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October 12, 2001

Greetings,

My partner Ray and I recently visited Los Angeles to attend Worldfest, which was a large veggie/enviromental event. We had a great time! We also did quite a bit of sightseeing and enjoyed sampling many vegan treats while on the west coast. Vegans in California are quite lucky to have such a wide range of vegan/vegetarian businesses. For those of us living in the Midwest, the options are few and far between. Our dining experiences included a gourmet raw dinner with raw chef extraordinaire Juliano, upscale vegan fare at Real Food Daily, trendy fusion dishes at Native Foods, delicious all-vegan desserts from Alaine's Bakery, and some awesome veggie burgers and fries from the fabulous Venus of Venice and Orean The Health Express! Click here for photos and more about each culinary experience.

It makes my mouth water just thinking about all of the wonderful foods we enjoyed. Inspired by our L.A. experiences, this installment of recipes features the vibrant flavors and colors of the Southwest, combined with the fresh fall produce that we have available here in the Midwest. I'm sure that my experiences in California will continue to influence my cooking style and be reflected in many of my future culinary creations. Enjoy them! As always, be good to one another, and remember... eat your veggies! :-)

 
 

Pepper Divider

 

Sunset Orange Sangria

2 large oranges
1/4 cup unbleached cane sugar
1 bottle vegan dry red wine of choice
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup white grape juice or apple juice
1/2 cup Cointreau or other orange flavored liqueur
ice

Begin by thinly slicing one of the oranges, cut the slices in half, and set aside to be used as garnishes. Slice the remaining orange in half, cut one half into thin slices, and set aside for later use. Carefully remove the outer peel from the remaining half of the orange and place it in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mash it into the orange peel to help release the flavorful oils from the peel. Add the wine, orange juice, white grape juice, and Cointreau, and stir well to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend. Remove the orange peel and discard it. Transfer the mixture to a large pitcher and add the reserved whole slices of orange. Serve in tall ice-filled glasses and garnish each with a half slice of orange.

Yield: 1 1/2 Quarts

 

Pepper Divider

 

Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

3/4 lb. tomatillos, husks removed
2 poblano chiles or other fresh chiles of choice (or 2 jalapeno peppers)
1 medium onion, unpeeled
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, packed
3 T. lime juice
1/2 t. ground cumin
salt, to taste
unbleached cane sugar, optional

On a non-stick cookie sheet, place the tomatillos, poblano chiles, and onion, and place them under the broiler. Broil the vegetables for 3-5 minutes per side, turning them as their skins begin to char. The entire process should take around 15 minutes. After 12 minutes of broiling time, add the cloves of garlic. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set aside to cool. When the tomatillos and poblano chiles are cool to the touch, remove their skins, stems, and seeds, and discard. Remove and discard the onion skin, as well.

Transfer the tomatillos, poblano chiles, onion, and garlic to a food processor or blender, and pulse a few times to roughly chop the vegetables. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and cumin, and continue to pulse to form a chunky puree. Add salt to taste and a little unbleached cane sugar, if desired. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Serves as a sauce for Mexican and Southwestern style dishes, as a sauce for steamed vegetables and grains, or as a dip with raw veggies or tortilla chips.

Yield: 2 Cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Red Chile Sauce

10 whole dried New Mexico, ancho, or pasilla chiles (or a mixture)
3 cups water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 T. olive oil
1 T. garlic, minced
1 t. dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

On a non-stick cookie sheet, place the dried chiles and bake them at 400 degrees for 3-4 minutes or until just fragrant. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool. When the chiles are cool to the touch, remove and discard their stems, seeds, and inner membranes. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, place the water and bring it to a boil. Add the dried chiles, remove the saucepan from the heat, and set aside for 1 hour to allow the chiles to rehydrate and soften. In a small non-stick skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic, oregano, and cumin, and saute an additional 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

After the chiles have soaked for 1 hour, transfer the chiles and a little of the soaking liquid to a food processor, and puree until smooth. Add the sauteed onion mixture, remaining soaking liquid and the other remaining ingredients, and process until smooth. Return the sauce to the medium saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week, or the sauce can be frozen for later use. Use as a sauce for enchiladas or other Mexican or Southwestern style dishes, to add flavor to steamed vegetables and grains, or as a condiment.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Green Chiles and Almond Cream

1/2 cup raw almonds
1 T. nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. powdered kelp
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup water
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 t. lemon juice or lime juice
1 - 4 oz. can diced green chiles
2 T. freshly chopped cilantro

Begin by blanching the almonds: in a small saucepan, place 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Add the almonds and cook for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside for 3 minutes to cool. Remove the almonds from the water, squeeze each almond between your thumb and forefinger to remove the skin, and set them aside for 5 minutes to dry and cool. Place the almonds in a blender or food processor and process for 1-2 minutes to finely grind them. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, kelp, and salt, and process for 30 seconds to combine.

In a small measuring cup, combine the oil and water, and add the mixture to the blender in a slow stream while the machine is running. Scrape down the sides of the container, add the vinegar and lemon juice, and continue to process the mixture an additional 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and stir in the green chiles and cilantro. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or more, to allow the flavors to blend. Use as a replacement for sour cream in recipes, also as a condiment or spread on sandwiches, a dip for raw veggies or chips, or as a sauce for steamed vegetables and grains.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Avocado, Black Bean, and Tomato Salsa

1 1/2 cups Roma tomatoes, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1 T. garlic, minced
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
3/4 cup cooked black beans
1-2 T. lime juice, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, place the tomatoes, red pepper, red onion, green onions, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and garlic, and toss well to combine. Add the avocado and black beans and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with lime juice, salt, and pepper, and toss gently. Serve as a condiment to Mexican or Southwestern style dishes, as a filling for sandwiches or wraps, or as a dip for raw veggies or tortilla chips.

Yield: 3-4 Cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Smokin' Pumpkin and Corn Chowder

2 cups onion, diced
2 cups green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
2 cups red or orange pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1/3 cup jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
2 T. safflower oil
4 cups pumpkin (or butternut squash), peeled, deseeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 T. garlic, minced
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 lb. cut corn (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup Red Chile Sauce (see recipe above)
1 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
Garnishes: Green Chiles and Almond Cream (see recipe above) and crumbled tortilla chips

In a large pot, saute the onion and all of the peppers in the safflower oil for 5 minutes to soften. Add the pumpkin and garlic and saute for an additional 5 minutes stirring often. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is just tender. In a food processor or blender, place 3/4 cups of the cut corn, add 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the pot, and process to form a chunky puree. Add the pureed mixture, the remaining corn, Red Chile Sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to the pot, and simmer the soup an additional 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Top individual servings with dollops of Green Chiles and Almond Cream and a few crumbled tortilla chips, as desired.

Yield: 2 1/2 Quarts

 

Pepper Divider

 

Jicama Pico de Gallo

2 cups jicama, peeled and julienned
1 1/2 cups red or orange pepper, destemmed, deseeded, cut into quarters lengthwise, and sliced
1 cup cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and diced
3/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
2 T. freshly chopped parsley
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. olive oil
1 T. lime juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, place all of the vegetables and fresh herbs, and toss gently. Drizzle the vinegar, oil, and lime juice over the vegetable mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss gently to thoroughly coat the vegetables. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve as a salad or side dish, with tortilla chips or crackers, as part of a sandwich filling, or as a topping for Mexican or Southwestern style dishes.

Yield: 4-5 Cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Blazing Beet Salad

1 lb. red beets, peeled, and julienned
1 lb. golden beets, peeled, and julienned
1 cup carrots, peeled, and julienned
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
2 T. freshly chopped cilantro
2 T. freshly chopped parsley
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 t. toasted sesame oil
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. ground ginger

In a small bowl, place the julienned red beets, cover, and chill until service. In a medium bowl, place the golden beets, carrots, green onions, and fresh herbs, and toss well to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to thoroughly coat the vegetables. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Just before serving, add the red beets and toss the mixture only enough to incorporate them. Can be served as a salad or side dish, or on a bed of greens or grains, if desired.

Yield: 4 Cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Rad Red Rice

1 cup onion, diced
1 T. olive oil
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1 T. garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 1/2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup Red Chile Sauce (see recipe above)
1 T. chili powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup black olives, roughly chopped
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

In a large saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic and continue to saute an additional 2 minutes. Add the basmati rice, stir well to coat it with the vegetable mixture, and saute the mixture an additional 1 minute. Add the tomato juice, Red Chile Sauce, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove the saucepan from the heat, leave covered, and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the rice to steam. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Taste and adjusting the seasonings to taste. Serve as a side dish, as a filling for sandwiches or wraps, or as a filling for baked vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, or squashes.

Yield: 4 1/2 cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Hacienda Hash

4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled, and diced
1 1/2 T. safflower oil
1 1/2 cups onion (or red onion), diced
2 cups zucchini, diced
1 cup cut corn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1 cup green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
3/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1 T. garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1 1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

In a large non-stick skillet, saute the sweet potato in the safflower oil for 5 minutes. Add the onion and saute an additional 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the zucchini, corn, all of the peppers, and continue to saute the mixture for 5 additional minutes, stirring often. Add the green onions and garlic, and saute an additional 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the remaining ingredients and cook an additional 2 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve as a side dish, or as part of a filling for sandwiches or wraps, or mixed with grains for a hearty entree, or as a chunky dip for tortilla chips or crackers.

*Note: can also add cooked black or red beans to the mixture before serving

Yield: 4-5 Cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Baja Black Bean Cakes with Spicy Sweet Potato Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato Sauce:

2 cups sweet potato, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup Red Chile Sauce (see recipe above)
2 T. lime juice
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. freshly chopped cilantro
salt, to taste

Black Bean Cakes:

1 - 15 oz. can black beans, drained, and rinsed
1 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
2 T. jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
3 T. freshly chopped cilantro
2 T. lime juice
1/2 cup unbleached flour, divided
2 T. cornmeal
dash of chili powder
safflower oil
1 recipe of Green Chiles and Almond Cream (see recipe above)

Begin by preparing the Spicy Sweet Potato Sauce: place the cubed sweet potatoes in a steamer basket and steam them for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer them to a food processor or blender, add the tomato juice, Red Chile Sauce, lime juice, cumin, and cinnamon, and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan, add the cilantro, season to taste with salt, and stir well to combine. Warm the sauce over low heat while preparing the Baja Black Bean Cakes.

In a medium bowl, place the black beans, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Using a potato masher or fork, roughly mash the mixture to combine. Add the red pepper, green onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and lime juice, and stir well to combine. On a plate, place 1/4 cups flour, cornmeal, and dash of chili powder, stir well to combine, and set aside. Add the remaining flour to the black bean mixture and stir well to combine. Using a 1/4 cups measuring cup, portion the mixture into 8 patties, and place them on a large plate. Chill the bean cakes for 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator.

Lightly oil a non-stick cookie sheet with a little safflower oil and set aside. Coat the chilled cakes in the reserved flour/cornmeal mixture and place them on the cookie sheet. Brush a little safflower oil on the tops of each bean cake. Bake them at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp on the outside. Top individual servings of the bean cakes with some of the Spicy Sweet Potato Sauce and a dollop of the Green Chiles and Almond Cream.

*Note: the Baja Black Bean Cakes can also be served with a little Red Chile Sauce drizzled over the bean cake and then topped with a spoonfuls of Avocado, Black Bean, and Tomato Salsa.

Yield: 8 bean cakes or 3-4 servings

 

Pepper Divider

 

Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Veggie Fajitas

3 T. balsamic vinegar
3 T. olive oil
2 T. freshly chopped parsley
1 T. garlic, minced
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
4 medium portobello mushrooms, washed well, and patted dry
2 red onions, sliced
2 red or orange peppers, destemmed, deseeded, and cut into quarters lengthwise
2 green peppers, destemmed, deseeded, and cut into quarters lengthwise
2 jalapeno peppers, destemmed, deseeded, and cut in half lengthwise
4 - 8-inch flour tortillas
1 recipe Green Chiles and Almond Cream (see recipe above), optional

In a large bowl, place the vinegar, olive oil, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper, and whisk well to combine. Add all of the vegetables and toss well to thoroughly coat the vegetables with the marinade. Set the vegetables aside and allow them to marinate for 15 minutes. Place the vegetables on a hot grill and grill for 3-5 minutes per side or until tender. Transfer the grilled vegetables to a cutting board and cut them into strips. The tortillas can be warmed on the grill, if desired. Transfer the vegetables to a platter for service. Allow guests to build their own fajitas by filling tortillas with the grilled vegetables and topping them with a little of the Green Chiles and Almond Cream, if desired.

*Note: the vegetables can also be cooked under the broiler for 3-5 minutes per side or until tender.

Serves 4

 

Pepper Divider

 

Tortilla Tortas with TVP and Rainbow Vegetables

3/4 cup zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
3/4 cup yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
3/4 cup red or orange pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
3/4 cup green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
2 T. safflower oil, divided
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley (or cilantro)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein) granules
1 cup hot water
1 cup onion, diced
1 T. garlic, minced
1 - 15 oz. can pinto beans (or other red beans of choice), drained, and rinsed
1 T. tamari
1 T. chili powder
1 t. paprika
1 t. dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1/2 cup water
1 T. tomato paste
8 - 6-inch corn tortillas
1 recipe of Red Chile Sauce (see recipe above)
1 recipe of Roasted Tomatillo Sauce (see recipe above)
1 cup vegan soy cheese, cheddar flavor, shredded

In a non-stick skillet, saute the zucchini, summer squash, and both peppers in 1 T. of the safflower oil for 3-5 minutes or until crisp tender. Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside. Place the TVP in a small bowl, pour the hot water over it, and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the TVP to rehydrate. In the same skillet used to saute the vegetables, saute the onion in the remaining 1 T. of safflower oil for 5 minutes to soften. Add the rehydrated TVP and garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes. Add the pinto beans, tamari, chili powder, paprika, and oregano, and continue to saute the mixture an additional 2 minutes. Add the water and tomato paste, stir well to combine, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Place some of the Red Chile Sauce in a shallow bowl. To assemble the tortilla tortas: begin by dipping one corn tortilla into the bowl of Red Chile Sauce, place the tortilla on a non-stick cookie sheet, spread one quarter of the TVP mixture on top of the tortilla, drizzle with a few tablespoons of the Roasted Tomatillo Sauce, and a few tablespoons of the remaining Red Chile Sauce. Dip another corn tortilla into the bowl of Red Chile Sauce, place it on top of the first layer, place one half of the reserved sauteed vegetables mixture on top of the tortilla, drizzle with a few tablespoons of the Roasted Tomatillo Sauce, a few tablespoons of the remaining Red Chile Sauce, and sprinkle with one quarter of the shredded cheese. Dip another corn tortilla into the bowl of Red Chile Sauce, place it on top of the second layer, spread another one quarter of the TVP mixture on top of the tortilla, drizzle with a few tablespoons of the Roasted Tomatillo Sauce, and a few tablespoons of the remaining Red Chile Sauce. Dip another corn tortilla into the bowl of Red Chile Sauce, place it on top of the third layer, and sprinkle with another one quarter of the shredded cheese over the top. Repeat the assembling-layering procedure with the remaining ingredients to assemble a second torta. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and the soy cheese is melted. Cut each torta into 4 pieces and serve 2 wedges per person.

*Note: can substitute crumbled tofu or tempeh for the TVP in the TVP filling, and other vegetables in the vegetable filling, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

 

Pepper Divider

 

Mexican Chocolate-Almond Cake

1/3 cup safflower oil (plus extra for oiling the cake pan)
1 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 oz. Mori-Nu silken style tofu, extra firm
2 t. almond extract
2 t. vanilla
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 2/3 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. salt
2/3 cup sliced almonds

Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, place the remaining safflower oil, soy milk, maple syrup, tofu, almond extract, vanilla, and vinegar, and process until smooth. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Reserve 2 T. sliced almonds for the top of the cake, add the remaining sliced almonds to the batter, and fold gently to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and sprinkle the reserved almonds over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan, and transfer it to a platter for service. Serve warm or at room temperature and drizzle servings with a little vegan chocolate sauce, if desired.

Yield: One 8-inch cake

 
 

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