Vegan mushroom-nut spread served with toasted tortilla + pita chips (gluten-free, dairy-free)

This plant-based pâté is a wonder. And you will wonder how you survived all this time without it — not only to serve at potlucks or parties but also as a sandwich spread or as a topping for a bowl of salad, soup, or stew. For gluten-free, serve with corn tortilla chips, gluten-free crackers, and/or crudités.

Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • minced shallots
  • mixed mushrooms (such as button, cremini, shiitake), chopped
  • parsley, chopped
  • fresh thyme, chopped, or dried thyme
  • kosher salt
  • white or black pepper
  • red wine or dry sherry
  • garlic, minced
  • toasted walnut pieces
  • toasted slivered or sliced almonds
  • corn tortillas
  • whole-wheat pita breads
Method
  1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Cook the shallots until translucent. Add the mushrooms in one layer if possible and cook without stirring until beginning to brown. Add the parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until all of the liquid has evaporated and brown bits appear in the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with 1 or 2 tablespoons wine and cook off the alcohol. Stir in the garlic, cover, and remove from the heat.
  2. In a food processor, process the nuts with more olive oil until the mixture forms a thick paste. Add the mushroom mixture and process to your desired texture.
  3. Pack the mixture into a serving bowl or airtight container, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours or up to overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  4. Right before serving, slice the tortillas and pita breads and toast in a toaster oven or regular oven until crispy. Serve alongside the spread.
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Pinwheel sandwiches with avocado, olive tapenade + sun-dried tomatoes (vegan, dairy-free)

If you’ve seen pinwheel sandwiches (aka aram sandwiches), you know how attractive they are laid out on a serving platter. This recipe uses soft, spreadable vegan cheese, but you can use avocado mashed with hummus and/or olive tapenade instead. To make this recipe gluten-free, use brown-rice tortillas instead of the lavash. Leave enough time to chill the rolls for at least 2 hours to make slicing them easier.

Ingredients
  • spreadable vegan cheese, such as vegan cream cheese (see note above)
  • avocado
  • sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
  • olive tapenade or thinly sliced olives of choice
  • fresh basil leaves, rolled and very thinly sliced crosswise (chiffonade)
  • parsley, chopped
  • sweet peppers, diced
  • Roma or San Marzano sauce-type tomato, chopped
  • green onions, very thinly sliced
  • several whole-wheat lavash or large whole-wheat flour tortillas
  • toasted sunflower seeds
  • fillings: lettuce strips, arugula, carrot matchsticks, cucumber matchsticks
Method
  1. Add the cheese and avocado to a bowl and mash together. Cut the sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces and add to the bowl. Add the tapenade, basil, parsley, peppers, tomato, and green onions. Mix until well combined.
  2. Soften the lavash or tortillas by wrapping in a kitchen towel and microwaving for 30 seconds to prevent cracks when rolling. Evenly spread the cheese-avocado mixture on a lavash. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Along the longest edge of the lavash, place fillings of choice on top of each other in a narrow row. Fold the lavash or tortilla over the fillings and roll tightly to the opposite edge. Transfer the roll to a plate, seam side down. Repeat until you have made as many rolls as you need.
  3. Transfer the plate of rolls to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours to meld the flavors and make slicing the rolls easier. When chilled, transfer the rolls to a cutting board, slice into pieces about 1½ inch thick, and decoratively place on a serving platter. Serve immediately or allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Baked fritters with fresh corn + herbs (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free)

What is summertime without fresh corn added to everything you cook? These fritters are a crowd-pleaser, but if there are leftovers, you can warm them in the oven or toaster oven along with some corn tortillas — and you are on the road to tacos!

Inspired by a post on Healthier Steps.

Ingredients
  • oil, for greasing
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • nutritional yeast
  • ground cumin
  • chipotle powder
  • turmeric powder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh lime juice
  • garlic, minced
  • fresh corn kernels
  • jalapeño chile, minced
  • mixed fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano), minced
  • red onion, diced
  • for serving: plant-based yogurt, hot pepper sauce, salsa, avocado chunks, guacamole, halved cherry tomatoes, cilantro leaves, and sliced green onions (optional)
Method
  1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Oil the parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, nutritional yeast, cumin, chipotle, turmeric, and salt and pepper. Add  ½ cup water, lime juice, garlic, corn, jalapeño, herbs, and red onion and stir well to form a thick batter. If too thick, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir to combine.
  3. Drop a spoonful of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly. Repeat, placing the fritters next to each other because they don’t spread, until all of the batter is used. Bake until starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Using a spatula, turn each fritter. Broil the second side, watching so they don’t burn, until golden and crispy. Serve with accompaniments of choice.

Fresh spring rolls (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free)

Making fresh spring rolls is a fun roll-it-yourself summer party or no-cook dinner on a hot summer evening. All you need is some rice-paper wrappers (find them at well-stocked grocers), your favorite fillings, and a homemade or store-bought dipping sauce (peanut or otherwise).

Fillings of choice
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • super-firm tofu, seasoned tofu, or a tofu burger, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • fresh mint leaves
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • jicama, cut into matchsticks
  • daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
  • lettuce leaves, cut into strips
  • sweet pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • mung bean sprouts or sprouts of choice
  • toasted sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • fine rice vermicelli (bún giang tay), prepared according to the package directions
  • hot-pepper sauce
  • sriracha chili sauce
Wrappers and dipping sauce
  • hot water
  • large rice-paper wrappers (bánh tráng)
  • homemade or store-bought dipping sauce (such as peanut sauce; toasted sesame oil mixed with tamari or soy sauce; or a vinegary-sweet salad dressing of choice)
Method
  1. Set out the fillings on platters and in bowls on the kitchen counter.
  2. Using a bowl large enough to fit the width of a rice-paper wrapper, fill halfway with hot water. Dip one wrapper at a time vertically into the hot water, twirl the wrapper to submerge it while counting to three, and remove promptly. Ignore the urge to dip the wrapper longer or the rice paper will cling to itself, making it impossible to fill and roll. Spread the wet wrapper out onto a plate or platter.
  3. Neatly lay your desired fillings along the center line of the wrapper. Fold one side of the wrapper over the fillings, fold in the sides, and roll to seal. Transfer the sealed rollup to your individual dinner plate. Repeat.
  4. Serve with individual bowls of your favorite homemade or store-bought dipping sauce.

Marinated tomatoes (vegan, gluten-free)

It’s summer here in Northern California, and the farmers’ markets are chock-full of gorgeous, colorful ripe tomatoes. Marinating them is a way to preserve the harvest a bit longer. Serve them strained or with the marinade. Below are some ideas for using them, but can you think of other ways?

Ingredients
  • ripe tomatoes, diced, reserving their juices
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • garlic, minced
  • fresh mixed herbs (such as basil, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, and parsley)
  • jalapeño chile (optional)
Method
  1. In a large bowl, add the tomatoes with their juices. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the garlic, herbs, and jalapeño and toss until combined.
  2. Let marinate at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for at least 2 hours. Store airtight in the refrigerator between uses.
Ways to use the marinated tomatoes
  • For appetizers, place some strained tomato on each cracker.
  • Toast a slice of bread, spread with avocado, and top with the strained tomatoes.
  • In a baking dish, add a layer of the tomatoes and their marinade. Top with thinly sliced onion, olives, and raw seeds and nuts of choice or breadcrumbs. Bake until browned.
  • For lasagne, use the tomatoes and their marinade instead of canned tomatoes.
  • Make a salad of lettuce, chickpeas, olives, green onions, and parsley and toss with the tomatoes and their marinade, olive oil, and either lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
  • Stuff a warmed whole-wheat pita with hummus, tahini, the strained tomatoes, sliced cucumber, arugula or lettuce, and hot sauce.
  • Toss the tomatoes and their marinade with hot pasta and parsley.
  • Spread a whole-grain pizza dough with pesto, the strained tomatoes, and roasted red peppers and bake.
  • Top a bowl of lentils and rice or your favorite summer soup with the tomatoes and their marinade and parsley and/or cilantro.
  • Warm a corn tortilla and fill with the strained tomatoes, avocado slices, beans of choice, cilantro, and lettuce.

Cauliflower hummus (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, legume-free)

Looking for something revolutionary to do with that head of cauliflower in your fridge?  Try making hummus, swapping in cauliflower for the usual chickpeas.  Really. There’s no way to convince you until you just do it.

Inspired by a recipe from the cookbook Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables.

Ingredients
  • cauliflower, coarsely chopped
  • garlic, chopped
  • tahini
  • olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • salt or green olives, chopped
  • chile powder or cayenne
  • vegetable broth, water, or a few cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
  • cilantro or parsley leaves
  • toasted sunflower seeds
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • toasted tortillas broken into chips or store-bought tortilla chips
  • crudités (such as carrots, celery, fennel, kohlrabi, sweet peppers, cucumber, etc.)
Method
  1. Steam or microwave the cauliflower until tender. Spread on a kitchen towel to bring to room temperature. Transfer to a food processor and whirl until finely chopped. Add the garlic, tahini, oil, lemon juice, salt or green olives, and chile powder or cayenne and whirl until thick and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the hummus is too dry, add vegetable broth, water, or the tomatoes and continue processing until smooth. Add the cilantro or parsley and whirl until chopped.
  2. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl. Stir in the sunflower seeds and green onions. Serve with chips and crudités or however you serve hummus.

Asian-inspired tofu salad (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free)

This salad comes together quickly and can be made ahead to marinate in the fridge. It’s a great choice for a potluck because its flavors blossom at room temperature.

Ingredients
  • super-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • cucumber
  • fresh cilantro, minced
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • toasted sunflower seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • toasted sesame oil
  • tamari, coconut aminos, soy sauce, and/or ponzu sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • fresh lime juice
Method
  1. In a large bowl, place the tofu cubes.
  2. Cut the cucumber in quarters lengthwise then crosswise into quarter-moons and add to the bowl with the tofu. Add the cilantro, green onions, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds and toss together. Drizzle in toasted sesame oil, tamari, rice vinegar, and lime juice. Toss again to combine. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and serve, or let marinate, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Stuffed mushrooms (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free)

As an appetizer or main course, these filled mushroom caps taste great warm or at room temp, so they can travel to a picnic or potluck. Inspired by a post on cearaskitchen.com.

Ingredients
  • large cremini or button mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • onion or shallots, finely chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • herbes de Provence
  • fresh tomato, chopped, or tomato paste whisked in water or broth
  • walnuts, finely chopped
  • pine nuts, finely chopped
  • jalapeño chile, minced, or red pepper flakes
  • nutritional yeast
  • ground turmeric
  • black pepper
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Remove the mushroom stems, chop them, and reserve. Place the mushroom caps, gill sides up, on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, warm some oil and cook the onion, garlic, thyme, and herbes de Provence until the onion has softened. Add the tomato and reserved chopped mushroom stems. Cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Stir in the walnuts and pine nuts, jalapeño, and nutritional yeast and cook for another couple of minutes. Season the filling with turmeric and pepper and stir.
  4. Mound each mushroom cap with some filling, patting the filling firmly in place. When all are filled, bake for about 15 minutes, then broil as needed so the tops of the filling are slightly crispy and the caps are soft. Serve.