Herby + spicy blender green sauce (vegan, gluten-free)

Don’t know what to do with some fresh herbs lurking in the fridge or growing in your kitchen garden? Here’s a no-cook, very versatile topping to perk up a bowl of soup or a pasta or rice dish. Great also as a spread on a taco or pita pocket. For a little more substance, blend in some chickpeas or hummus.

Ingredients
  • slivered toasted almonds
  • toasted pine nuts
  • garlic, sliced
  • homemade vegetable broth or water
  • mixed fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, dill, oregano, sage, thyme, mint, and rosemary), coarsely chopped
  • jalapeño chile, coarsely chopped
  • jarred capers, with or without their brine
  • lettuce leaves of choice (such as romaine, green leaf, or red leaf), coarsely chopped
Method

In a blender, place the almonds, pine nuts, and garlic with a splash of broth. Blend until coarsely ground. Add the herbs, jalapeño, capers, and lettuce and blend together, adding more broth to make it creamy. Taste and adjust the flavor, adding more lettuce if too spicy.

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Bread casserole with mushrooms, almonds, edamame + herbs (dairy-free, vegan)

Some people might call this a bread stuffing and make it only on holidays. But this casserole is comfort food anytime. For bread choices, consider using both sweet (whole wheat raisin bread?) and savory (rye or olive bread?). For the homemade broth, simmer the fennel tops from the fennel bulb in more than 4 cups of water while you prepare the other ingredients. Inspired by a Jacques Pépin recipe.

Ingredients
  • assorted breads (1 pound total)
  • olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • sweet pepper, chopped
  • jalapeño chile, minced (optional)
  • fennel bulb, chopped
  • herbes de Provence spice blend (thyme, oregano, marjoram, savory, rosemary, and lavender)
  • dried sage
  • ground nutmeg
  • 4 cups homemade vegetable broth or store-bought
  • toasted slivered almonds
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • Swiss chard, stalks removed and leaves chopped
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • shallot, minced
  • frozen shelled edamame, thawed
Method
  1. Slice the bread and toast in a toaster or toaster oven until hard then cut into 1-inch pieces, or cut into 1-inch pieces and toast on a baking sheet in a 400ºF oven until hard. Transfer the bread to a large bowl.
  2. Preheat or lower the oven to 375ºF. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm some olive oil. Add the onion, mushrooms, pepper, jalapeño, fennel bulb, herbes de Provence, sage, and nutmeg and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Pour in the broth and stir.
  3. Transfer the vegetable-broth mixture to the bowl with the bread. Stir in the almonds, parsley, chard, garlic, shallot, and edamame with a sprinkle of more herbes de Provence. Pour into a baking dish (you might need two baking dishes, depending on volume). Cover with foil and bake, checking to see if more broth is needed, until completely cooked through and much of the broth is taken up by the bread, up to 60 minutes.

Kale salad with roasted beets, almonds + sesame-balsamic dressing (vegan, gluten-free)

Just a few flavor-packed ingredients make this salad toasty, tangy, and sweet. If you have carrots in the fridge, dice them and roast them along with the beets.

Ingredients
  • beets of choice (red, golden, and Chioggia beets)
  • olive oil
  • kale of choice, tough center ribs removed
  • kosher salt
  • slivered almonds
  • sesame seeds
  • toasted sesame oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • fresh lemon juice
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Trim the beet tops and bottoms and scrub the beets until clean. Cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with olive oil, transfer to the prepared baking sheet, and bake until the beets are soft and the edges are browned. Remove from the oven and let cool. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the kale leaves into ribbons and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt. With your hands, massage the salt into the kale leaves until the leaves turn darker and begin to soften and release their moisture. Transfer to a salad spinner, wash off the salt, and spin dry.
  4. Add the kale, almonds, and sesame seeds to the bowl with the beets. Drizzle with sesame oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more oil, vinegar, and salt and/or a sprinkle of lemon juice.

Roasted sweet pepper spread with walnuts + tahini (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free)

Although great to enhance pizza/pasta sauce, to top bowls of soup, rice, and noodles, or on its own as a dip, this spread will likely find other ways to become part of your repertoire. Look for a brand of roasted peppers that are seasoned with salt, garlic, and olive oil, such as Trader Joe’s brand; otherwise, consider adding those seasonings to the ingredients below. Inspired by a post on the Green Kitchen Stories blog.

Ingredients
  • jarred roasted red and/or yellow peppers, preferably Trader Joe’s brand Fire-Roasted Yellow & Red Peppers (see note)
  • walnuts
  • almond meal or almond flour
  • tahini
  • ground cumin
  • jalapeño chile, chopped (optional)
  • tomato, chopped
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
Method
  1. In a blender, add the roasted red peppers, a handful of walnuts, some almond meal, a couple of tablespoons tahini, some ground cumin, jalapeño, tomato, and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your palate.

Vegan scramble with garlicky spinach + mushrooms (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

A vegan egg-like scramble made with chickpea flour? Sounds unbelievable. But you will be amazed at how delicious this vegetable scramble is. Find chickpea flour at well-stocked grocers (garbanzo bean flour by Bob’s Red Mill) or under the name “besan” or “chana besan flour” at Indian markets, where you will also find the Indian black salt (kala namak), which adds an eggy flavor. A seasoned cast-iron skillet or a nonstick frying pan should help with the chickpea flour’s tendency to stick. Great served with corn tortillas and hot sauce or salsa. Inspired by a post on the Connoisseurus Veg blog.

Batter
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • nutritional yeast flakes
  • ground turmeric
  • smoked paprika or sweet paprika
  • kala namak (Indian black salt), smoked salt, or kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ cup liquid (such as plant-based milk, fresh tomatoes blended with water, or plain water)
Sautéed vegetables
  • olive oil
  • mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • small onion, diced
  • small sweet pepper, diced
  • small jalapeño chile, minced
  • spinach or other greens, chopped
  • garlic cloves, minced, or garlic powder
Method
  1. To make the batter: Stir together the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, turmeric, paprika, kala namak (start with ¼ teaspoon; you can add more when serving), and pepper in a small bowl. Add the liquid and whisk until completely blended. Set aside.

  2. To cook the vegetables: In a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, warm some olive oil. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until lightly browned. Add the sweet pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the spinach and garlic and cook until the spinach is wilted and the garlic is very fragrant. Transfer to a plate.

  3. Coat the inside of the skillet with the olive oil. Stir the batter, then pour into the skillet. Let it cook, undisturbed, until the batter begins to firm up around the edges, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape it into chunks. Cook until about the firmness of scrambled eggs and lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Return the sautéed vegetables to the skillet, stir and flip a few times to blend, and serve.

Vegan dried fruit + nut bread with date syrup (no sugar!)

Chockful of flavor — dried fruit sweetness, nutty richness, citrus tang, homey spices — and plenty of room to be creative. The recipe makes a lot, so you might want to halve the recipe the first time. Kitchen shears work well to cut the dates and dried fruit (if you find the fruit sticking to your knife). Adapted from healthylivingaward.com.

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces chopped pitted dates
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 16 ounces mixed dried fruit (such as raisins, pineapple, prunes, and apricots)
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ cup almond meal or ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon or more pumpkin pie spice (ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves)
  • grated lemon zest or orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • chopped nuts (such as pecans, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, and/or almonds)
  • Sliced raw almonds, for topping
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, add the dates and the hot water. When cool, mash the dates into the water.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the dried fruit. Add to the mashed dates along with the two flours, baking powder, almond meal, pumpkin pie spice, citrus zest, orange juice, and nuts. Mix until well combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top and press gently into the batter.
  4. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, checking after 40 minutes to avoid overbaking. Transfer to a rack to cool, lift out of the pan, and serve warm.

Taco salad with roasted tofu taco bits, mushroomy beans + toasted corn tortillas (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free)

Enjoy lots of flavors and textures packed into this main course salad, and add whatever salad vegetables you enjoy.

Ingredients

For the mushroomy beans:

  • mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • bay leaf
  • leeks, cut into half-moons
  • green bell pepper, diced
  • serrano chile or jalapeño chile, thinly sliced
  • cooked beans of choice

For the taco salad:

  • lettuce of choice, spun dry and torn
  • radishes, cut into half-moons
  • cucumber, cut into half-moons
  • kohlrabi, peeled and diced (optional)
  • red cabbage, chopped
  • green onion, thinly sliced
  • salad dressing or mayonnaise and vinegar of choice
  • corn tortillas, for serving
Method
  1. Prepare the roasted tofu taco bits.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the mushroomy beans: Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop the stems and caps. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the mushrooms, bay leaf, leeks, bell pepper, and chile and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown. Add the beans, stir, turn the heat to low, cover, and keep warm.
  3. Prepare the taco salad: In a large bowl, add the lettuce, radishes, cucumber, kohlrabi, cabbage, green onion. Toss, add salad dressing, and toss again until well combined.
  4. Toast the corn tortillas until hard. Break them into individual bowls. Layer  mushroomy beans, salad, and tofu taco bits on top and serve.

Roasted tofu taco bits (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free)

If you like seasoned tofu, you’ll want to have this very versatile topping or filling on hand for tacos, burritos, baked sweet potatoes, casseroles, salads, soups, stews, and other uses you’ll discover!

Ingredients
  • firm or super-firm tofu of choice (we like Wildwood or Trader Joe’s brand)
  • olive oil
  • tamari, coconut aminos, or soy sauce
  • taco seasonings of choice: dried oregano, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, ground cumin, turmeric, black pepper
  • lemon quarter (optional)
Method
  1. Line a baking dish or baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the broiler in your toaster oven or regular oven.
  2. Cut the tofu into tiny cubes or mash with a fork. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss. Add a splash of tamari and toss again. Sprinkle with taco seasonings and toss until well combined.
  3. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and spread in a single layer. Broil until crunchy, about 40 minutes total depending on the heat of your broiler, stirring and checking every 10 minutes or so. Taste and season with more taco seasonings and/or a squeeze of lemon. Let cool a bit before using.

Homemade vegetable broth (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

Here is a way to make a pot of vegetable broth in less than 1 hour that is great to use when cooking soups, stuffings, and legumes. To keep the broth neutral-flavored, use milder vegetable scraps, like fennel tops, leek tops, onion quarters, and shallot halves; refrain from using broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage; and don’t add salt.

Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • vegetable scraps, chopped (see Note)
  • hot water
Method

In a soup pot over medium heat, warm some olive oil. Add the vegetable scraps and cook until starting to brown. Add hot water to cover by several inches, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or longer.

Vegetable + bean enchiladas with butternut squash sauce + tahini drizzle (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

Let your refrigerator and pantry guide you regarding what should fill your enchiladas: Allow yourself to be creative with your choice of vegetables and beans.  The winter squash for the sauce can be roasted in the oven instead of cooked on the stovetop. To fill and fold the tortillas without cracking them, soften first by wrapping them in a kitchen towel and microwaving for a few seconds or warming them in a toaster oven or regular oven for a minute. Inspired by the 101 Cookbooks blog.

Ingredients
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • small winter squash (such as butternut, honey nut, or kabocha), peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
  • fresh tomato, chopped, or canned tomatoes
  • chopped vegetables (such as onion, potato, sweet pepper, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, celery, cabbage, zucchini, etc.)
  • jalapeño chile or other chile, thinly sliced (optional)
  • canned or cooked dried beans of choice
  • chopped olives of choice
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • ground turmeric
  • taco seasoning (chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes or ground chile powder, dried oregano, paprika, and ground cumin)
  • lemon zest and juice
  • corn tortillas, softened
  • chopped olives (optional)
  • raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and/or raw sunflower seeds
  • tahini thinned with warm water
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • avocado slices
  • hot sauce or salsa (optional)
Method
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm some olive oil, add the squash and tomato and cook, stirring and mashing, until the mixture becomes a puree. Transfer the puree into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a frying pan over medium heat, warm some olive oil and cook the chopped vegetables and jalapeño until cooked through. Stir in the beans and olives and set aside.
  3. To the puree in the large bowl, add some olive oil, half of the garlic, the turmeric, taco seasoning, lemon zest, and enough water to make a thin sauce (2 cups or so). Whisk well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400F. Ladle 1 cup sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Place 1 tortilla in your hand. Spoon some filling in a line down the middle of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla over the filling and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. (If you have leftover filling, spoon it around the edge of the baking dish.) Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and bake until golden, about 15 minutes longer.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining garlic and several squeezes of lemon juice into the thinned tahini sauce. Drizzle the tahini sauce over the hot enchiladas, top with the cilantro, and serve with avocado slices and hot sauce.