Tag Archives: entertaining

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Red Lentil, Couscous, & Vegetable Stoup. Oil-free.

lentil soup in bowl(Yes, I did use a dreaded Rachel Ray word in the recipe title.  I apologize for that, but it fits for this recipe.  It starts out as a soup but turns into a stew the next day, as you can see from the photos.)

WELCOME TO THE FOURTH VIRTUAL VEGAN POTLUCK!  I’ve got some appreciation to take care of: First of all, thank you to every one who signed on to this craziness.  The directions are complicated, the reminder emails get annoying, and most of all, I know the amount of effort it takes to get a blog post to the Publish stage.  I truly appreciate your time and energy.  I’m always awed and inspired by what you create in the kitchen.

I made a few changes in implementation for this Potluck and it’s made all of the difference.  Having Mentors helping me communicate and coordinate with participants took a big weight off of my shoulders, so thank you thank you to my international crew: Rachael of Rubber Cowgirl, Keely of Gormandize, Barb of That Was Vegan?, Kamila of Sensual Appeal, Liezl of Spinach Revolution, and Angela of Canned Time.  Angela wore multiple hats and did a great job with the VVP Pinterest board.  And thanks to Lidia over at Vegan Bloggers Unite! for once again playing hostess to the Potluck.

Lastly, I want to share what I discovered shortly before I started work on this Potluck.  I realized that when I backed off of worrying about sponsorship and promotion, I enjoyed the process again: welcoming bloggers to their first Potluck; seeing old friends sign up for their fourth event; helping people choose a course or dish.  After all, my original inspiration was to carve out some space and time to share plant-based food with the blogging community – many of whom have become friends.  It’s about letting our creativity shine.  It’s about appreciating the unique perspective we all have.  And this November it was all about making everything from bread to desserts using beets…

Red Lentil, Couscous, & Vegetable Stoup
Serves 6-8

1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
Bragg Liquid Aminos – just a splash
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried onion flakes
pinch coriander
pinch black pepper
1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup dried red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 no-salt vegetable bouillon cube
1 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
1 Italian vegan sausage link, homemade or use Field Roast brand, sliced
4 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous

In a large pot, sauté the onions, carrot, and celery in some vegetable broth and/or water.  Add a splash of Liquid Aminos, cover and cook the vegetables until soft.  After about 10 minutes, stir in the garlic, thyme, coriander, dried onion, and black pepper.  Stir for about a minute.

Pour in the tomatoes, zucchini, lentils, broth, water, veggie bouillon, and artichoke hearts.  Bring mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer; cover, and cook for about 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Stir in the sausage, spinach, and couscous and cook for about 20 more minutes.  Serve piping hot with vegan Parmesan-style cheese.

red lentil soup

Here’s what I shared in previous Potlucks:
May 2012: Sage & Rosemary Dinner Rolls with Roasted Garlic Coconut Butter
November 2012: Maple Creme & Mocha Spice Cake Trifle with Fresh Blueberries
May 2013: Sweet Potato Fries with Parsley, Garlic, & Lemon Zest

ONWARD!  There is a LOT more eating to do!

To go back to Juicy Dishes, click here or on the image below.

Go Back Button VVP

To move forward to Soulicious Life, click here or on the image below.

Go Forward VVP

To start at the very beginning, click here.

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Virtual Vegan Potluck: An Invitation

Napkins, Dishes

This idea has been kicking around my head for the past couple of weeks now, born of a few comments between Shira (In Pursuit of More) and me – when I invited myself over to partake of one of her inspired dips and she graciously welcomed me to come on by.  Sadly, of course, that was not possible.  Though we share a continent, there were too many miles between us for me to have made it there in time for the main course, let alone the hors d’oeuvre.  But it got me thinking: wouldn’t it be nice to gather this warm community of eating, baking and cooking bloggers for a feast?  One day where we all come together to share favorite recipes as if we were really sitting down – plates balanced on knees, juggling glasses – to eat together?  A virtual vegan potluck.

Here’s what I’m thinking: participants would select a course out of the usual suspects (beverages, appetizers, salads, soup/stews, sides, main course, breads, desserts – any I’m forgetting?) and on the date selected, they would publish a post of their recipe with photos.  A “button” would guide readers to the preceding post and the following post.  A blog circle.  The circle would be set up so that it starts with the appetizers and moves through the courses.  Perhaps there would also be a “host” site that is not participating in the potluck, but just serves as a launching point for the event.  A bit of HTML here and there (provided by me and inserted by you into your post) would tie us all together.

What do you think?  Would you like to join me in a virtual vegan potluck?  I hope so!  Please let me know by emailing me at [email protected] – and tell me what course you’d like to contribute (no need to include the exact dish).  Check out my page Vegan Virtual Potluck for more details and for info and developments – and by all means, spread the word and invite other food bloggers!

Let’s say the deadline for committing to the potluck is April 30, with the potluck itself being held on May 12.  I’ll list the blog names on the Vegan Virtual Potluck page so that everyone knows who is ahead and who is behind them on the list.  I’ll post a couple of buttons to decorate your sidebars if you like and the HTML code will be available there as well.

There’s no limit on the number of bloggers participating and hey, if you aren’t an every day vegan, no worries.  Just prepare something animal-free for the potluck.  I’d love to have eaters and cooks of all kinds.

Hope to see you at the Potluck!

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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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Mushroom & Wild Rice Brioche with Gravy

Mushroom BriocheWild rice + cremini mushrooms + flaky crust = showstopping vegan main course.  This would be perfect for serving non-vegan guests not only because it’s gorgeous, but also because it tastes rich, complex and decadent.  Though it looks kinda difficult to put together, it isn’t – you could even make it and store it in the refrigerator (unbaked) overnight.   Pair it with a savory gravy (recipe below) and roasted butternut squash or a steamed green beans with slivered almonds – candles and a vase of fresh flowers would be nice, too.

Mushroom & Wild Rice Brioche
Serves 4

Unbaked Brioche1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 packet regular yeast
pinch of salt
3 tbsp. soy milk
2 tbsp. egg replacer + 6 tbsp. water (whisk until frothy, then set aside for a minute)
1/2 cup vegan shortening, softened

1/2 cup wild rice/brown rice blend
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
4 shallots, chopped
6 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

2 cups vegetable stock
2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in3 tbsp. water
1/4 cup soy milk

Make the gravy:
In a small saucepan, combine the broth, soy sauce, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to low and whisk in the cornstarch/water mixture and return to a boil.  Whisk until the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the milk, but do not allow the mixture to boil.  Taste to adjust seasonings.  You can make this ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Just gently reheat in microwave.

Make the dough:
Place the flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix.  Add the soy milk and the egg replacer and pulse again to evenly combine ingredients.  Beat in the butter until a dough forms and comes together, then transfer to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough and return it to the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Make the filling:
Cook the rice according to package directions (usually takes about 30-40 minutes) and drain if necessary.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the vegetable broth and Liquid Aminos and saute the shallots until soft.  Add the mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, salt and pepper.  Stir in the cooked rice and allow the mixture to cool completely before assembling the brioche.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface – your aim is to create a rectangle almost as large as a half sheet pan.  Transfer the rectangle to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Spoon the mushroom and rice mixture into the center of the rectangle, leaving space around the edges of the dough.  Moisten the edges of the dough.  Now fold in the two long edges – you should have some overlap.  Trim the edge that will show if you like (just to neaten it up).  Press gently to seal.  Press the edges at either end – again, trimming if necessary to create a clean line.  Using the tines of a fork, gently press into the dough to seal.  Make a few diagonal cuts along the top both for ventilation and decoration.

Brush the dough with soy milk, if desired, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Serve alongside plenty of gravy.

Unbaked Brioche

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