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Recipe: Cumin-Scented Black Bean Salad

17 Jul

This is a perfect summer salad, because unlike the rest of us, it doesn’t wilt. Its Latin accents, with a bit of seasoned rice vinegar thrown in as a counterpoint, are just the thing for a summer’s eve when it’s too hot to cook.

Black Bean Salad
Serves 4-6

1 15.5-oz. can black beans, well drained
3 tbsp. finely diced red onion
2 scallions (green onions), white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (can vary amount to taste)

1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. sugar
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice

Combine dressing ingredients in medium serving bowl. Add salad ingredients (except cilantro) and mix gently. Just before serving, fold in cilantro.

Recipe: Red Lentil Dip

30 Jun

If you love hummus but would like something a little different, here’s a recipe that is equally nutritious and great with pita chips, pita bread, or crackers. Adapted from Cooking Light, this dip has a light curry flavor. Red lentils turn yellow when cooked; the turmeric brings out the golden color.

Red Lentil Dip
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 c. dried small red lentils
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp. pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/8 tsp. chilli flakes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Place lentils and bay leaf in a large saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover saucepan, and simmer about 10 minutes or until tender, adding water if needed. If any water remains after lentils are fully cooked, drain well. Discard bay leaf.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent; add pine nuts and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until nuts are lightly browned. Stir in spices and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold in tomato paste and lemon juice.

Add onion mixture to lentils in saucepan and puree with an immersion blender, or use a food processor and process until smooth.

Recipe: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffiins

24 Jun

Prerequisites: lazy Sunday morning, very ripe bananas, recipe requiring minimal prep time, final product not requiring a fork or plate, and tea/coffee and newspaper at hand.

As an added bonus, this recipe is vegan, which not only produces deliciously moist muffins, but also means kids (and adults) can lick the bowl.  The vegan recipes our non-vegan family likes best are those made with every-day, non-perishable ingredients we always have at hand (vanilla soy milk has become one of those ingredients; I keep some in the cupboard for just this purpose, though it goes into the fridge afterward).

During WWII, when butter and eggs were rationed, many cooks in the United States and elsewhere turned to vegan baking out of necessity–hence a whole generation of “crazy cakes” and other confections. If you have not tried anything vegan, try these. They are scrumptious. But if you prefer, you can always substitute regular milk for the soy milk.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 16+ muffins

1 1/4 c. unbleached white flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar (I like to use 1/2 c. white sugar, 1/2 c. brown, or whatever I have on hand)
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c. canola oil
1/4 c. vanilla soy milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins with baking spray or use liners.

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients, including chocolate chips and nuts (if using). In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet. Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick (or knife or fork) inserted into the muffins comes out clean.