Broccoli & Linguine

Arrrgh! This dinner is so good! It makes me sort of angry to look at the picture and not be eating it. Also, it makes me a little mad at myself that I haven’t made it for so long. This is, of course, Pasta con Broccoli from Appetite for Reduction. I’m really glad I saved it for tonight’s dinner, since I was feeling a little tired and run down today.

I have a few handy tips about making this dish–first, use linguine. I don’t know why it makes such a big difference, but you should for sure use it. I think I made this with regular spaghetti in the past and it isn’t nearly as good. Second, I like to cook the broccoli way, way down. So it’s really mushy and creamy and I even break it up a little bit with the spatula before I mix in the pasta. Last, don’t be afraid of the garlic. If anything, you can put in even more than the roughly 1/4 cup the recipe calls for. I would say this is one time to purchase that pre-peeled garlic, though. It’ll help you get the nice slices without losing your mind.

And by all means, sprinkle with nutritional yeast. You need more of that stuff in your life, you really, really do.

 

 

It Isn’t Easy Being Green…Actually, It’s Not Green At All.

The soup you see before you is Smoky Split Pea Soup from Appetite for Reduction. Are you asking the same question I am? Why isn’t it green?

I don’t know. I think it must be the ratio of split-pea-to-broth and the addition of lots of carrots. But it looks just like tomato soup, though there isn’t any tomato in it at all. I really was hoping for more green, but it does taste remarkably delicious, so that’s going to have to be good enough. I wouldn’t say that it’s exactly smoky, but it does have a hint of that bacon-y flavor you’d get in a meat split pea soup.

The garlic bread was really the best part, which is funny because it’s super easy. Just bread, earth balance, garlic salt and cheddar teese. Oh, and my secret ingredient–a little bit of onion powder. Then you toast it until the cheese melts. But my husband and I were both chomping at the bit to eat more of it. More bread! More garlic bread!

 

Enchiladas!

Mmm…Happy Herbivore’s Smoky Black Bean Enchiladas. My photo does not look a THING like hers from the cookbook–my enchiladas are always a messy, messy affair, with ripped tortillas and gooey filling and melty sauce and cheese. These were no exception, and were totally, totally rockin’. I don’t say “rockin'” very often, but I think it fits here.

Can I just say I was totally skeptical about the chocolate in the sauce? Yeah. I didn’t believe, but now I do. When I smelled the distinct, accurate scent of enchiladas wafting from the oven, I knew she was right. And the smoky tofu black bean filling! It required 2 tsp of smoke flavoring, which scared me. Two whole teaspoons? I think I put in maybe one and a half, and I should have gone the whole way. Or added a little smoked paprika, too, that would be an awesome touch.

This dinner was also made possible by Trader Joe’s, who now has two stores in the Kansas City area. Bless them. They have totally superior and cheap products, and I have driven out there not once this week–but three times. THREE TIMES. In a week. That’s like 6 hours of transit time for a little Trader Joe’s fix. But I missed them so much! When I lived in San Diego, they were just down the street. I took them for granted. No longer!

So, yeah, Trader Joe’s organic sprouted tofu is my new favorite tofu. It smells amazing raw, which I do not normally think about tofu. At all. And great corn tortillas, since making my own is sort of a pain in the butt. If I talk any more about them, I’ll want to drive out there again. Must…stop…reaching…for the keys…

Chickpeas & Dumplings

I really wish I could take credit for this idea. But Happy Herbivore beat me to it. It appears you can just replace chicken in almost any dish with chickpeas, and have awesome results. I need to make buffalo chickpeas asap! Seriously. I will get on that.

Anyway, my version didn’t look a THING like the picture in the cookbook. Probably because I really piled on the veggies, and didn’t have the same texture of sauce. And because I used just straight veggie broth instead of making her broth powder mixture. I don’t have time to mess with making my own broth powder. Especially when I have access to great low-sodium organic veggie broth. How can you go wrong with that?

So that’s probably what accounts for the darker color. Also, I opted to just throw in the spices she lists as her “poultry blend” since I keep them on hand. And I finally got to use the rosemary that’s been growing out back for ages! Why don’t vegans use rosemary more? I have TONS.

The only issue I had with this meal (which was fantastic, by the way) was the texture of the dumplings. I’m wondering if it’s a regional thing, because I’m used to the ones that are more like biscuits. You either set them on the top and boil them, or shove the whole thing in the oven and bake it a little like a pot pie. This was more like spätzle, and dumplings were kinda firm and a tad rubbery. Did I over mix them? Who knows. I’ll try it again, but I’m not sure quite how to fix that.

Bulgur, Squash & White Beans

I keep thinking this dish is seafood, but it’s not. It looks like a delicious deconstructed crab cake, which seem amazing but I know I will hate. I hate seafood. With an undying passion.

That being said, this bowl is fantastic! It’s made with white (or navy) beans, bulgur, and summer squash that’s roasted with black pepper and salt. Then you smother that whole thing with delicious Caesar dressing from Appetite for Reduction.

It is missing a green element–I’m thinking kale (if you can find the good kind), asparagus, or even swiss chard. Any suggestions?

Spaghetti and Leanballs

I believe the Happy Herbivore‘s original recipe calls this dish “Spaghetti and Meatless Balls” which sounds kinda sad, right? I don’t like to think about meatless balls. Who would? It focuses on what you’re missing, not what you have. So, I suggest from now on this dish is called Spaghetti and Leanballs, since you make it with Gimme Lean.

I love Gimme Lean. First, the adorable name (cause it’s vegan Jimmy Dean!). Plus, it is actually lean. And rather close to meat, if you are into that. The flavor of Ground Beef-style Gimme Lean is like soy sauce mixed with Worcestershire sauce. If you like those two items, you’ll be golden. Since I do, Gimme Lean and I get along great.

I don’t believe the original recipe gives you a marinara sauce, but I always make my own anyway. And this simple combo (with a little earth balance buttered bread) made me incredibly happy. I was literally skipping down the street after eating this dinner. Or maybe I was just excited about my awesome trip to Trader Joe’s that morning. Yes, Kansas has a Trader Joe’s now! And all is right with the world.

No-Huevos Rancheros

The saddest part is that this is the best picture I took. This dish is amazingly delicious, and yet I could only take the most horrendous pictures of it. Poor Huevos Rancheros. Look at you: homemade salsa, homemade corn tortillas, tofu scramble, veggie refried beans, cajun potatoes, avocado and a little bit of lime. Does it get any better than that?

I would love to make this again. However, it’s what’s known as a “kitchen destroyer” in that it takes up literally every mixing bowl and pot and pan that I have. And the food processor. Good grief! This dish has about as many elements as a Thanksgiving dinner. I think the best idea is to eat it when you have leftover salsa, leftover tortillas, and then you just have to make the scramble, beans, and potatoes. Do you see what I mean? That’s still a lot of work.

Happy Herbivore says she likes to make this when nursing a hangover. How could anyone have the stamina to make this while hungover?