salty option of choice (such as coconut aminos, tamari, soy sauce)
mushrooms, thickly sliced
cauliflower, cut into small florets
summer squash and/or zucchini, diced
sweet peppers, diced
super-firm tofu, cut into cubes
cherry tomatoes, halved
greens of choice (such as kale, chard, beet greens, collards), cut into ribbons
fresh basil, slivered
seeds of choice (such as toasted sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and/or sunflower seeds)
Smash the ginger and garlic together (you might use a mortar and pestle) into something like a paste.
In a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, warm the sesame oil (and other oil). Cook the ginger-garlic paste along with the onion, stirring frequently, until aromatic, 1 or 2 minutes. Add the spicy option and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Stir in about a half cup of broth or water with the miso and salty option. Stir until the miso is incorporated. Add the mushrooms, cauliflower, squash, sweet peppers, and enough broth to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are just soft. Stir in the tofu, tomatoes, and corn. Cook for a few minutes. Then stir in the greens and several tablespoons of tahini.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve topped with basil, green onions, and seeds of choice.
Here’s a lovely, light summery soup. To make the cashew cream, soak about 1/2 cup raw cashews in water to cover for about 30 minutes and blend (best in a high-powered blender) until creamy. The cooked green beans in the ingredient list add more texture to the soup, but feel free to substitute any favorite vegetable. Inspired by a recipe on lovingitvegan.com.
pinch of salt
red pepper flakes (optional)
spinach or kale leaves, sliced
cashew cream (see headnote)
green beans or vegetable of choice, cut into bite-size pieces and steamed or microwaved
freshly ground pepper
smoky options: smoked paprika, liquid smoke, chipotle powder, or chipotle hot sauce
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm some oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, to toast. Add the potato and enough broth for the potato to cook in the liquid. Simmer until the potato is almost cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cashew cream just until the spinach is wilted and softened.
Use an immersion blender or a potato masher to create a creamy but chunky soup, adding more broth if needed. Stir in the green beans or cooked vegetable of choice and cook until the soup is heated through.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with one or more smoky options and serve.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm some oil. Add the onion in half of the pan and the mushrooms in the other half. Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown bits form in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the lentils along with their soaking water, scraping up the browned bits from the pan. Add broth to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until the lentils are done but not mushy, checking every 10 minutes or so. Stir in the spinach, garlic, walnuts, hot sauce, and salt or tamari. Cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted and soft. Remove from the heat and add the basil.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with hot sauce, salt, and/or tamari.
Pickled beets in the fridge are great for snacking and adding to salads of all kinds. The saltiness of the brine is a punchy contrast to the natural sweetness of the beets. You can use red beets or a combination of varieties, but pink and gold beets do not bleed or stain. No need to wash, scrub, or peel the beets before cooking because boiling makes it easy to slip off their peels afterward. You’ll need one or two glass jars with tight-fitting lids.
unpeeled pink beets (aka Chioggia or candy cane), halved if large
unpeeled gold beets, halved if large
red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
fresh dill leaves, chopped (at least 2 tablespoons)
white wine vinegar (about 1/2 cup)
salt to taste (starting with 1/2 teaspoon)
a few black peppercorns
In a saucepan large enough to fit all of the beets over medium heat, add the beets with water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until easily pierced with a fork, 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another saucepan over medium heat, add the vinegar, 1/2 cup water, salt, and peppercorns and stir until the salt is dissolved. Taste and add more salt if you want a saltier brine. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Strain and return to the pot. Keep warm.
Drain the cooked beets, return to the saucepan, and cover with cold water to cool. Slip off and compost the peels. Slice the beets and add a few slices to a glass jar. Layer on onion slices and some chopped dill. Repeat the layering until your jar is full or you run out of ingredients.
Slowly pour the hot brine over the beet mixture, pushing the beets down as you pour. Screw on the lid and let cool at room temperature.
Imagine lettuce leaves stuffed with a tasty filling — that’s “lettuce cups.” The long list of ingredients below demonstrates the variety you could include in the filling, but feel free to use any favorite vegetables. So that the filling cooks at about the same rate, chop the vegetables small and about the same size. At the table, you can serve diners a grain or grain combination (such as lentils, quinoa, and brown basmati rice) to mix into their filling before stuffing their lettuce leaves or to enjoy alongside their lettuce cups.
olive oil or avocado oil
snow peas, cut diagonally into thirds
red or green cabbage, chopped
chard, chopped, with stems and leaves kept separate
vinegar of choice (such as white balsamic, dark balsamic, rice, or other vinegar)
toasted sesame oil
lettuce of choice (such as red leaf, green leaf, romaine, or butter lettuce), separated into leaves, for serving
favorite grain or grains (see headnote), for serving
hot sauce, for serving (optional)
In a large pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion to half of the pan and the mushrooms to the other half. Let cook without stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the snow peas and cook another minute. Stir in the cabbage, zucchini, and chard stems. Cook another minute. Stir in the tofu with a splash of broth or water if the pan is dry. Cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are almost cooked the way you like. Stir in the chard leaves, garlic, green onions, cilantro, sriracha, coconut aminos, and vinegar and cook until everything is done the way you like. Remove from the heat.
Drizzle with sesame oil and stir until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more sriracha, coconut aminos, vinegar, and/or sesame oil. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and pine nuts and stir to combine. Serve the filling with the lettuce leaves, sliced avocado, grain of choice, and hot sauce alongside so diners can stuff and enjoy their own lettuce cups.
Here near San Francisco, last week was the very end of the fall tomatoes and sweet peppers at the farmers’ market (yes, in January!). This pasta dish honors those ingredients along with the chewy goodness of the butterfly-shaped pasta and tofu and the softness of the spinach, a recent arrival at the farmers’ market.
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm some olive oil. Add the onion and cook until starting to wilt. Stir in the mushrooms and peppers. Cook undisturbed for several minutes so there’s some browning. Deglaze with marsala, making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, some broth, and the tofu. Cover and simmer, adding more broth if needed so nothing sticks.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. Drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking water.
Transfer the pasta to the skillet and stir into the vegetable mixture. Add the spinach, garlic, a little mustard, a drizzle of vinegar, and some of the pasta cooking water to make a sauce. Stir together until the spinach wilts. Then add the parsley and pine nuts.
Just three ingredients in this autumn-to-winter salad and a go-to simple salad dressing of mayo, vinegar, mustard, and nutritional yeast. About the persimmon: A Fuyu persimmon is meant to be eaten raw and looks like a squat, flattened tomato. If you can’t find a Fuyu persimmon, you can substitute a favorite apple variety.
kale, preferably Tuscan (aka dinosaur, lacinato, or Cavolo nero), center ribs removed and leaves cut into ribbons
Fuyu persimmon, cut into small pieces
toasted, unsalted pecan pieces
white balsamic vinegar or vinegar of choice
Dijon mustard or mustard of choice
Place the kale in a colander. Sprinkle with some salt. Massage the salt into the kale until the kale wilts and turns a shade darker. Rinse thoroughly and drain. (Alternatively, place the kale and salt in a salad spinner, massage, wash, and then spin, if desired.) Transfer to a large bowl. Add the persimmon and pecans and toss to combine.
To prepare the salad dressing, whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and nutritional yeast in a separate bowl and pour over the kale mixture or mix directly into the salad ingredients. Toss thoroughly.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, toss again, and serve.
Polenta hits the spot any time of year because it is so flexible — and it’s tasty with whatever vegetables are in your fridge. Use 1 part polenta to 3 parts liquid. If you have the time, broil some crispy cubed tofu to top each bowl.
In a saucepan, add the broth. Bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta continuously for about 30 seconds to avoid lumps. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is completely cooked, at least 30 minutes. When done, stir in some red pepper flakes, rosemary, some of the basil, half of the parsley, nutritional yeast, and vegan butter or olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, warm some olive oil. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until browned. Add sun-dried tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes. Add greens, half of the lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and continue to cook until greens are cooked the way you like. Stir in garlic, white beans, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook for a minute, remove from the heat, and cover to keep warm.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining parsley and basil, some red pepper flakes, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper until smooth.
Serve the polenta topped with the vegetable-bean mixture, some almonds, and a drizzle of the herby oil.
This salad recipe, with its quick-cook grains, comes together quickly. Please don’t be scared by the long ingredient list — the ingredients listed are just suggestions, so use whatever veggies you have or enjoy.
red onion, diced
homemade vegetable broth, store-bought broth, or water (about 1½ cups)
quinoa (about ½ cup), rinsed and drained
bulgur (about ½ cup), rinsed and drained
dried or fresh dill
fresh lemon juice
toasted sesame oil
prepared mustard (such as Dijon, yellow, spicy brown, hot and sweet)
shelled, fully cooked edamame
super-firm tofu or seasoned tofu, cubed
salad vegetables (such as sliced radishes, diced sweet pepper, thinly sliced green onions, diced kohlrabi, carrot coins)
cabbage leaves (napa, red, or green), thinly sliced
toasted slivered or sliced almonds
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm some olive oil. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until starting to brown. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until the quinoa sprouts (looks like tiny curved tails). Stir in the bulgur, garlic, and dill and cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover, and let cool a bit.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, miso, some olive oil, toasted sesame oil, tahini, mustard, and nutritional yeast until well-combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
In a large bowl, add the edamame, tofu, salad vegetables, and cabbage. Add some or all of the quinoa-bulgur mixture. Toss to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss again. Top with the avocado and almonds and serve.
Chewy farro, satisfying potatoes, sweet beets, and tangy sauerkraut — this salad ticks all the boxes. If you don’t have farro on hand, substitute a grain of choice, but cook until just done, not mushy. The reason golden beets are in the ingredient list is because they taste great and don’t bleed, but if you prefer red beets or Chioggia (aka candystripe) beets, use them instead. Inspired by a post on uglyvegankitchen.com.
beet greens, stemmed and slivered (or greens of choice, chopped)
green onions, sliced
seasoned baked tofu or super-firm tofu, cubed
In a dry frying pan, toast the farro until a shade darker. Cook the farro in vegetable broth according to package directions until soft but still chewy.
Steam the beets and potatoes until cooked through. Transfer to a large bowl. Steam the beet greens until cooked the way you like and transfer to the bowl with the beets and potatoes. Add the green onions, tofu, and a couple of spoonfuls of sauerkraut. Toss together until well-combined.
Taste the salad. Pour some sauerkraut brine into a small bowl. Whisk in mayonnaise and dried dill. Pour over the salad, add sunflower seeds, and toss to combine. Taste again, adjust the seasoning as needed, toss, and serve.