The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

Vegan Recipes I’ve Learned (11-15)

on November 3, 2013

A few years ago I went on a Yoga retreat in Belleville.  A lovely woman named Cheryl, who is a yoga instructor in Richmond Hill, organized the retreat. The retreat ran from Friday evening to Sunday midday and except for the last breakfast which was vegetarian all of the food was vegan.  This was my first experience with a fully vegan menu and I was pleasantly surprised by how good and filling the food was.

There was a chef hired to make our meals , but during yoga on the Saturday Cheryl brought out some snacks she had made herself. She wanted to introduce us to raw foods.  The first snack was a creamy spinach spread made with cashews and served with carrots and celery sticks and the other was a cookie like ball called an Almond Bite.  Unfortunately I don’t have the references for these recipes other than that the spread is attributed to a Caroline Dupont and the Almond Bites are from Vegetarian Time Magazine.

11. Creamy Spinach Basil Spread

  • I cup cashews
  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

12. Almond Bites

  • 2 ½ cups rolled oats (regular or quick-cooking)
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 Tbs. raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 Tbs. barley malt syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Grind 1/2 cup oats and 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds in food processor until powdery. Transfer to medium bowl; set aside. Combine remaining 2 cups oats, remaining 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, raisins, sunflower seeds and cinnamon in large bowl. Stir in almond butter, honey, barley malt syrup and vanilla until soft dough forms. Moisten hands, and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Coat balls in oat-pumpkin seed powder. Place in freezer 20 minutes to set, then serve or store in the fridge.

As the weather is cooling I love hearty comfort foods.  These next three recipes are just that.

13. Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf (Recipe)

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (You can use either broth or water to cook the quinoa, but for more flavour try vegetable broth.)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small to medium yellow bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 small to medium green bell pepper, diced fine
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Greek Seasoning (mint, lemon, basil, oregano mix)
  • 2 green onions sliced- white and light green sections
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, yellow and green pepper; and stir over medium heat until slightly softened. Add in the mushrooms. Add sea salt and ground pepper to taste. Add the Greek seasoning. Stir and cook until the mushrooms are tender. Add the quinoa to the mushroom- pepper mixture. Add in the sliced scallions. Stir to combine. Squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the quinoa and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toss to coat the quinoa. Add more salt or seasoning to taste.  This is good hot or cold.  If serving cold you may need to adjust the seasonings.
14. Ratatouille (Recipe
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 2 green bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped, or 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
  • 3 to 4 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
In a large pan or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add eggplant; stir until coated with oil. Add peppers; stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking. Add tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs; mix well. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes, or until eggplant is tender but not too soft.  This is pretty close to my recipe though usually I only add garlic and oregano to the vegetables.  I don’t measure when I make this, I just add in what I have like yellow (summer squash), vegetable marrow, different coloured peppers along with the onions and eggplant and tomatoes and it’s always good.
15. Yellow (Summer) Squash Risotto with Fresh Garlic, Petite Peas and Basil (Recipe)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves,  finely minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4-5 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup frozen, thawed petite peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan margarine eg. Earth Balance
  • Freshly ground pepper

Wash squash & cut into 1/2 moons about a 1/2 inch thick. Set aside. In a large, heavy saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil, & add onion & garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the rice, & cook 2 minutes until opaque. Add wine & stir until absorbed. Ladle broth into rice, one ladleful at a time, stirring frequently over medium heat, after each addition. Wait until broth is almost completely absorbed before adding more. After about 15 minutes, add squash & peas. Continue stirring & adding broth until the vegetables are tender & the rice is al dente but looks creamy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add fresh basil, margarine & stir. Season with fresh black pepper & garnish with more fresh basil. For a little extra zing, top each dish with fresh lemon zest.

– the Goddess

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