose too much of the captured heat, sprinkle the white cheddar on top and replace the lid.
  5. Continue to let it cook on high 2 hours, or till cheese is melted and eggs are cooked through. To make sure the eggs are cooked, merely tilt the crock-pot slightly and see if the mixture on top wiggles.



Slow Cooker Sauerkraut Casserole

I’m preparing to move again. As such, I’ve been working on using up the food in my kitchen. The original recipe comes from the “Fix it and Forget it Vegetarian Cookbook”  and allowed me to use up a weird stockpile of pasta that I seem to have accumulated (I almost never stockpile pasta). This was seriously the easiest recipe ever. My mother would be proud. It can’t get much easier than opening some cans and stirring. And you know what? We all need recipes like this in our lives. We need them for the hard days. And we need them for the days when we’re exhausted from work or play. And we need need them for the days when you decide you want to live a little outside of the sphere of chores and house tasks.

Now, I found the original recipe lacking a little bit the first time I made it. So I made some modifications. For one, this stuff needs a topping. The recipe is very plain so finding a topping you like is key. I tried a variety of things which you’ll see listed below. The picture here has Italian bread crumbs scattered on top. I think my favorite toppings were sauteed mushrooms and french fried onions.

Second, I have also found that this is SO easy that I get easily annoyed having to dice and saute a single onion. So I’ve altered the recipe below to add that into the ingredients, meaning that you need to pre-saute the onion. This may seem annoying but bear with me. One of the nights you’re making dinner, cut and saute two onions instead of one and then shove the rest into a Tupperware so you can just dump it in on that day. I suppose you could also use those dried onions too if you wanted. This step also cuts down on your cooking time on the day-of. This being only a 2 hour recipe you can’t very well leave it on while you’re at work all day. Prepping the onion ahead of time means you don’t have to wait even longer the day you want to make it. It also means that technically, if you have a youngster that is of the age to cook and gets home from school before you, you could leave these very easy directions next to the crock-pot on the counter and kiddo could start this after arriving home. And that means that dinner is done even sooner and you don’t have to worry about them burning down the house on a Tuesday.

Slow Cooker Sauerkraut Casserole
16-oz. package noodles, cooked and drained
28-oz. can sauerkraut, drained
3 10 3/4-oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1 small onion, diced and sauteed in butter
1 1/2 cups milk or soy milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Toppings (any, optional):
sauteed mushrooms
green onion
french fried onion

1. Mix all the ingredients in a buttered slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on high 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more milk if necessary.



Slow Cooker Sauerkraut Casserole with Italian bread crumb topping

Breads, Loaves

Coriander Bread

Coriander Bread

Coriander Bread

I really love all of Sarah Kramer’s cookbooks. I own all of them. Every single one. This recipe is from her book “The Garden of Vegan”, which I write about often here. This recipe is from that cookbook, and the ingredient list is below, but instead of providing the recipe I’m going to provide you with a link to purchase the book. With used copies, there are definitely plenty of purchasing options, and you can have this book in your hands in no time flat. I highly recommend purchasing “The Garden of Vegan” asap.

Coriander Bread
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon raw sugar
3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
3 1/4 cups flour


Lentil Soup with Ribbons of Kale

I was researching fun new ways to use kale one day and came across this recipe from cookbook author Robin Robertson. I got really excited. The recipe sounds simple and delicious, plus I’ve always wondered whether or not I’d like a Robin Robertson cookbook. Your shopping list for this recipe is below, but the link to the recipe on her website is above. I wasn’t disappointed in this. It was a great hearty soup to come home to at the end of a long day.

Lentil Soup with Ribbons of Kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups dried brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 or 5 large kale leaves, tough stems removed



Lentil Soup with Ribbons of Kale. Robin Robertson.

Soups, Uncategorized

Fennel and Tomato Soup

Confession: this is the first time I have ever tried fennel. I’m not a fan of licorice flavor so I didn’t anticipate liking it much. The truth? I was right. I hate it. I couldn’t even finish my bowl of this soup, and that’s a shame because sans fennel it would have been perfect. This recipe from “Vegetarian Times” January/February 2012 issue will definitely be made again here, though probably not with the fennel. If you’re a fennel lover (as my boyfriend is) you’ll probably really adore this soup. It’s tasty and it’s so easy. Two qualities that I love in a weeknight dinner.

Fennel and Tomato Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, diced
3 vegan Italian sausages, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons dry white wine (vinegar)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add fennel and saute 3-5 minutes.
3. Stir in sausages and fennel seeds.
4. Cook 5-7 minutes or till fennel seeds are slightly softened and bits of sausage are stuck to bottom of pan.
5. Add white wine and cook 5-10 seconds to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits.
6. Add broth, tomatoes, and parsley.
7. Cover and bring to a boil.
8. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.
9. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.


Fennel and Tomato Soup

Main Course, Quick and Easy, Side Dishes

Carrot-Cheddar Casserole

I really love my More-With-Less Cookbook. The recipe below is from it, though I have altered it slightly to make it one little bit easier (it was already a pretty simple recipe). As for crackers, I recommend Ritz. I’m particularly found of their buttery garlicky ones for this. Just a little extra decadence. This was really yummy. It tasted just a little bit like a quiche, but not quite. Because of that, it would be great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Perfect for a brunch, actually.

Carrot-Cheddar Casserole
3 cups cooked, mashed carrots
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/3 cup crushed crackers
2-3 tablespoons butter, softened
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley, chopped
more crushed crackers

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a greased baking dish, combine the ingredients and mix well.
3. Top the casserole with more crushed crackers.
4. Bake 30 minutes, or till top is nicely browned and a knife in the center comes out clean.




Carrot-Cheddar Casserole

Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes

Barley Salad


Barley Salad

I adapted this from a recipe in the Vegetarian Slow Cooker Cookbook and made it for Christmas dinner. Yes, Christmas. In case you haven’t already guessed, my life has been so incredibly hectic (for various reasons) that I have been sitting on a ton of recipes that need to be posted. I am trying to be better. I really loved this salad. It was garlicky and oniony and wonderful. I love those flavors. Most of the family wasn’t as excited about it as me because there are so many other wonderful, comfort-food-type things at a Christmas dinner, but I was proud to provide a healthy, fresh offering for those who wanted it. I haven’t made this since, but I have a feeling it’s going to appear often this summer when the air is full of heat and a chilled salad with a little bulk would be well-appreciated.

Barley Salad
1 cup uncooked barley
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook the barley in the water or vegetable broth till tender. Let it cool completely.
2. Mix the barley, kidney beans, tomatoes, green onions, and celery in a large bowl.
3. In a lidded jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Shake well.
4. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix.
5. Let it sit at least 2 hours (the longer it sits the better it is). Serve room temperature or chilled.

Main Course, Quick and Easy

Chicken with Lemon Grass or Ga Nuong Xa Ot


Chicken with Lemon Grass or Ga Nuong Xa Ot

It’s been a few years since I made a recipe from my “Street Cafe Vietnam” cookbook. I altered the recipe to use red pepper flakes and make it a bit easier. Don’t be intimidated by this dish. It’s actually incredibly simple and is one of my go-to last minute dishes for Jake when he wants some Vietnamese food but we don’t have a ton of time. To make it even easier, I keep a tube of pulverized lemon grass in my fridge at all times and follow the directions on the tube to sub the stuff in to my recipe. In the end, it’s barely any work at all, and it looks and tastes super impressive. I highly recommend this for your next busy night.

Chicken with Lemon Grass (Ga Nuong Xa Ot)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks lemon grass, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 oz. water
2 teaspoons nuoc mam (fish sauce!)
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
pinch of raw sugar
salt and black pepper, to taste

1. In a medium skillet, saute the garlic and half the lemon grass in the oil till they’re soft but not brown.
2. Add the chicken. Stir fry till all sides are white.
3. Add some of the water and stir. Then add the nuoc mam and turmeric, stirring to incorporate.
4. Add the rest of the water, continuing to stir, then add the onion and cook till it begins to soften.
5. Add the rest of the lemon grass, the red pepper flakes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
6. Cook 2-5 more minutes and serve hot over rice.

Main Course

Couscous with Snow Peas and Radishes

Couscous with Snow Peas and Radishes

Couscous with Snow Peas and Radishes

Jake really loves snow peas so I wanted to try this recipe from the Vegetarian Times website out. I didn’t have asparagus in the house, so I ended up altering the original recipe a bit. This was an okay dish, but I don’t think I’ll be making it again any time soon. It didn’t really wow either of us, unfortunately. I think it could potentially be altered to be more delicious, but I’m not exactly sure how I would do that at this moment.

Couscous with Snow Peas and Radishes
1/4 lb. snow peas, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (about 1 cup)
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 2-inch strips lemon zest
1 10-oz. pkg. couscous
3 radishes, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. chopped chives
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
1 Tbs. chopped mint

1. Cook asparagus and snow peas in large pot of boiling salted water 2 to 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
2. Bring broth and lemon zest to a boil in large pot. Put couscous in bowl, and stir in broth. Cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Discard lemon zest.
3. Fluff couscous with fork, and stir in snow peas, radishes, lemon juice, chives, parsley and mint. 4. Season with salt and pepper. Eat hot.