Creamy Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Chickpea Casserole

Hello everyone! I write this post still full from eating this recipe for dinner. I was looking to use the squash I bought last weekend, and I had a vision of making something like Mac & Cheese, only using vegetables instead of pasta. This recipe was delicious for a Sunday night dinner, paired with some herb-infused quinoa.

Ingredients
1/3 cup cashews, soaked*
4 cups peeled and cubed squash, such as butternut or kabocha
2 cups brussels sprouts, bottoms removed and halved
1 small onion, sliced or diced
2 tbsp oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
3-4 tbs nutritional yeast (or more)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp mustard powder
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cups bread crumbs** (if using a finely ground bread crumb, 1 cup may be enough. Mine were fresh, and as such there was more air in my measuring cup)
1 tbsp oil
salt and pepper to taste

*Tip: forgot to soak your cashews? Simply pour boiling water over top of them for a few minutes, drain, and you’re good to go.
**Tip: freeze the ends of your bread and throw them in a food processor when you have enough to make a bag of bread crumbs. I keep a bag ready to go in the freezer.

I started by preheating the oven to 400*F. I placed the raw squash, brussels sprouts and onion in an oven-safe casserole dish and tossed them with the 2 tbsp oil, and about 1 teaspoon of salt. This mixture baked uncovered in the oven for 40 minutes, and I occasionally stirred the vegetables so that the top didn’t burn.

While the vegetables were in the oven I used my blender to puree the soaked cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. This is a simple cashew sauce that can be played around with.

In a small bowl I mixed together the bread crumbs, 1 tbp oil, and some pepper.

When the squash was tender (a fork inserted easily), I removed the dish from the oven and stirred in the chickpeas and cashew sauce, and baked the casserole for another 10 minutes. I decided that I didn’t want to risk the chickpeas drying out over the 40 minute roasting period, so I added them later.

I spread the bread crumb mixture on the top of the vegetables and broiled the casserole at 500*F until the top was golden.

Another one-dish delight.

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Broccoli Salad

The last bakery I worked at made soup and salad every day. One day I was blown away by a delicious broccoli cheddar salad; I had never explored broccoli as the central ingredient to a salad. I have recently been making a vegan version of it and I wanted to share it here. Broccoli is a wonderful vegetable filled with vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, potassium, protein, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

This salad is creamy, crunchy, and delicious. It can be served on its own as a light lunch or a snack, or as a side to a veggie burger or any other delicious bbq-type food.

Ingredients for the salad
1 large head of broccoli (about 4 cups of the florets)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
handful pecan pieces, raw or toasted
handful cashews, raw or toasted
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast

Ingredients for the dressing
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp vegan mayo (I use the brand Vegenaise)
1 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar
1 small clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

I started by removing the stems from the broccoli (I save those for juicing) and tearing the broccoli florets into small, bite-sized pieced. I placed them in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients for the salad.

In a small bowl, I whisked all the dressing ingredients together and mixed it with the veggies and nuts.

If the salad seems too liquidy, I add more vegan mayo and nutritional yeast. Also, the quantities of the salad ingredients can be played with. I like having lots of dried cranberries (though in the photo I didn’t have nearly enough), and I am usually generous with the nutritional yeast. I have also subbed hummus for some of the mayo.

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Comfort Spinach and Bean Pasta

Hello everyone! Well, it has been a while since I have written about recipes. I took a break from blogging about food because I was travelling in the United States, and wanted to share my adventures away from the kitchen (also, I did not have a real kitchen for three months… Just a camping stove). Now that I am back, and starting to get settled in a new city, I am getting back into cooking. Tonight I made a recipe from Fine Cooking, a magazine full of delicious, drool-worthy recipes and interesting tips in the kitchen. I found this recipe for Pasta Shells with Spinach and Cannellini Beans in their latest issue. Here is my adaptation of it, vegan-ified:

Ingredients for the “Parmesan” Cheese
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
pinch salt

Ingredients for the Pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large box spinach (around 9oz)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (navy beans or white kidney beans would also do the trick, in my opinion)
3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp red pepper flakes
500g pasta (I used penne, but the original recipe called for large shells)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
“Parmesan” cheese to taste

To make the “Parmesan” cheese, I pulsed the almonds and nutritional yeast in a blender until the almonds turned into a powder. Be careful not to over-blend, as the oils from the almonds can release and start to create almond butter if pulsed for too long. I reserved the cheese in a bowl for later.

In a large pot, I boiled the pasta in salted water until cooked, and then drained it. The pasta was rinsed with cold water to stop it from cooking more.

In another pot, I heated 2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat and sauteed the garlic for 30 seconds. I added the spinach in large handfuls, letting it reduce when the pot became full. Once all the spinach  was added and reduced, I added the beans and 1/4 cup of the broth. I let the mixture boil for a few minutes, until the liquid reduced by half. I added the rest of the broth, the red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp salt. The pot was removed from the heat at this point.

I tossed the pasta with the sauce, along with the last 1 tbsp olive oil. I added all the lemon juice and seasoned the pasta with salt and pepper. The pasta may need up to an extra 1/2 cup of liquid if it is too dry, but mine did not.

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I served the pasta with a generous helping of the “Parmesan” cheese on top, and ate it with a kale salad with vegan Caesar salad dressing, made by my beau. We each had seconds of the pasta and agreed that it was a great comfort food.

BBQ Sausages

This recipe was made for what my family calls “mixed gril” that usually involves an assortment of meats. My mom found this recipe for vegan Italian sausages, and it turned out to be a great recipe. Here is the link to the original recipe, from onegreenplanet.org.

I ate them with Hot English Mustard (AKA hem), and the next day I ate them for lunch cut into rounds on a charcuterie board – baguette, avocado, tomato, hummus, olives, and a bit of cheese (flexed my flexitarian there). They are pretty tasty, but certainly do not expect to be eating a pork sausage.

When I told my boyfriend about the sausages he sent me this link where you can order cases for homemade veggie sausages. I think it’d be neat to try in the future.

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Ingredients for spice mix
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed into a powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp allspice

I mixed all the spices in a small bowl and set it aside.

Ingredients for the sausage
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum (at a health food store you can buy this in the bulk section – I bought the equivalent of 1 tsp)
3 tbsp vegan Worcerstershire sauce

I started by heating a skillet with the olive oil and sauteeing the onion and mushrooms until softened, about 10 minutes. I added the garlic about half way through. I let the mixture cool while I did the next step.

The next step involved mashing the black-eyed peas in a bowl with a potato masher. It is important not to make the mixture a puree, but get the beans nice and mashed. Then, I added the spices, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, rice flour, and xanthan gum, making sure to mix well.

I added the cooled mushroom and onion mixture and the Worcertershire sauce.

Next, I formed the mixture into four balls and rolled them into sausages, making sure they were as sturdy as possible. I used pieces of aluminium foil, about 6 inches long, to help get the sausages to the right size and shape. I wrapped each sausage in foil.

Next, I steamed the sausages between 15-20 minutes, and put them in the freezer once cooled, to use in a couple days. Otherwise, they should be refrigerated for a few hours.

The sausages were BBQed, grill lightly oiled and foil off, until browned. This task was done by my awesome stepfather. Three out of four sausages stayed together perfectly well, and one broke in half, so that’s pretty good for homemade vegan meat.

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Cheesy Kale Chips

With crunch time upon us students in the fast approaching end of the term, I find myself procrastinating by writing about the delicious snack I made yesterday with some kale that was about to go bad. It amazes me how often I check my email and facebook in attempts to escape the gruelling task of writing term papers. I know that nothing interesting has happened in the past 20 minutes, but I insist on taking that micro study break, while sabotaging the time I could be spending doing something more fun.  Anyway, here is the recipe I made for cheesy kale chips, inspired by a recipe in Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen. I feel as though I have been posting way too many of her recipes, so I modified this one enough to be quite different. She just has so many brilliant recipes! I made healthy fudgey brownies last week that were excellent, and a mango coconut quinoa breakfast cereal that was scrumptious. No joke, get this cookbook, right now.

Ingredients for the cheesy-ness
3/4 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 4-5 hours
lemon juice from 1/4 of a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (I didn’t put this in this time, but oh my glob it would make them even better)

Ingredients for the chips
A bunch of kale

In a food processor I pureed the cheesy ingredients. I de-stemmed the kale (very important: the stem is quite bitter) and chopped it into chip-sized bits. I covered the kale leaves in the cheesy-goodness, then baked the chips at around 200 degrees Farenheit for an hour. It is important not to burn the chips, so keep an eye on them, and you also want them to be crispy and not wilted. The time and temperature may vary, but that was generally what I did. Also, I did not add all the cheese, so depending on how cheesy you like the chips, it may take longer to bake. I will add more cheese the next time I make these.

They were gone within 24 hours.

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