Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Black Bean Soup over Brown Rice

Black Bean Soup over Brown Rice

I've been making a ton of soups lately and this one turned out especially well. I made a few adjustments to the original recipe by adding a little smoked salt and some bac'un bits when the soup was almost finished. You don't have to add these things and the soup will still be delicious. It is awesome served over hot brown rice. Gluten-free vegan, soy free (without the bac'un bits), nut free.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • chopped cilantro and avocado slices (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cans of beans, and corn. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process remaining 2 cans beans and tomatoes until smooth. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve over hot brown rice and garnish with fresh cilantro and avocado slices.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tofu Noodle Soup

We had a few sick kids in the family the past few weeks. They all seem to have gotten over things quite quickly. Maybe it was the magic in this soup! I adapted this recipe from this blog. I don't like to use a lot of oil in recipes so that was all I had to change here. It was a very flavorful tangy soup. It is always better to use fresh ginger in recipes when possible not only for the taste, but also for the health benefits. Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flus or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract. We topped our soup with fresh green onions and bean sprouts. Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, contains soy.

Tofu Noodle Soup
This yields about 4 quarts.
 olive oil spray
3 large celery stalks, diced small
4-5 carrots, peeled and diced small
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2t. minced or grated fresh ginger
1 yellow onion, small, diced
8c water
2 boullion cubes (or broth equiv)
1t dried dill
1t. oregano
1t. basil
1/4 to 1/2t. paprika
1t sea salt
1t black pepper
1t tumeric
1/2t thyme
green onion and bean sprouts (optional)
8oz thin rice noodles broken into 1.5" sticks
8oz firm tofu cut into small cubes and placed on an oil sprayed baking sheet at 350 for 5 minutes then turn and bake for another 5 minutes

Method: In a large stockpot (I use 6 quarts), heat olive oil spray and add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and ginger. Heat on medium and add 2T of water. Put a lid on and let it "sweat" for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Carefully take the lid off (the steam is quick and hot) and turn up the heat. Add the boullion or broth, water, and all the spices. Bring to a rapid simmer and then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Take the lid off, increase the heat again but not as high, and add the noodles. Cook them 5-8 minutes, until al dente. As soon as you throw the noodles in is a good time to start baking the tofu see instructions above. The noodles should be soft but not mushy now. Lower the heat even more, add the tofu. Stir, serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mango BBQ Beans with Cilantro Lime Smashed Potatoes

It has been rainy the last few days. Thunder and lightning too! This kind of weather needs some warm comfort food. I found this recipe from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. I made some changes. The potatoes replaced the yucca just because I already had potatoes on hand. It was a perfect rainy day meal. I topped mine with some ancho chili flakes. The mango in these beans give it a tangy and sweet flavor. It’s a known fact that Mango is rich in Iron. People who suffer from anemia can regularly take mango along with their dinner. Mangoes are useful to children who lack concentration in studies as it contains Glutamine acid which is good to boost memory and keep cells active. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free.

Mango BBQ Beans
1 tsp olive oil spray
1 onion chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 mango, seeded and chopped small
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you want less heat)
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 (25-ounce) canned or fresh kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed (cooked from dry is always better I cook them in the crock pot over night no soaking required)
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 to 3 tbsp agave nectar
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Spray and saute the onion and garlic in the with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until translucent.
Add the mango, tomato sauce, broth, red pepper flakes, coriander, salt and kidney beans. Turn up the heat to a rolling boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, leaving a little room for steam to escape, and let cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often. The sauce should thicken and the mangoes should cook down a great deal.
Turn off the heat, mix in the agave nectar and liquid smoke, and let the beans sit for about 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness and more agave if needed. Adjust the salt and seasonings, and serve.

Smashed Potatoes with Cilantro and Lime
1 1/2- 2 lbs pounds potatoes I used russet, peeled and chopped into 2 inch chunks
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp earth balance
1/2 tsp salt
Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water until submerged. Add a big pinch of salt, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until very, very tender. Turn off the heat.
Reserve about a cup of the hot water by carefully dipping a heatproof mug into the pot. Drain the potatoes, then return it to the pot. Add the lime juice, cilantro, oil and salt. Mash well with a potato masher. Stream in the reserved hot water, little by little, mashing as you go along. You may need up to 1/2 cup. Mash the potatoes until nice and creamy and then serve immediately with the beans.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blue Plate Diner Veggie Burger (from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives)

After watching an episode of watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, I wanted to attempt this burger. I found a version of the recipe here and decided to try it out. This recipe was very lightly adapted. My daughters loved them so much we ended up having them two nights in a row.

 To watch the episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives you can check it our here :

We topped our burgers with green leaf lettuce, Follow your Heart vegan Thousand Island, Vegan Gourmet cheddar cheese, onions and tomatoes. YUM! This recipe contains sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds contain a wide variety of nutrients that can help support the immune system and body while also keeping the nervous system calm and strong. The nutrients in sunflower seeds can even help improve brittle fingernails, weak hair and poor skin.
This recipe can be made gluten-free, vegan, soy-free contains sunflower seeds.

Blue Plate Diner Veggie Burger

1 can Garbanzo beans, thoroughly drained
1 can Black beans, thoroughly drained, liquid reserved
1 c quick oats
2 c water
1 c Japanese Panko or Gluten-free bread crumbs
1 c flour whole wheat or gluten free all purpose
½ Tbsp Chili powder
1 Tbsp Lawry’s garlic with parsley
½ Tbsp granulated onion powder
1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
½ c chopped celery
½ c chopped onion
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds


1- The garbanzos take more time in the food processor to break up than the black beans.  Pour drained garbanzo beans into food processor.  Pulse until broken up.  Add a little bean juice if needed. 

2- Pour in black beans and pulse until broken up.  Pour both in large bowl.
3- Cook ¾ cup oats in 1 ½ cup water.  Cook per package directions, about 5 minutes for quick cooking oats.  Add oats to bowl with beans.
4- Add flour, Panko, and seasonings.  Mix thoroughly. 

Add celery and onion. Stir to combine.

5- Add celery and onion.  Mix well.
6- Form thin patties the diameter of your bun
Allow patties to brown at least moderately before carefully turning. Personal photo.

7- Fry patties in a hot pan with oil or spray. 


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Carrot Jalapeño Soup

A friend of mine gave me this recipe to try from her cute blog girlincraftyworld.blogspot.com . It was easy to make this soup vegan. It was so awesome I may have had... 3 bowls of it for lunch. This soup contains lots of delicious carrots. The health benefits of carrots include reduced cholesterol, prevention from heart attacks, warding off certain cancers and many others. Most of the benefits of carrot can be attributed to its beta carotene and fiber content. This root, which has a scientific name of Daucus Carota, is a good source of antioxidant agents as well. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium.
This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, contains soy and cashews (optional)
  • cooking spray
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lbs carrots
  • jalapeno depends on desired heat (I use 2.5-3)
  • 1 cup soy cream
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 3 tbs raw cashews soaked over night (optional for added creaminess) 
Spray pan saute onions, (peeled) carrots and jalapeños saute 3-5 minutes . Add thyme and bay leaf and  stock bring to a boil. Reduce heat and slow cook partially covered until carrots are tender- approx 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf.  Puree in blender or use hand held blender add cashews if desired (food processor does not get it to right consistency)  Whisk in cream with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat without boiling.  Serve hot topped with cilantro and soy sour cream.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Olive Garden® Zuppa Toscana (my vegan version)



Sometimes ,when you go vegan you day dream about that one thing you miss from your meat/dairy eating days. Don't get frustrated...just get creative. I have yet to find something I can't make in a similar vegan form. A friend of mine asked me to make a vegan version of this soup. I have never had the Olive Garden version but, if it is anything like this soup it is fabulous! We don't use a lot of meat substitutes. Every once in a while I can see it working in a dish. With a little research I came up with this version. I do believe if you served this to a die hard carnivore they too will gobble it up. This recipe contains potatoes. Mmmm... potatoes. Potatoes are a very good source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.
Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Among these important health-promoting compounds are carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, as well as unique tuber storage proteins, such as patatin, which exhibit activity against free radicals.
This recipe is gluten-free (when using gluten-free soy sausage), vegan, contains soy and cashews.


                                    Olive Garden® Zuppa Toscana


  • 1 lb ground soy sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 Tbsp bac'un pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 tsp of better than bouillon vegetable or 5 cubes vegetable  bouillon
  • 1 cup soy cream ( I used Fresh and Easy brand)
  • 1 lb peeled sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale
  • (optional) 3 Tbsp of cashews soaked over night in water for added creaminess
  1. Spray pan and sauté sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot.
  2. Clean bottom of pan then cook onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
  3. Add  bouillon, bac'un and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
  4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  5. Add the cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
  6. (optional) blend 2 cups of soup with three Tbsp cashews and add to the rest of the soup
  7. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!

             You can find these @ Whole Foods in the seasonings isle.
    This brand is vegan but not gluten free. Found @ whole foods.