This is a simple delicious black bean soup with corn, bell peppers and lots of smoky earthy flavour from a bit of smoked paprika and cumin. Jalapeno peppers give it some heat. I like to garnish it with vegan sour cream, chopped scallions, fresh cilantro, corn chips, and even some vegan cheese! This is dairy free, gluten free and as always, vegan. This is exactly the kind of food I am craving right now as the temperatures begin to drop. I love when comfort food is also full of nutritious fiber rich ingredients. Healthy food doesn't have to sacrifice flavour.
I used one jalapeno in the base, which didn't offer any discernable heat. I always have a jar of pickled jalapenos in my fridge, and I actually really like garnishing my soup with them. Two slices was plenty added heat for me in one bowl. If you want to add another fresh jalapeno or two to the base you totally can. Or even mince some fresh jalapeno and sprinkle on top if you want along with other garnishes. I find adding heat to a dish really depends on individual preference. Everyone I know has different levels of tolerance. So find what works for you.
Be mindful when seasoning with salt if you are using canned beans or tomatoes that also contain salt. I try to buy them with no added salt so I have control over my seasoning.
Yield : 2.5 Litres Serves 4-6
Suggested Ingredients for Garnish :
I first made this salad in Switzerland. (or some version of it) I was visiting my brother, dinner time was nearing and I was rummaging through his ingredients to see what I could pull together for a veg option. A recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi popped up. Cauliflower, Celery, Pomegranate and Hazelnut Salad. I loosely followed it and what a delicious combination of flavours! That was two years ago and it was always in the back of my mind to make again.
For my salad I tossed the cauliflower in cinnamon, cumin & coriander before roasting. Toasted almonds instead of hazelnuts because I always have them on hand. Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Maple mixed together for the dressing. Lots of fresh parsley and fresh mint tossed in at the end. What I didn't add at first, and aren't in the photograph, are a handful of chopped dates. I was munching away and decided to toss some in to see what that would be like...SO GOOD. I highly recommend simply chopping up a handful and them in. I'm a fan of the sweet bite as a contrast to the spice from the cauliflower.
This salad has Middle Eastern inspired flavours. While I had it for dinner just by itself, it would be so delicious as side dish next to any of your favourite Middle Eastern inspired dishes.
Serves 4 as a side dish
Cinnamon Baked Apples!!! I wanted to make something sweet but on the healthier side to enjoy over Thanksgiving. A combination of McIntosh and Granny Smith apples are baked with cinnamon, coconut sugar, lemon and cornstarch. I kept them on the tart side, because that is how I like them. You could always add a bit more sugar if you prefer more sweetness. You can use them in a dessert like this, as a topping for oatmeal, or even on toast. Delicious.
I then made a "date ginger caramel", which is one of my favourite things. Simply dates soaked in water until softened, then blended with water or plant milk and fresh ginger. I use it with my spelt flour pancakes, stirred into oatmeal, or on peanut butter toast with fresh fruit.
I sprinkled toasted pecans over the warm date caramel & baked apples, then served it with a scoop of store bought cashew vanilla ice cream. It was a sweet treat that satisfied my craving for an apple inspired dessert but didn't make me feel shitty. (I love pies and tarts and crisps, but for me refined carbs and a ton of extra sugar and fat puts me on a fast track to feeling pretty terrible. So this was an easy dessert that lightened things up a bit!!)
This is a simple tasty mushroom gravy recipe! Originally I developed it for recipe I did for Fresh Start Fauxmage. The gravy compoment was the dip to the cheesy Fauxmage Monks Cheddar Potato croquettes I made, delicious. A fun holiday inspired appetizer. The components of that dish are delicious and work perfectly together, but at the time when I was testing, it definitely occurred to me that this gravy would be great to accompany other offerings as well. Like simple mashed potatoes or maybe on a vegan poutine. I don't gravitate to this sort of comfort food often, but Thanksgiving is around the corner and as a vegan Chef, I wanted to demonstrate what is possible. Healthier, delicious, and more ethical options are available to those who are inclined to give them a try. I believe veganism doesn't mean you have to give up tradition and culture surrounding the food you love. My goal is to provide simple, delicious options for all occasions that promote overall wellbeing.
I served this gravy over my garlic & kale mashed potatoes, linked below, but use it wherever you please. The only thing that was missing for me was some cranberry sauce on the side!!
Yield : 1 L gravy
These roasted carrots with freshly squeezed orange, maple, garlic, toasted almond slices and fresh parsley are a SIMPLE and tasty side dish that would be a perfect addition to any festive dinner table. Thanksgiving is around the corner and was definitely the inspiration for this recipe. I bought sliced almonds specifically to make this vs chopping whole almonds. There's just something about them that I really like in this context. The visual aspect, or perhaps the delicate but snappy crunch they provide....but go ahead and use chopped toasted almonds if that's what you have. I made this recipe using 1 lb of carrots or 2 servings, you will want to multiply the recipe to suit how many people you are serving.
Carrots & Flavour Thoughts
I was able to get my hands on some freshly picked local carrots that were lovely. I was keeping my eye out for the rainbow variety, because I think they would have made for beautiful presentation, but alas the market didn't have them the day I went. Next time. I always taste my carrots before cooking them just to know what I'm working with. Sometimes they are deliciously sweet, other times they are kind of bland and sometimes they will have stronger bitter notes than others. If they would have been bland or bitter carrots, I would think about how to treat that specific vegetable...perhaps in this recipe an extra tablespoon of maple (for example.) Anyhow, the point being...recipes will work to a point but in order to have more successes in the kitchen you need to get used to tasting and balancing flavours. Recognize that there will often be variables in the ingredients that following a recipe can't account for. Only your taste buds can help you there. I don't mean to say following a recipe will result in a disaster if you don't take this approach, only that often, it's the final taste and adjusting that can take a dish from good to great.
More food ideas to love.....
Kale Mashed Potatoes!!! I'm not reinventing the wheel here....but thanksgiving is around the corner, and I wanted to cook some different things with that vibe in mind. I'll be honest even when I wasn't vegan, the whole turkey dinner thing to me wasn't all that exciting. Not that it wasn't tasty....I just think I tend to gravitate to globally inspired food compared to traditional North American fare. Though since I'm passionate about cooking and eating nutrient dense food in general, adding kale to mashed potatoes does bring it a little more in alignment with what I am all about.
I used olive oil and vegan sour cream in my potatoes and garnished them with chopped scallions. You don't have to use olive oil and sour cream.....use whatever you want. Vegan Butter and a bit of plant milk mashed in. Or sour cream and vegan butter, or just sour cream....mashed potatoes aren't complicated...just season them well and make them as rich and creamy as you dare. Heck even mash in some vegan cheese or nutritional yeast if you're feeling crazy.
I did have mind to add butter to my mashed potatoes on top of the sour cream, but I opted to leave it out, because I personally don't want to consume a lot of added fat, but also I served the potatoes with my mushroom "gravy" over top which added a lot of flavour. If I was going ALL out and I was serving a crowd, OK...I would probably add some extra butter for ultra decadence..... The other option would be to serve butter on the side for whoever wants it. Then team no butter and team all the butter can both be happy. Again I try to strike a balance between taste and keeping things somewhat on the healthier side. (but sometimes you do have to just say screw it and add the butter! You decide!)
This is a simple and beautiful salad you can make using only a handful of ingredients. You want to wait until you have the most beautiful, in season vine ripened tomatoes for this. Flavourless winter tomatoes will not lend well to a dish that is truly celebrating an ingredient when it's at its best. My friend who is a passionate gardener gave me a basket of several varieties of tomatoes she had grown. There was no way I was going to make anything other than this. The tomatoes cut into varying chunks, my cashew basil ricotta, good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sea salt and black pepper & a bit more fresh basil to garnish. HEAVENLY. I really want to share this salad as an example of HOW to use my ricotta recipe. I also use the ricotta in my Zucchini Involtini.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
This is less of a recipe than it is a list of ingredients that you can just arrange on a plate. The key to this dish being successful is all in the quality of the ingredients. You must use a delicious olive oil, and a balsamic vinegar with some natural sweetness. You need to spend a bit more for quality but it is worth it (a little goes a long way too). Alternatively for balsamic, you can buy bottles of balsamic glaze fairly inexpensively...I find I like to use them sparingly in different dishes just as a garnish for a touch of added sweet & acidity. I think that would work great in this salad as well.
THOUGHTS ON SALT
If you have a good quality finishing salt, this is the time to use it. Finishing salts are ususally a coarser grind and are meant to be used just as the name implies, to garnish a dish either after it's been cooked or sprinkled on something like this tomato salad. Fleur du sel comes to mind, one of my favourites that I wish I would have had on hand while making this salad. If you have never used or even heard of finishing salt, look into it! Definitely a way to improve your kitchen creations. I just had a pink Himalayan salt so I used that. I wouldn't want to use regular table salt here personally (I never buy regular table salt...for cooking I use flaked kosher salt)
This is a simple plant based alternative to ricotta, and it tastes amazing!
If you are new to a recipe like this, making plant based cheese might seem like a bit of a hurdle or even unappealing... But.... I promise you, the flavour is incredible, and it couldn't be more simple to prepare. All you need is a food processor to blend up the ingredients and you will be on your way to making something that's delicious and satisfying all while using good for you ingredients.
I originally developed this cashew & tofu based ricotta to use in my Zucchini Involtini Recipe. Now I find it's something that comes to my mind for all sorts of uses. (Stay tuned for my gorgeous tomato, caramelized onion & ricotta galette.) Use this ricotta as a spread on fancy toasts, in sandwiches or tucked into wraps for a flavourful and healthy alternative to mayo or dairy based spreads and cheese. Use it in pasta, lasagna, pizza, sandwiches, on fancy ricotta toasts, in a salad or as a spread for crackers. You could easily switch up the flavour profile by using different herbs and or spices. I haven't tried that yet because I'm pretty in love with this variation for now, but it will probably evolve over time.
Yield: about 1 3/4 cups
1 . In a food processor combine all ingredients except for the basil. Blitz until as smooth as possible, scraping down sides a couple of times.
2. Now add in basil, and pulse just to give it a chop and mix in evenly.
3. Scrape ricotta into a container and refrigerate to set up before using in desired recipe.
I had an abundance of canned pumpkin hanging out in my cupboards, so I decided to use one of the cans to make a pumpkin soup. I can't think of a more appropriate soup to make with fall in the air and pumpkin spice everything showing up everywhere you look. One must stay trendy right? lol
Anyhow, this soup is
The creamy factor comes from pumpkin seed butter!!! I feel kinda proud this idea came to me haha. I saw the pumpkin seed butter in the organic section at the grocery store knowing I was making this soup then I quickly connected the dots. I add peanut butter to my African Peanut Stew so I figured this would be perfect. It is! I also add fresh ginger, and as mentioned above.... cinnamon, coriander, cumin & maple to flavour the soup. I think you could add curry powder or whatever spices you prefer really. I'm happy with how mine turned out, though.
Serve this soup with crusty multigrain bread, or if you want a treat, some buttery biscuits.
I find the soup rich. Smaller portions might be nice as a starter or if you want it as the main meal, round it out with your favourite salad.
I like to garnish the pumpkin soup with vegan yogurt or sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds and something fresh and green. I used sunflower sprouts in the photograph. Regarding vegan sour cream and yogurts, not all products taste equal, some are better than others and sometimes work great in one recipe but not in others. For this soup I do like the tofutti brand sour cream. I thin it out with a bit of water or plant milk to achieve the right consistency for drizzling.
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Yield: 3 L
Serves: 6-8 people
Succotash dates back to the 17th century and was first introduced to colonists by Indigenous Americans. The original version of this dish was perhaps more simplistic than the current one. Likely a simmering pot of corn to which lima beans were added, and then evolved to contain various other ingredients as well. The meal became popular during the Great Depression as an affordable and nutritious offering. It's noteworthy that pairing a grain with a legume provides all essential amino acids (think beans and rice in Latin cooking). Succotash is now popular on Thanksgiving tables throughout New England and will often include onions, peppers, tomatoes, okra and sometimes meat. I found two possible origins of the word Succotash. From the Narragansett word sohquttahhash, meaning "broken corn kernels", the other “misckquatash” which meant “boiled whole kernels of corn”.
Traditionally this dish gets finished with butter and salt, I however couldn't resist dressing my Succotash with a simple lime and olive oil vinaigrette, I also added in pickled jalapeno to kick it up a notch and lots of fresh mint. I think it's a fun & vibrant variation. A recipe like this is pretty forgiving too. You could easily go with different ratios of beans to corn to peppers to tomato etc....and it will still be delicious. I'm saying this mainly because if I was making it, I personally wouldn't take the time to measure things. I did for the purpose of writing a recipe, but having a loose cooking style is so much more enjoyable than being rigid about it. That doesn't always translate well say if you're baking a cake, but for something like this, it totally does. Tasting as you go until things are balanced is how you better learn the nuances flavour, and somehow cooking with a relaxed flow just feels better energetically, if that makes sense. If it doesn't...that's OK, just scroll down for the recipe and enjoy!
I find this salad tastes best not piping hot or fridge cold. Room Temp really lets you enjoy the flavours the most.
Hey! I'm Trisha