Skillet Green Beans & Mushrooms

Skillet Green Beans & Mushrooms

Crispy Air Fried Onions

Every holiday season a popular side dish shows up on many dining tables. The Green Bean Casserole is a timeless, and time-worn, holiday favorite in the United States. The main ingredients are green beans, cream of mushroom soup and French’s Crispy Fried Onions. With all the other rich food that is typically served for the holidays do we really need this mushy, fat-laden casserole? I say “nay-nay.” So why not enjoy it as the main focus of an everyday meal? Why not indeed! Rather than approaching this as a casserole and smothering it with mushroom gravy I decided to make it as a skillet dinner. I prefer my vegetables cooked long enough to allow the aromatic flavors to seep in yet still have some bite to them. By browning the mushrooms, green beans and onions separately and making a light gravy prevents each ingredient from getting lost in the sauce. While manning the stove, I air fried onion slices without any oil in an air fryer and pressure cooked mashed potatoes in an instant pot. You can use all of the air fried onions to top off the skillet or use the extras in other recipes. Make this Green Bean & Mushroom Skillet dinner and enjoy a healthy, holiday-worthy food any day of the year. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Skillet Green Beans & Mushrooms

Olive oil (optional)
8 oz. cremini or white button mushrooms, cut into thick slices
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced and divided
1 lb. green beans, stems removed
1 cup water or vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons soy milk
1 Tablespoon corn starch
Salt and pepper to taste

Place slices from one onion in the basket of an air fryer. Air fry at 325F until the onions are golden and crisp. While onions are frying, prepare the vegetables.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. (You can coat the skillet with a small amount of oil if desired.) Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the onions to the skillet and cook until golden, adding water one tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking. Add green beans and stir to combine. Add more water and cover. Cook until green beans are tender. Add mushrooms to skillet.

Whisk together water or broth, soy milk and corn starch. Add to skillet and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange air-fried onions over top. Remove from heat and serve over mashed potatoes.


30 Sep 2018

Apple & Oat Muffins

Apple & Oat Muffins

I love to cook and bake, so sometimes it’s hard to choose which recipes to share. Sometimes it depends on the weather. We’re in a cold and rainy weather pattern this week so I figured it’s a good time to stock the freezer with some baked goods before Indian Summer decides to roll in. I’ve been making Glorious Morning Muffins with oats, oranges and carrots for a few years and decided to come up with a version using apples. This recipe for Apple & Oat Muffins is loaded with apples and oats. What it doesn’t have is any oil, refined sugar or refined flour. (If you used gluten-free oats, then it doesn’t have any gluten either.) There’s only two tablespoons of almond butter so they are low in fat. What isn’t missing from these muffins is moisture or flavor. They’re good for breakfast, coffee break or as a snack. Bake a batch today and make it a Vegi-curious day.

Apple & Oat Muffins

makes 12 muffins

Liquid Ingredients:

½ cup applesauce
½ cup chopped dried pitted dates
1 Tablespoon flax meal
2 Tablespoon almond butter
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¾ cup plain non-dairy milk (soy, almond, cashew)
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Dry Ingredients:

2-1/4 cups old-fashioned whole oats (not instant)
1 tablespoons non-aluminum baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

1 apple, grated
¼ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners for small muffins.

Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to break up the oats slightly. Remove and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add the liquid ingredients to the food processor and process until the dates are finely minced. Add to the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold in grated apple and raisins.

Using a scoop or large spoon, fill the muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the pan once about halfway through. Cool about 10 minutes before removing to a rack.


11 Sep 2018

A Grandmother’s Magic: Cauliflower Breakfast Burrito

Cauliflower Breakfast Burrito

I spent a lot of time cooking with my grandmother and picked up a few of her good habits. She never wasted food. She had a way of using leftovers to create completely different dishes that was almost magical. And she was able prepare a meal off the top of her head without using any measuring cups. She would just add ingredients into a pot and serve up a delicious meal, much like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. And that’s how I learned to cook. When I develop a recipe it usually starts out with me just throwing ingredients together. If I think others will like it I’ll write it down. So here’s how I came up with today’s Cauliflower Breakfast Burritos. I had some roasted cauliflower and No-Cook Cheese Sauce left over from two different recipes that I made earlier in the week. I re-heated the cauliflower in a non-stick skillet, seasoned it with turmeric, Indian black salt and vegan bacon salt, stirred in the cheese sauce then wrapped it up in a whole wheat tortilla. You don’t need a recipe for the burritos, so I’ll share the recipe for the cheese sauce in this post. You could forego the sauce and simply add some nutritional yeast into the cauliflower. You can add in other cooked vegetables like peppers, onions, zucchini and even black or pinto beans. Why not top it with your favorite salsa or hot sauce? You could probably use a bag of frozen riced cauliflower in a pinch. It’s really up to you, so throw together some breakfast burritos and make some magic of your own. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

No-Cook Cheese Sauce

½ cup raw cashews, soaked and drained
½ sun-dried tomato (soaked with cashews)
6 Tablespoons soy milk
½ teaspoon lactic acid (or 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon prepared mustard
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients into container of high-powered blender and process until smooth. Pour into squeeze container and refrigerate.

03 Sep 2018

Rutabaga “Fundue”

Rutabaga Fundue

Our favorite restaurant for vegan food is Vedge in Philadelphia. It’s an hour away from where we live, so we reserve a table for special occasions or when I’m really craving their Rutabaga Fondue.  Fondue is a Swiss dish made with melted cheese served with cubes of bread for dipping. Vedge calls itself a “vegetable restaurant,” so there’s no cheese in their fondue. Their take on fondue is a creamy spread that has a subtle cheesy taste and is served with pumpernickel pretzels and their pickles of the day. Philly’s a long ride to endulge a craving, so I tried to come up with my own version a few years ago. I wasn’t too thrilled with the results so I put that recipe on the back burner . . . until now. I had some extra cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese and thought it might be a good base for rutabaga fondue. I boiled a rutabaga and blended it with the cheese sauce. It was delicious. The next time I made the fondue I simplified the recipe by eliminating the need to make the cheese sauce as a separate step in the process. This version came out just as tasty. Since there is no cheese in this recipe it’s not fondue, so I’ll just call it “fundue.” Make a bowl of Rutabaga Fundue and have some fun with food. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Rutabaga Fundue

8 oz. rutabaga, peeled and cubed
¼ cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove

¼ cup raw cashews, soaked
1 whole sundried tomato, soaked

2 Tablespoons dry white wine (optional)

2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon miso paste

Place the rutabaga, onion and garlic in a saucepot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then simmer until the rutabaga is soft, about 20 minutes. Try to let all of the liquid evaporate. At this point you can continue to cook the rutabaga until it starts to brown. Add white wine and cook until evaporated.

Place the cooked vegetables, raw cashews, sundried tomatoes, nutritional yeast and miso paste in food processor or high-powered blender. Process on high until very smooth.

Serve warm or at room temperature with crackers, vegetables, soft pretzels or bagel chunks.

25 Aug 2018

The “Other” Red Sauce: Spaghetti with Sun-dried Tomatoes & Roasted Red Peppers

Sundried Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper with Spaghetti

I got the idea for this recipe from a Bosh video for red pepper pesto. There was no basil in it, so I couldn’t quite figure out what ingredients were common to a pesto recipe. (Maybe it was the garlic and olive oil.) Well, it looked good anyway so I decided to rework it to into a whole food, plant-based recipe. The biggest difference in my recipe is that there is absolutely no oil. I thought the addition of some vodka (a la penne with vodka sauce) or white wine would be a nice addition, but you wouldn’t miss the booze if you left it out. I used miso paste instead of salt as it lends a sharp sensation similar to Parmesan. Since I was going for an Italian-inspired pasta dish I cut back on the amount of nutritional yeast as this ingredient tends to make recipes taste overly macaroni-and-cheesey, and not in a good way. By using half the amount of nutritional yeast (and don’t forget the miso effect) I was able to create a subtle cheese flavor. When all was said and done, I nicknamed this recipe the “other” red sauce not only because of the sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers but because I could see this being a close runner-up to my go-to marinara sauce. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask “how can something taste so good and be so good for you?” Try the “other” red sauce and find out for yourself. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Spaghetti with Sun-dried Tomatoes & Roasted Red Peppers

Makes two large or three small servings

½ cup blanched almonds (or almond flour)
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, soaked (¼ cup for sauce, ¼ cup for tossing)
2 roasted red peppers (1 whole for sauce, 1 chopped for tossing)
1 to 2 large garlic clove
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
¼ cup white wine or vodka (see * in recipe)
1 teaspoon miso paste
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional roasted peppers & sundried tomatoes to mix in
Pignoli nuts
Fresh basil, chopped
8 oz. dry pasta, cooked according to package directions reserving 1 cup of the pasta water

Place the almonds into a container of a high-powered blender. Process on high until the almonds are the consistency of flour. Add ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes, 1 roasted pepper, garlic, nutritional yeast and miso into blender container. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Cook and drain pasta, reserving one cup of the pasta water. Add 2 tablespoons of the wine or vodka and ½ cup of pasta water to the pot. Boil for 30 seconds to cook off the alcohol. Add the pasta to the pot then add one half of the sauce.(Note: Since I like my pasta with a light coating of sauce, I used one half of the sauce for eight ounces of pasta. I recommend mixing half of the sauce with the cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the pasta water then start adding more sauce and water as you like.) Mix well. Add the chopped roasted peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle top with pignoli nuts and basil.





07 Aug 2018

Summer Breeze: Small Batch Gazpacho


Small Batch Gazpacho

The other day Bruce and I had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Lily Asian Cuisine Sushi & Grill. Bruce ordered their Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho. It was bright, refreshing and delicious. I usually make gazpacho only once a year when there are mountains of tomatoes at the local farm stands. Because I like to make recipes in large quantities, gazpacho becomes a monumental task and I get tired of eating it every day for a week. I wanted to come up with a recipe that’s a breeze to make and gives me just the right “dose” of gazpacho so I won’t get bored from over-consumption.  I used tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, Kirby cucumber, wine vinegar, hot sauce and basil. You can vary the ingredients and their ratios to one another according to what you have on hand and what you like to eat. You can make it your own by using different types of tomatoes, adding some jalapenos, swapping zucchini for the cucumber, using scallions instead of red onion or replacing the basil with another fresh herb. This comes together so quickly that you can have lunch on the table in 20 minutes and have plenty of time for summer fun. Headed to the beach? Simply fill up mason jars the night before and you’re ready to go. And don’t worry if you forget a spoon; you can drink it right from the jar. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Small Batch Gazpacho

1 garlic clove
2 large, ripe tomatoes
1 small Kirby cucumber
¼ of a bell pepper
¼ of a small onion
Red wine vinegar
Hot sauce
Fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Place garlic clove in mini-chopper and process until minced. Cut tomatoes into chunk and add to the mini-chopper. Pulse until desired chunkiness is achieved. Pour into to a large bowl. Cut the cucumber, bell pepper and onion into chunks. Place in the mini-chopper and pulse until finely chopped. Add to tomatoes. Add a splash of vinegar, a few drops of hot sauce and basil. Stir. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until cold. The gazpacho can be served cold or at room temperature. Garnish with a dollop of non-dairy yogurt.


24 Jul 2018

Call Me Crazy: Chickpea Breakfast Scramble

Chickpea Breakfast Scramble

When I talk to my omnivorous family and friends, sometimes I wonder if they think I’m crazy. I was known to be a real foodie that loved to cook and enjoyed dining out, so the thought of me adopting a plant-based lifestyle was a bit of a surprise. Well, it’s almost six years later — I still love to cook. I’d enjoy dining out if there were more accommodating restaurants around. And, I’m still living the plant-based life.

One morning last week I spotted some leftover Chickpea Salad with Mock Mayo  in the fridge and thought I’d have it on toast for breakfast. While I was waiting for the toast to pop up, I was studying the chickpea salad. Call me crazy, but it started to look like scrambled eggs. I decided to saute some mushrooms, onions and bell peppers and folded in the chickpea salad. Okay, so maybe I’m a little crazy, but this scramble reminded me of the taste and texture of scrambled eggs. The addition of black salt and turmeric contribute to the  “eggy” taste and color. I recommend using overcooked chickpeas when you make the salad for a softer texture. What’s nice about this recipe is that you can make the salad for lunch earlier in the week (the recipe is here), warm the leftovers in the microwave, then add whatever cooked vegetables you have in the fridge. Crazy? Yes, but crazy good! Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Chickpea Breakfast Scramble

Leftover Chickpea Salad
Cooked vegetables (peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.)

Place the chick pea salad and vegetables in a small bowl and cook in microwave until warm. Try not to overheat the scramble as it will become dried out. Serve with toast or home fries.




27 Jun 2018

Domino Effect: Chickpea Salad Sandwich & Mock Mayo

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

There are times when my recipes take on a “domino effect.” A domino effect is the “cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events.” A few weeks ago I came up with a recipe for macaroni salad that’s made with my very own mock mayo, a blend of raw cashews and soy yogurt. The mock mayo is so tasty that I couldn’t stop thinking about other ways I could enjoy this creamy condiment. I decided to start by updating my Chickpea Salad Sandwich recipe. The original version uses avocado to impart a mayonnaise-like creaminess to the texture of the chickpeas. For this recipe I added a few tablespoons of mock mayo to smashed chickpeas, onions and celery. I assembled the sandwich as usual by layering the salad, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce on toasted bread. Wow! This reminded me of the classic egg salad sandwiches I used to love. If you don’t like the taste of hard-cooked eggs just omit the black salt and you’ll still have a delicious sandwich. And don’t worry about any leftover mock mayo as I have a few more tricks up my sleeve. I’ll be posting a scrumptious Chickpea Breakfast Scramble very soon. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Mock Mayo

Mock Mayo:

½ cup raw cashews, soaked and drained (see note)
½ cup soy yogurt
½ teaspoon black salt
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar

Place cashews, yogurt, black salt, mustard and vinegar in blender container and process until creamy. Add about six tablespoons to pasta and stir using a rubber scraper. Fold in the onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper. Add more mock mayo for a creamier salad. Season the salad with salt and black pepper to taste.

Note: if you want a thicker consistency do not soak the cashews.

To make the salad:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ small onion, chopped fine
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
1 teaspoon mustard of your choice
Sliced bread, lettuce, tomato, pickles

Place chickpeas in a medium bowl. Use a fork or potato masher to smash the chickpeas until they resemble chopped hard-cooked eggs. Add the onion, celery, mustard and a few tablespoons of mock mayo. Stir to combine. Add more mock mayo as desired.

To assemble sandwich, spread a layer of mashed chickpea on bread. Spread on a layer of smashed avocado, then layer on tomato, lettuce and pickles.

Makes 3 to 4 sandwiches.













21 Jun 2018

“Bring Out the Best”: Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Mock Mayo

One of my favorite summer barbeque side dishes is macaroni salad. I make a distinction between “macaroni” salad and “pasta” salad. Macaroni salad is the classic side dish made with mayonnaise. Pasta salad, typically made with an oil-based dressing, started popping up at barbeques years later. People started getting very creative with pasta salads and starting tossing in ingredients like tomatoes, cheese, olives, basil, etc. I was feeling a bit nostalgic and longed for a good old-fashioned macaroni salad. The biggest obstacle, of course, is an oil-free substitute for mayonnaise. My all-time favorite mayonnaise was know for it’s slogan, “Bring Out the Best,” so I was going to do my best to bring out the best flavor in a most healthy way. Since I always have raw cashews and home-made soy yogurt on hand and have had some success making dressings using these two ingredients, these were the main ingredients for my mock mayo. I used black salt as it lends a hard-cooked egg taste to dishes. A little ground mustard, white vinegar and sugar added just enough tempered tang to the mock mayo. I added onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper for some crunch and flavor. I used six tablespoons of the mayo for 8 oz. of macaroni and will save the rest for another recipe. If you like your macaroni salad creamier, go right ahead and use it all up. I was quite pleased with the results. My macaroni salad was creamy, crunchy and tasty. Bring this classic side dish to your next barbeque and bring out the best in delicious, healthy food. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Macaroni Salad

8 oz. dry macaroni (elbows, pipette), cooked according to package directions

Mock Mayo:

½ cup raw cashews, soaked and drained (for a thicker “mayo” do not soak)
½ cup soy yogurt
½ teaspoon black salt (substitute kosher or sea salt)
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar

½ small yellow onion, minced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, grated
½ red or green bell pepper, chopped
Salt and black pepper

Drain macaroni and place in large serving bowl.

Place cashews, yogurt, black salt, mustard and vinegar in blender container and process until creamy. Add about six tablespoons to pasta and stir using a rubber scraper. Fold in the onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper. Add more mock mayo for a creamier salad. Season the salad with salt and black pepper to taste.

08 Jun 2018

Decompress: Hibiscus Sangria

Hibiscus Sangria

We started drinking hibiscus tea a few years ago after we learned that it may help lower blood pressure. Bruce drinks it straight up and hot. I like mine iced with honey, lemon and thyme .Lately, I’ve been loving a sangria recipe that’s made with rose wine, strawberries, mangoes and oranges. I hate to drink alone, so I developed this version of Sangria, sans alcohol, so that Bruce could join me for a drink on the patio at the end of the day. It comes together quite nicely with home-brewed hibiscus tea, white grape juice and fruit. I use dried hibiscus flowers, but you could use Tazo Passion tea or Red Zinger tea. Since we’re heading into berry season, it might be nice to do a batch with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. I dropped in a few fresh mint leaves and garnished it with a sprig of lavender from my garden. Hibiscus Sangria looks lovely and tastes refreshing. What a nice way to decompress. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Hibiscus Sangria

4 teaspoons hibiscus tea
2 cups boiling water
2 cups white grape juice
1 cup strawberries, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 mango, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 orange, cut into thin slices
Fresh mint or lavender (optional)

Steep hibiscus tea in two cups of water for 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and remove tea leaves.

Place fruit into large pitcher. Pour strained hibiscus tea and grape juice over fruit. Add mint or lavender.

25 May 2018

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