Category Archives: Starters and Small Plates

Potato/Sweet Potato Chipotle-Cheez “Chips.” Oil-free. Gluten-free. Nut-free. Not Raw, Exactly.

Potato ChipsI’m feeling pretty good about the fact that I haven’t consumed a bag of salty snacks in months thanks to my dehydrator (the various tiny bags of chips that come in my Vegan Cuts Snack Box DO NOT count!), but despite the warm fuzzies I’m experiencing, there was still something missing.  Something starchy.  And spudly.  And toasty.  Where does the potato fit into the raw world??  To answer this need, I went Frankenraw and created a chip that was part potato, part sweet potato, part raw and part roasted.

I’ve shared this recipe on Healthy Vegan Friday on The Veggie Nook.

Potato/Sweet Potato Chipotle-Cheez “Chips”
Who’s counting?  Makes 2 full dehydrator trays

1 1/2 cups flaxseed meal
2 red-skinned potatoes, baked (leave skin on if organic) & cooled
1 sweet potato, roasted, cooled and peeled
2 tbsp. vegan Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 baby carrots
pinch salt and black pepper
1 to 1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried onion flakes
1 tsp. prepared horseradish (not “sauce”)
1 tsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. chipotle in adobo (or more if you like it spicy)

Put the flaxseed meal in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.

Cut the potatoes and sweet potato into chunks and add to a food processor.  Pulse a few times to break them down, then add the remaining ingredients (cheese through chipotle) and process until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Divide the mixture between two dehydrator trays that have been lined with non-stick sheets and pat or roll out (using another sheet on top) to create a smooth and even layer.  Lightly score the dough into desired shapes and place the trays in the dehydrator and turn it on to 145F.  Dehydrate for 30 minutes, then turn it down to 115F and continue dehydrating for about 12-14 hours – or until the chips are very crisp and dry.

Chips with Dip

Chips on Green Plate

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Virtual Vegan Potluck: Final Update!


Two days away…Are you ready?

I’ve heard from most of you and the answer to that question has been a resounding yes!  Below is the final list of participants.  Is that list a thing of beauty, or what?!

Please check this list and confirm that you’ve got the correct links in your text or on your “Go Back” and “Go Forward” buttons.  If you haven’t copied and inserted these buttons into your blog post, please visit the VVP Page to get them.  Detailed instructions are available there as well.  If you’d like to add a Virtual Vegan Potluck button to your blog, you can find that on the VVP Page, too.

Couple of reminders (can you tell I love lists?):

1) For those of us in North America: please publish your posts as soon as possible on May 12.  As I mentioned earlier, I will be scheduling mine to publish automatically at midnight on May 11.  For those wonderful bloggers joining us from the U.K., the Continent or Australia, maybe hold back a bit before publishing your posts.  Give the rest of time to wake up, stretch and down a slurp of coffee before we hit the Publish button.

2) Please double check your links to the blog that comes before you in the circle and the blog that comes after you in the circle.  A broken circle means lost readers.  I will be eating my way through the Potluck and will try and check the links, but if you come across one that doesn’t work or if the blogger has not published their Potluck post, please let me know or contact the blogger directly.

3) Update your links either the day of the Potluck or the day after.  The links should reflect the actual URL to the post, not the URL to the blog in general.  For further explanation, visit the VVP Page.

4) Jason over at Watch Me Lose 150 Pounds had a couple of great ideas (good thing we added him to the list, no?).  He’s planning on having an easy-to-print pdf file available in his post so readers can print out his appetizer recipe.  If I knew how to do this, I’d offer one, too!  His other fantastic idea is to create an e-book of all of our recipes and make it available for purchase on at a very reasonable price.  What do you think?  I think we should give it a go.  This is something we can put together – as Jason says – after the dust settles.

5) Another great idea came from Shira at In Pursuit of More – a Twitter hash tag.  I am mostly clueless when it comes to Twitter, but this is a really great way to spread the word.  Please use #virtualvegpotluck when Tweeting about the event.

6) I want to thank you all once again for being a part of this world-wide plant-based blogging event.  I’ve been continually amazed and cheered by your enthusiasm and support.  Let’s hope we have a very successful Potluck and that it is the first of many!

Potluck Participants

Host Site
Vegan Bloggers Unite!

Air Eater
In Fine Balance
That Was Vegan?
Things My Belly Likes
Watch Me Lose 150 Pounds

40 Fit in the Mitt
Former Fish Taco Fanatic
Bacon Is Not An Herb
Good Clean Food
Tearoom Delights
Turning VEGANese

Along Comes Mary
Anne Sture Tucker
Dudette Here!
Keepin’ It Kind
Rubber Cowgirl/Vegans Do It Better
Vegan Sparkles
Veggie What Now

An Unrefined Vegan (savory)
Cocina de Nihacc (savory)
In Pursuit of More (savory)
My Plant-based Family (sweet)
Sensual Appeal (sweet)

Cauldrons & Cupcakes
Emmy Cooks
Jenmi Jenmi
Joyness Sparkles
Luminous Vegans
Meizac’s Blog
The Not Starving Novelist
The Twenties Project
The Vegan Kat
Tiny Kitchen Stories
Toxic Vegan
Unsweetened Cocoa
V is for Vegetables
Veggie Witch

A Life Vegetarian
Bringing Europe Home
Everyday Vegan Girl
I Ate Lunch
Karma Chef
Terra, Not Terror
Veg Hot Pot
Vegan Fling

Christine Robyn
Foodie McBooty
The Adventures of Vegan Charlie

Blissful Britt
Cruelty Free Review
Eat Pray Bake
Fridge Scrapings
Go Bake Yourself
Lindsay is Vegan
Live Learn Love Eat
Naughty Vegan
Rachel in Veganland
The Hearty Herbivore
The Misfit Baker
The Savvy Sister
The Veg Bar
The Veggie Nook
Veggie 4 A Year
Veggie V’s Vegan Adventure

blahb alh

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Baked Save-the-PiggiesThere was a time when I could not pass up the cocktail wiener, the Vienna sausage, the “pigs” snuggled into biscuity blankets.  It was as much their diminutive size as their flavor – I mean, Vienna sausage??  Yikes.  Scary stuff even during the height of my carnivorous days.  Post-meat, the allure of the dainty sausage remained and when I opened the current issue of KAF’s The Baking Sheet and saw a recipe for wee hot dogs in biscuit dough, I had to give it a vegan go.  What I miss about sausage isn’t the meat, it’s the flavor – for which the spices are mainly responsible.  Seitan sausage has flavor to beat the band, so adapting this recipe was easy-peasy.  I added a touch of mustard and sweet, soft caramelized onions.

Makes 18

your favorite vegan sausage, 18 small “links”
~1/2 cup caramelized onions
your favorite mustard

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup AP flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup vegan “butter”
3/4 “buttermilk” (soy milk + apple cider vinegar or lemon juice)

About the sausage:
I cooked up a batch of my Smokey Apple-Sage Seitan Sausage and after it spent the night in the refrigerator, I cut the sausages down the middle, then I cut each half in quarters so that I had “links” about 3″ long.  Certainly a commercial vegan sausage could happily be employed for this recipe.  Oh – and I think a spicy seitan would be outstanding here… Anyway, once you cut the sausages, set them aside until you’re ready for the assembly line.

Make the biscuit dough:
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking pan with parchment.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Cut the “butter” into the dough until it’s more or less incorporated – like coarse meal – and then pour in the “buttermilk.”  Mix until you have a firm dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out until it’s about 1/4″ thick.  And here I used a ruler: you’re going to cut the dough into 3 1/2″ pieces.  Cut strips of dough that are 2″ wide and 10 1/2″ long – then cut those strips into thirds (to get the 3 1/2″ pieces).  I trimmed the ragged edges of the dough before measuring.  Smear a little bit of mustard onto each piece, then place caramelized onion on top of the mustard.  With a wet brush, dampen one end of each piece.  Now get your seitan sausage “links” and roll one up in each piece of dough, pressing to seal the edges.  You can brush the tops with soy milk if you like.

Unbaked Save-the-PiggiesBake for 15-20 minutes and serve while warm.  The original recipe suggests serving these with chutney – which sounds pretty darn good – much better than catsup.  They also suggest they’d be good alongside scrambled eggs, which of course, in our case would mean scrambled tofu.

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Red Lentil & Spinach Turnovers

Spinach & Lentil Turnovers on PlateAll that really needs to be said about these is: mmmmm.  Flaky pastry dough, spinach and creamy red lentils with a little bit of spice.  Yeah.   These make a perfect lunch along with a cool, crisp salad, or if made smaller, could be handily applied as an appetizer.  To get ahead of the meal game, make up a batch to the point of baking*, wrap well and pop into the freezer.  You can them bake them straight out of the freezer (removing the plastic or foil wrap, of course).

Red Lentil & Spinach Turnovers
Makes 6

Jar of Red Lentils2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
pinch salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup vegan shortening
4-6 tbsp. ice water
1 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup boiling water
8 oz. spinach
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Prepare the dough:
Place the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times to mix.  Add the shortening in pieces and pulse to incorporate.  Add the oil to the 6 tbsp. water and slowly pour into the dough while processing.  Only add as much water as needed to form a solid dough – a ball should form as the dough spins in the bowl.

Remove the dough and knead a few times if necessary.  Flatten and then wrap with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight.

Dough with Rolling Pin

Prepare the filling:
Heat the vegetable broth in a large saucepan and cook the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the cumin seeds and coriander and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the red lentils and stir in the boiling water.  Bring mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until lentils are soft.  If necessary, uncover and gently cook until all the water has cooked off or been absorbed.  Set aside.

Steam the spinach until just tender.  Drain well and chop.  Add the spinach to the lentil mixture and stir well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator a few minutes before assembling the turnovers.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut out six 6″ rounds.  Divide lentil mixture between the circles and brush a bit of water around the edges.  Fold dough over to make a half circle and gently press the edge with the tines of a fork.  Prick each turnover a few times on the top.

Place the turnovers (3 to a pan) on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Open Turnover

* Before I wrap and freeze the unbaked turnovers, I line a baking pan with parchment and put the turnovers on the parchment then place the pan in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.  This firms up the dough.  Then I wrap the turnovers well in plastic and put them in gallon freezer bags.

(This recipe comes from Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Bible, mentioned many-a-time on this blog.  I didn’t change the pastry recipe at all, but I did do my usual veggie broth instead of oil saute for the filling.)

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Stuffed Artichokes Oliverio: A Family Tradition Veganized

Two Stuffed ArtichokesChristmas Eve.  Christmas Eve was a big deal in my childhood – and in many ways, much more special than Christmas Day.  By 9:00 am on Christmas Day I always felt a little deflated, as if I’d caught just the tail-end of a raucous parade.  But Christmas Eve was full of promise and anticipation: the decorated tree awash in delicate multi-colored light, the empty stockings at the fireplace, the plate of cookies waiting for Santa.  And then there was the Christmas Eve dinner, a tradition created by my father with a nod to his Sicilian and Italian roots.  He spent days in the kitchen preparing a rich tomato sauce with a variety of savory meats and seasonings; special cheeses were purchased from the Italian deli in downtown Cleveland and boxes of lasagna noodles were at the ready.  My dad’s lasagna was a many-layered thing of beauty, dotted with fat green olives, thick rounds of sausage, crumbled hard-boiled eggs, creamy ricotta and tangy Parmesan.  Cutting into that first pieces was like slicing into a wedding cake.  We kids could not wait to dive in with our forks.  But before the lasagna came out of the oven (dangerously hot), there were the artichokes.  Stuffed to the point of bursting with Italian sausage, bread crumbs and copious amounts of Parmesan cheese (hand-grated by dad), they sat temptingly before us on our plates, leaves begging to be plucked and scraped clean of their bounty.  The prize was at the bottom – the succulent heart of the ‘choke.  Some of us slowly savored their artichokes and some of us, more impatient, tore through them like twisters roaming across Kansas.

Italian sausage and Parmesan cheese are no longer part of my food vocabulary, but that doesn’t mean the end to the tradition.  It just means getting creative.  Below is my recipe, lovingly crafted, for Stuffed Artichokes Oliverio.  Dad, I love you.  Thank you for so many loving, warm and delicious memories.

Trimmed ArtichokeStuffed Artichokes Oliverio
Makes 4

4 large fresh artichokes, washed, stems cut off and top 1-2″ removed

1 cup boiling water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup TVP
1 cup dry red wine
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tsp. dried rosemary
4 whole cloves
2 tsp. tahini
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely minced (or use a microplaner)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs or panko

1 cup of so of vegan Italian sausage, crumbled
1/2-2/3 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast

Make Sausage:
Combine red wine, cloves, garlic (the roughly chopped clove) and rosemary in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 6-10 minutes or until liquid is slightly thickened (I ended up with about a 1/2 cup of liquid).  Strain to remove solids and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the TVP and the one cup boiling water.  Stir and let stand for about 10 minutes.  Then add the tahini, fennel, poultry seasoning, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, black pepper, minced garlic, cornstarch and strained wine mixture.  Mix well.

Cover and put the mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up.  When ready to bake, heat the oven to 425F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment and if desired, form the mixture into 6-8 patties.  I simple spread the mixture onto parchment – it was easier than forming patties and for the purposes of this recipe, patties weren’t necessary.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the mixture is crispy on top.

Vegan Italian Sausage

Allow to cool so that you can handle the mixture easily.  At this point, crumble about 1 cup’s worth of the sausage into a bowl and set aside while you prepare the artichokes.

3 ArtichokesArtichokes:
Wash the artichokes and carefully cut off the top 1″-2″ of the artichokes; cut off the stem close to the base of the artichoke so that they can sit on their bottoms.  Gently pull the leaves to allow room between them for stuffing.

Get that bowl of crumbled sausage and have the 1/2-2/3 cup of bread crumbs (plus salt and pepper to taste) in another bowl.  With a small spoon, place breadcrumbs down in between the leaves – stuff as many leaves as you can – even the deep, inner leaves, pulling apart as needed.  When all of the ‘chokes have been stuffed with the bread crumbs, go back in and divide the sausage among the artichokes, stuffing it in the same leaves into which you’ve put the bread crumbs.

Pour a half inch of vegetable broth and 1 tbsp. tamari into a large pot and turn the heat to medium-high.  When the broth is steaming, gently lower the stuffed ‘chokes into the pot, drizzle a little bit of vegetable broth, tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos over the tops of the ‘chokes and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.  Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down the heat to low – just so you have a little bit of a simmer going.  Add more broth or water as needed.  It can take 1-2 hours to cook artichokes, depending on the size and freshness.  Mine took close to a full two hours.

How do you know when they’re done?  Gently pull one of the outer leaves.  If it comes off easily, the ‘chokes are probably done.  Taste the leaf you’ve pulled off – if the “meat” at the end of the leaf is tender – you’re good to go.

Artichokes in Pot

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