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  • Potato Leek Hash Brown Pancakes with Homemade Ketchup

    Ever have a craving for hash browns but don’t want to go through all the steps to make them? Well you’re in luck, because this recipe gives you all of the flavor and non of the fuss. All you need is a basic blender and a bowl and you’re on your way to fast, hashbrowny goodness in about 5-10 minutes.  You can add in other veggies like spinach, or use half sweet potato half russet potato. Serve with condiments of choice, though ketchup is the good ol American standby. I’ve included our recipe for easy homemade ketchup if you want to give it a try. Tastes better than store-bought, is healthier, and keeps a while in the fridge. Enjoy!


    Potato Leek Hash Brown Pancakes with Homemade Ketchup

    Vegan, Optionally Gluten-free, and Soy-free

    Servings 2 

    Prep time: 5-10 minutes Cook time: 15-20 minutes

    Pancake Ingredients:

    1 cup russet potato, chopped (skins on)
    1 cup leek, chopped (or onion)
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup flour (GF all purpose or wheat)
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/8 cup finely chopped red bell pepper 
    2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


    Homemade Ketchup
    6 oz can tomato paste
    1/4 c agave syrup 
    1/2 cup white vinegar
    3/4 tsp brown sugar 
    1/2 tsp salt 
    1/8 tsp garlic powder 
    1/8 cup water


    1. For pancakes, combine potato, leek, and water in a blender. Blend for a few seconds to turn into a slurry, you don't want it completely creamy, a few small bits are good.

    2. Combine flour, salt, black pepper, bell pepper, and parsley in a medium mixing bowl and stir. Add potato slurry and stir well until combined. You will have a batter.

    3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Use a nonstick skillet, or use 1 tsp of medium heat oil to coat pan. Add a ladle of batter at a time to hot pan and cook until edges begin to dry out a bit and its starting to crisp on bottom, usually 1-2 minutes. Flip over and cook on other side, 2-3 minutes until browning and cooked through. Taste test for doneness. Transfer to a plate to keep warm and cook remaining pancakes.

    4. If making ketchup, simply combine all ingredients tomato paste through water in a small sauce pan and whisk to combine. Simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes until fragrant and bubbling and transfer to a bowl to cool. Store in fridge and use as needed.

  • Fresh Vegetable and Herb Spring Rolls with Almond Dipping Sauce

    Most folks who've gone out for Thai or Vietnamese food have had these delicious fresh spring rolls and loved them, and thankfully they're not at all hard to make at home. They're wonderful because they're amazingly versatile, beautiful and nutritious. You can fill them with virtually any raw or cooked vegetable, so long as they're thinly sliced. Additional fillings you can try are strips of fried tofu, sauteed/roasted mushrooms, or vermicelli noodles. The spring roll wrappers can be found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores, get the 8 or 9" ones. The one thing you do not want to leave out of these guys are the fresh herbs. They MAKE the flavor of these rolls. Any combination of fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, or basil will work, but I'd go with at least two, our favorites being mint and basil. The dipping sauce is easy to whip up, and can be made in larger quantities and stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.  If you make these to bring to a party, make them as close to party time as possible, and cover the plate with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap to ensure the rice paper wrappers do not dry out. These will become a recipe staple for you once you give them a try, they are that good.


    Fresh Vegetable and Herb Spring Rolls with Almond Dipping Sauce

    Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

    Makes 8 rolls

    Prep time: 15-30 minutes

    1 package of "spring roll skin wrappers"
    1 cup thinly sliced red (or green) cabbage
    1-2 cucumber or carrots, julienned
    1 sliced avocado
    1 cup fresh mint leaves
    1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    1 cup fresh basil leaves

    Almond Dipping Sauce
    1/2 cup almond butter (creamy or crunchy)
    3/4 cup warm water
    1 Tbsp rice or white vinegar
    1 Tbsp sugar or agave syrup
    1 Tbsp coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp fresh shallot or onion
    1/2 tsp (or more) fresh thai chili (optional)


    1. Thinly slice all veggies into strips and place in separate clusters on large plate. Remove herbs from stems and add whole leaves to plate as well.

    2. Boil water and fill very wide bowl or pie plate about half way full, let sit for a few minutes to cool ever so slightly. Two at a time, soften spring roll sheets by dipping them into the hot water, using your fingers to move them around. Depending on hotness of water, it will take about 2-10 seconds for them to soften. They should be pliable but not mushy and falling apart, think al dente pasta, as they will continue to soften even out of the water. Layer two softened spring roll sheets on top of one another on cutting board (wood works well here) and fill bottom third with a a bit of each veggie and herbs, do not overstuff! Less is more here. Roll up like you would a mini burrito, tucking in sides and rolling up tightly. It will conveniently stick to itself, making this very easy. Cut in half and place on serving plate.

    3. In a blender combine all ingredients for almond dipping sauce and process 10-20 seconds until very creamy. Transfer to small bowl and top with chopped scallions or additional chopped chili pepper, if desired.

  • Sesame Brussels Sprout Curry

    Today I have a lovely recipe for you that could easily become a staple in your house. It has certainly been one for us for the past few years. By varying the veggies used, you can easily turn this into at least 10 different curries. Serve it over any kind of brown rice (brown jasmine and bhutanese red rice are our current favorites), or over rice noodles, soba noodles, or quinoa. Very satisfying comfort food, perfect for these fall nights. Any leftovers make excellent lunches as well. Rich in calcium, protein, and healthy fats from the sesame seeds, cancer fighting and immunity boosting compounds in the brussels sprouts, onion, and garlic, circulatory benefits from the chili pepper, and beta carotene in the carrot. To top it off, turmeric and black pepper are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse combination. Your body will thank you for the flavor and nutrition contained in this curry!


    Sesame Brussels Sprout Curry
    Serves 2-4

    Prep time: 15-20 minutes

    Cook time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
    1" piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
    1 small chili pepper, thai, serrano, ancho, all ok (de-seeded if less heat desired, chopped finely)
    1 medium yellow  or red onion, diced
    1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
    1 medium red or yukon gold potato, diced (or 1 small sweet potato, diced)
    1/2 lb of brussels sprouts, bottoms cut off and sliced in half
    1 can of coconut milk, full fat
    2 Tbsp tahini (or nut butter of choice)
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 Tbsp rice vinegar, or other vinegar
    1 Tbsp agave, or sweetener of choice
    1 Tbsp tamari or coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute)
    1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted in skillet until golden (or chopped toasted peanuts)
    1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
    1 tsp sesame oil (optional)


    1. In a skillet, saute onion, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper in a tsp of sesame oil, or if omitting oil use a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes until softening and fragrant.

    2. Add potato and brussels sprouts and toss well to coat. Add coconut milk through black pepper and stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover pan, cooking 5-10 minutes over medium low heat until potato and sprouts are cooked through and tender.

    3. Toast sesame seeds or nuts over low heat until turning golden. Remove from heat and grind in mortar and pestle if you have one, or a quick whir in a coffee grinder works too. If you want to skip this step, that's fine, but grinding them lightly really enhances the flavor.

    4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, top with cilantro if using, and sesame or nuts. Serve over rice, noodles, or quinoa.

  • Toasted Hazelnut and Eggplant Pasta

    Crispy hazelnuts and tender eggplant slices top a simple and comforting pasta dish. Fragrant with fresh oregano and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, this makes a perfect rainy day dinner. I’m a big fan of including nuts in cooked dishes, and this one is no exception. The crunch, flavor, and healthy fat that’s added makes this dish a winner.


    Toasted Hazelnut and Eggplant Pasta

    Serves 4

    Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1/2 lb pasta of choice
    1 small eggplant (I used three mini chinese eggplants), sliced 1/4" thick
    1/2 yellow or white onion, diced
    3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
    4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
    1/2 lb spinach, chopped (optional)
    1/4 cup flour of choice (wheat, GF, rice, chickpea all ok)
    1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
    3 Tbsp olive oil
    2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
    handful of fresh oregano leaves, chopped or 1 Tbsp dried oregano
    salt and black pepper to taste


    1. Cook pasta until al dente, drain, rinse and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

    2. Place flour, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a pinch of oregano in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Toss eggplant slices in the flour mixture one at a time until coated. Heat a deep skillet with 1 Tbsp of high heat oil over medium heat, and add eggplant slices. Cook on both sides until tender and evenly browned, usually 2-3 minutes per side. When done transfer to a plate and set aside. Keep warm.

    3. In same skillet, cook onion and garlic until lightly browning, and add tomato. Cook covered on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until tomatoes break down a bit. Add spinach if using. Turn heat to medium low and add pasta, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast (if using), oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat until pasta is heated through, and everything is coated.

    4. Top with toasted hazelnuts and eggplant slices, and drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar just before serving. Adjust salt and pepper as desired. If your hazelnuts are raw, toast for 4-5 minutes in skillet over medium low heat, then chop on cutting board. Serve immediately and enjoy!

  • Breakfast Tortilla Pesto Pizzas

    This particular pizza recipe requires no making of crusts, and is only baked briefly in oven or toaster oven. If you roll it up to take it on the go, you will have yourself a breakfast pizza-burrito :) This pizza comes together in two easy steps (and can be reduced to 1, if you make pesto ahead of time or buy pre-made). Get yourself a tortilla, brown rice, whole wheat, corn, teff, whatever you like. I used a 9" Food for Life brown rice tortilla. Make pesto in a blender or food processor. Spread pesto on top of tortilla and top with thinly sliced veggies of choice. I used 1 small purple potato, a tiny bit of fresh onion, a crimini mushroom, and some fresh corn off the cob. I popped it in the oven and baked it for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. When the tortilla was crispy I added some thinly sliced avocado and Chinese spinach leaves,  sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and devoured it. The beauty of this recipe is it's versatility. If you keep tortillas, some kind of nut or seed, garlic, herbs and veggies on hand most of the time, you're good to go any day of the week. If you make a batch of pesto once a week and keep it in fridge, you'll only have to slice a couple of veggies and you'll be on your way to morning pizza heaven. To boot, these pizzas are protein, vitamin, and mineral packed (thank you nuts and seeds!) and are filling. So you'll be happy and energized until lunch time. Give them a try!


    Breakfast Tortilla Pesto Pizzas

    Makes 1 personal pizza
    Prep Time: 10-15 min Cook Time: 10 min

    Ingredients:

    1 tortilla of choice
    Pesto (throw everything in blender or food processor)
    1/4 cup nuts or seeds of choice (I used pumpkin, but sunflower, walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, almonds would also all work well)
    1 clove garlic
    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 Tbsp lemon juice
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup spinach (or kale, swiss chard, arugula, any greens will work)
    1/4 cup fresh basil (or parsley, mint or cilantro if you're feeling adventurous!)
    1/3 cup water

    Toppings:
    thinly sliced potato, mushroom, onion, corn, chives, spinach, greens, peppers, avocado, broccoli, etc

    I used:
    1 small purple potato, thinly sliced,
    1/4 small onion, thinly sliced,
    1 crimini mushroom, thinly sliced
    1/4 cob of corn, de-kerneled
    1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
    few Chinese spinach leaves (hence the red-purple color of my pesto)


    1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Make your pesto by combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor and processing for 30 seconds (scraping down sides a few times), until creamy.

    2. Pour onto tortilla and spread out evenly with a spoon, it should be a nice thick layer of pesto.

    3. Top with your thinly sliced veggies, though leave avocado off until it comes out of oven. Place on baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until tortilla starts to brown and get crispy and toppings are soft and cooked through.

    4. Remove from oven and top with avocado if using, salt, pepper and any other favorite flavors. Cut into slices or roll up like a burrito. Enjoy!

  • Savory Chickpea Flour Pancakes with Tamarind Syrup

    For those days when you crave a simple savory breakfast, this recipe will have you covered. With just the tiniest hint of Indian infused flavor, these chickpea flour pancakes cover all the breakfast bases and straddle the line between pancakes, omelettes, and veggie crepes. Free of meat, dairy, and eggs, and using only minimal oil, these are high on nutrition and flavor, and pack a satisfying punch. I've included our recipe for tamarind syrup/sauce, which though super easy to make, does take a little prep, mostly in the form of actually having the tamarind on hand. If you do make a batch it will last quite a while in the fridge. Tamarind has a really unique flavor, it's tart and rich, when mixed with a sweetener and some spices it becomes a really unique, wonderful condiment. Most Asian, Latin, and Indian groceries carry it, as well as many mainstream supermarkets (in concentrate/paste form; sometimes fresh). Whatever form you can find, it will work in the sauce. Simply adjust the water and seasoning as necessary to accommodate. The finished chutney should be sweet, tangy, and a tiny bit spicy. If you can't find any tamarind, or want the easier route, look for this pre-made tamarind chutney, which is our favorite, or any tamarind chutney you can find locally. If you want pre-made, just be sure it says "chutney" on the jar, not paste or concentrate, or you will be in for one sour surprise :) If you don't have all of the ingredients for the tamarind chutney, or don't have any pre-made on hand, these pancakes will still be delicious on their own, with a drizzle of Sriracha, ketchup, or any condiment of choice.


    Savory Chickpea Flour Pancakes

    Serves: 1 (Can double recipe)

    Prep time: 10-15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    Pancakes:
    3/4 cup of chickpea flour
    3/4 cup water
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp cumin, ground
    1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
    1/4 tsp turmeric, ground
    freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
    1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped, minced, or grated
    1/4 cup sliced crimini/or white mushrooms (or spinach or chopped greens)
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or parsley)
    1-2 Tbsp medium-high heat oil (avocado, canola, grape seed, refined coconut)

    Tamarind Syrup:
    1/2 cup tamarind paste
    1 cup brown sugar (or 3/4 cup agave, or 4-5 dates)
    1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
    1 green chili, finely chopped
    1 Tbsp med-high heat oil
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds, whole
    1/8 tsp asafoetida, also known as hing powder (optional)
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black salt (optional)
    3/4 cup water (more as needed)


    1. If making tamarind syrup from scratch, cook the ginger, chili, and cumin seeds in 1 tablespoon of oil in a small pot until sizzlling. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low simmer. Let simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes until reduced down to a rich brown sauce. When done, strain through sieve into a bowl or jar and let cool. If not making sauce from scratch, proceed to next step.

    2. Prepare you pancake batter by combining chickpea flour, water, salt and all spices in a medium bowl and whisking well until no lumps remain. Let rest while you prepare vegetables.

    3. Add chopped onions, ginger, cilantro, and mushrooms to batter and stir well to combine.

    4. Heat oil in a skillet (non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron is good here), and when oil is hot, add one ladle of chickpea vegetable batter. Swirl pan around to spread batter out slightly. Let cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes on first side until edges begin to dry and curl up a bit. Very carefully, use spatula to lift up and flip over (they can sometimes stick a bit, so just gently lift it up). Cook on other side for 3-4 minutes until cooked through, crispy, and well browned. Repeat with remaining batter.

    5. Serve drizzled with tamarind sauce/syrup/chutney/Sriracha/condiment of choice, and sprinkle with additional cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

  • Super Star Lentil Taco Salad

    Dreaming of warmer days and summer fresh vegetables, I made the next best thing and put together a simple and savory lentil taco salad. Fresh tortillas are topped with tomato seasoned lentils and perfectly grilled chili spiced veggies. Finish with sliced avocado or guacamole, some chopped cilantro or parsley and drizzle of hot sauce and you have yourself a lovely meal. This took me about 25 minutes to put together, including the homemade tortillas I made from scratch! (Which are soooo easy, if you'd like to know how please just email) Here is the recipe, very versatile, full of healthy plant protein and perfect for a quick weeknight meal.


    Star Lentil Taco Salad

    Serves 2-4

    Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 cups green or brown lentils
    3 cups vegetable broth or water
    1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned or sun-dried are fine)
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
    2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1 cup red onion, sliced
    1 cup mushrooms, sliced
    1 cup red pepper, sliced
    1 cup broccoli, cabbage, or brussels sprouts, sliced
    1/2 cup cilantro (or parsley), chopped
    1 tsp medium-high heat oil (avocado, canola, grape seed, coconut)
    1 avocado, sliced
    corn tortillas, 2 per person

    Other vegetables to use: carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, zucchini


    1. Combine lentils, broth or water, 1/2 tsp salt, tomatoes, turmeric, and black pepper in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 15 minutes until lentils are soft and liquid is absorbed

    2. While cooking lentils, heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add chili powder to oil and stir. Add all veggies, onion through broccoli and saute until lightly browning and softening, about 5-10 minutes. Add cilantro, 1/2 tsp of salt (or more to taste) and 1 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Stir and remove from heat.

    3. Individually warm tortillas in a pan to soften and gently wrap them in a clean dish towel to keep warm.

    4. When lentils are done cooking, stir in 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice), and add salt if needed. Place a heaping spoonful of them on plate, top with sauteed veggies and sliced avocado. Cut tortillas into triangles (like cutting a pie) and arrange around lentils and veggies.  Drizzle with hot sauce if desired and serve!

  • Peanut Buttery Sandwich Cookies

    If you are a peanut butter fan like me, you should definitely double this recipe and make an extra batch. If you’re not a peanut butter fan you should absolutely make these with almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter instead. Really buttery and not-too-sweet, these are full of healthy fats and protein from the nuts, important omega 3s from the flax meal, and body soothing benefits from the coconut oil. They are 100% vegan, no eggs or dairy here, and gluten-free if you use gluten free flour and oats (which I did-but you don't have to). You can use any nut butter to make these, and add in other additions (like chocolate chips, nuts, seeds, etc) as you see fit. Very nice breakfast on the go or after school (or pre/post workout) snack.


    Peanut Buttery Sandwich Cookies

    Makes 7 Sandwiches or 14 cookies

    Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 12-15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup coconut oil
    1/3 cup creamy peanut butter + 1/2 cup for filling
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    2.5 Tbsp vanilla extract
    2 Tbsp flax meal
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    3 Tbsp rolled oats
    1 cup all purpose flour (gluten-free or wheat)


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2.  In a medium bowl combine coconut oil, 1/3 cup peanut butter, and brown sugar and cream together using a fork.

    3. Add vanilla extract, flax meal, and water and mix well to combine.

    4. Add salt, baking soda, cinnamon, oats, and flour and stir well to incorporate.

    5. Roll into golf ball sized balls and place on parchment paper. Gently flatten with the palm of your hand. Leave a few inches between each one.

    6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until turning golden and lightly crisped on bottoms.

    7. Remove from oven and let cool thoroughly, 10-15 minutes, before filling. Once cool, gently coat the bottom of one cookie with a tablespoon or so of peanut butter and spread with a butter knife. Attach second cookie and gently press to adhere. Enjoy!

  • Crispy Spiced Cauliflower & Okra

    Okra, if you're not familiar with it, is a tasty little pod that is common in Middle Eastern, African, Indian, and Southern dishes. Pros: It has a unique, mild flavor, is very high in Vitamin C, fiber, and folate, and can be cooked a myriad of ways. Cons: it is sometimes hard to find in stores, and the pods contain a somewhat slimy substance, a mucilage, that can either be used to thicken a stew or gumbo, or minimized by roasting in the oven as we do here. Okra can be found in many local international grocery stores, including Indian, Asian, African, and Middle Eastern, and may be available at stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Our local (and preferred) source in Seattle is Lenny's Produce in Greenwood, which is a great little place for many unique fruit and vegetable finds at great prices. If you can't find okra or aren't a fan, make this with just cauliflower or cauliflower and mushrooms instead! Wonderful with a side of basmati rice, this is a fast and very healthy dish that can be prepared easily on a weeknight. The spices are quite fragrant in this, and not only satisfy our taste buds, but also offer us many medicinal benefits. Spice liberally!


    Crispy Cauliflower and Okra

    Serves 2-4

    Prep time: 10-15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

    1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
    3 cups okra, cut into one inch pieces
    1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
    1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 Tbsp brown mustard seeds
    1 Tbsp high heat oil (avocado, coconut, canola, grape seed)
    1 Tbsp rice flour (or potato starch)
    2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
    2 tsp fresh lemon juice


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place tablespoon of oil on metal baking tray.

    2. Chop okra into one inch pieces, discarding top caps, and pointy bottoms. Chop cauliflower into uniform florets. Place both on baking sheet and use your hands to toss in oil. Sprinkle with rice flour, all spices, and salt and toss to coat again.

    3. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes, toss well for even browning, and bake for an additional 10 minutes until cauliflower and okra are both browned and crispy. Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. Enjoy with a side of basmati rice, a nice tamarind chutney, a simple dal, or a la carte!

  • Juniper Rosemary Golden Gravy

    To all of our cooking class participants; past, present, and future, for the holidays this year, Nick and I are gifting you his secret Juniper Rosemary gravy recipe. If you're unsure what you might do with such a gift, let me tell you:

    1. Pour it over everything; mashed, roasted, sauteed potatoes, steamed broccoli, rice and beans, shepherd's pie or any pot pie, tofu cutlets, veggie burger patties, quinoa, well, you get the idea.

    2. Make extra, because it's that good!

    This is a simple and versatile vegan gravy recipe that can be played up, down, or in any direction depending on the herbs and spices you use. A great book to get your creative juices flowing in the kitchen, (and another great gift!) is The Flavor Bible, which is a compendium of flavor pairings, and resource for what ingredients go well together. We use it often when coming up with new taste combinations, like this gravy, here at the Kitchen. For those of you who were at our most recent cooking class on Whidbey Island, (pics, here!), you got to taste a variation of this special gravy first hand. It's golden hue and warming spices are perfect for this time of year, and really breathe something special into earthy, home style dishes like the Shepherd's "Pielettes" we prepared in class. More classes teaching more plant-based recipes, every month! Sign up here. Happy holidays and enjoy!


    Juniper Rosemary Golden Gravy

    Serve 4-6 Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 5-10 min

    1/4 cup flour (Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free blend, or wheat)
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 1/4 cups water
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp crushed rosemary
    1/2 tsp crushed juniper berries
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp black pepper



    1. In a small saucepan, gently heat flour and nutritional yeast over low heat, 1-2 minutes until smelling slightly toasty.

    2. Add oil and whisk together, forming a roux. Let cook for 1 minute, stirring so it doesn't burn.

    3. Add water and whisk in well. Add salt, rosemary, turmeric, juniper berries, and black pepper. Let simmer and thicken for 3-4 minutes over very low heat, stirring occasionally. It will be thick, creamy, and very satisfying.

    4. Serve over potatoes, steamed veggies, pot pies, or brown rice.

  • Creamy Tomato Thyme Soup

    Looking for the easiest go-to soup for this winter? Look no further than this bowl of creamy Tomato Thyme. Made with minimal ingredients, anyone can whip this up in no time. Serve with a piece of crusty bread, top with some sliced avocado, or a side of vegan grilled cheese and you'll be in warm creamy tomato infused heaven. Perfect for these cold snowy days everyone seems to be having.


    Creamy Tomato Thyme Soup

    Serves: 4 Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 15 min

    1 28oz can of tomatoes, dices, crushed, or pureed
    1/2 cup coconut milk
    1 medium onion, diced
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/2 tsp salt (or leave out if canned tomatoes are salted)
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
    1 cup water
    1 tsp olive oil


    1. In a medium pot heat olive oil on medium low heat, add chopped onion and garlic and saute lightly for 2-3 minutes.

    2. Add tomatoes, and all remaining ingredients. Simmer on medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes until heated through and fragrant.

    3. Serve as is (chunky) or blend to desired creaminess (recommended), using either an immersion blender, or by transferring to a blender and pureeing in batches. If using traditional blender, be sure to let it cool first.

  • Ketchup Baked Home Fries

    What's better than a ketchup draped pile of steaming potatoes in the morning? Ever consider coating them in ketchup before you cooked them? I did, and this is what we got! With a little garlic and spices tossed in these came out crispy, savory, and delicious. Potatoes are full of potassium, and are a great staple to keep in the pantry. Experiment with different potato varieties, red skinned, blue potatoes, or the darling fingerlings. These will make a lovely addition to your next brunch!


    Ketchup Baked Home Fries

    Serves 2-4 Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 20-25 min

    5-6 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed (no need to peel)
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
    1-2 Tbsp neutral oil (avocado, grape seed, canola)
    1/4 cup potato starch (or corn starch)
    1/8 cup ketchup
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    1-2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, lightly oil baking sheet and set aside.

    2. Cut potatoes into roughly 1 inch cubes and place on baking sheet. Cover with remaining ingredients and use your hands to toss to coat.

    3. Spread into an even layer on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip potatoes and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

    4. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley if desired and ketchup drizzled on top. Enjoy!


  • Sesame Zucchini Fritters

    These zucchini fritters are the perfect way to use the bounty of summer squash available this season. If you have a food processor they come together in no time at all and are naturally vegan and gluten-free.  Simply gather your ingredients, process, add dry ingredients, and form into balls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and pop them in the oven. Twenty minutes later crispy orbs of zucchini delight will emerge, ready to be dipped in any number of sauces or condiments. My personal favorite is a lemony avocado mayo. Simply combine 1/4 of a ripe avocado, mashed, with a few tablespoons of vegan mayo and a squeeze of lemon juice. A pinch of sea salt and pepper and you have yourself a  light summer meal or perfect party food. Enjoy!


    Sesame Zucchini Fritters

    Makes 18-20

    Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:

    2 small-medium zucchinis
    1 small onion
    1 garlic clove
    2 Tbsp fresh parsley
    3/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1/2 cup rice flour
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    3 Tbsp flaxmeal
    3 Tbsp sesame seeds


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil baking sheet, or line with a piece of parchment paper.

    2. In a food processor, process onion, garlic, parsley and zucchini until all are a uniform size.

    3. Transfer veggies to a large bowl and add all the dry ingredients, baking powder through flax meal. Stir well.

    4. Wet your hands (mixture will be a bit sticky) and form into small golf ball sized dallops. Place on baking sheet evenly spread apart, and sprinkle the top of each with a generous amount of sesame seeds.

    5. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven, flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy and golden brown. You may have to adjust cooking time based on oven, so give them a check around 8 minutes.

    6. Serve with a simple lemony avocado mayo (see above) or any condiment of choice. Lovely on their own, as an appetizer, or atop a salad.

  • Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta

    Here in Seattle, we wait all year for the local heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and abundance of fresh  fruit to enter the markets. And when it finally does, it's time to really take advantage! This savory, light summer fare is the perfect way to end a workday. It's fast, easy, satisfying, and can be dressed up or down depending on the day. The vegetables included are completely flexible, any of your favorites will work, so be creative with what you have on hand. This dish comes together in no time (though there are a few steps), just get all the ingredients out and follow the steps below, it should take 20-30 minutes to come together. The sunflower seed pesto is spectacular on it's own, and if you don't have time for anything else, at least make this and spread it on some toast. The light nuttiness of the sunflower seeds mixed with the punch of the fresh garlic, and the bright taste of basil is wonderful and really captures the essence of summer. As always, completely vegan, gluten and soy free. Enjoy!


    Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta

    Serves 2-4 (depending on hunger)

    1 box gluten-free pasta (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa spaghetti)

    Pesto
    1 cup basil
    1/2 c sunflower seeds
    1/4 cup olive oil
    3-4 cloves garlic
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp sugar
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

    Sauteed Veggies
    1 cup chopped broccoli
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms (optional)

    Tomato Marinade
    1 cup sliced/diced cherry or heirloom tomatoes
    1/2 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp olive oil


    1. Mix tomatoes with oil, vinegar, sugar and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

    2. Bring water to a boil for pasta. Cook pasta as directed. Drain when al dente.

    3. Sauté veggies on medium heat for 5 minutes in a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

    4. in food processor combine sunflower seeds, garlic, basil, salt, sugar, pepper, yeast, oil and lemon juice. Process until creamy, scraping down sides as needed.

    5. Combine pesto with warm noodles, serve topped with sauteed veggies, tomato marinade, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if desired.

  • Best Quinoa Veggie Burgers & Pumpkin Seed-Onion Cream

    If you're looking for a recipe for easy to prepare, protein packed veggie burgers that will knock your socks off everytime, then look no further. These fit the bill, and to top it off I've included a recipe for a pumpkin seed-onion cream spread that really is to die for. One of the easiet things you will ever make, and it will become a staple in your fridge for sure. The burgers are packed with high quality plant based protein from the lentils and quinoa, fiber from the veggies, and super anti-inflammatory power from the turmeric. The pumpkin seed spread is full of needed iron and zinc, and provides a healthy dose of healthy fats and protein. It's also completely raw, so it maintains all of it vital nutrients and enzymes. If you don't like the taste of a tiny bit of sweet raw onion, then feel free to leave it out, but i think it adds a wonderful flavor. The spread will keep for about a week in the fridge (if it lasts that long), and is wonderful on crackers or toast, or as a dip for sliced veggies. The possibilities go on and on. Give these a shot!


    Best Quinoa Veggie Burgers

    1/2 c quinoa, rinsed
    1/2 c red lentils, rinsed
    2 cups water
    1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    4 crimini mushrooms, chopped
    1 yellow summer squash (or zucchini), chopped
    1/2 cup corn kernels (optional)
    1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    2 Tbsp ketchup
    1 Tbsp mustard
    1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    1/3 cup rice flour (or slightly more as needed)
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp salt
    freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Pumpkin Seed-Onion Cream Spread (Raw)

    1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (will be green)
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    juice from 1 lemon
    1 Tbsp raw onion (red or sweet onion work well), chopped finely (optional, if desired)
    1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    water, as needed (1/4-1/2 cup)


    1. Prehat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil metal baking sheet with neutral oil like grapeseed, avocado, or canola.

    2. Place quinoa, lentils, and water together in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then cover pot and reduce to a simmer. Let cook undisturbed for 10-15 minutes until water has been absorbed.

    3. While quinoa-lentil mixture is cooking, saute onions, mushrooms, squash, and corn over medium heat in a bit of olive oil until tender. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

    4. When quinoa is done, add to veggies in bowl. Stir to help it cool and add rest of the ingredients. Use your hands, or a large spoon to mix it well.

    5. The mixture should hold together well when you form it into patties. If too moist or sticky add a bit of rice flour a little at a time. Gently form into palm-sized (or smaller) patties, and place on baking sheet evenly spaced apart.

    6. Bake for 7-10 minutes, then flip them over, and bake for another 7 minutes or so. They should be golden brown and crispy. (If you prefer to grill them, bake in the oven for 2-3 minutes each side, to firm them up a bit, then transfer to grill to finish cooking).

    7.For the pumpkin seed-onion cream. In a food processor, process pumpkin seeds, salt, and  nutritional yeast into very fine crumbs/powder. Add lemon juice, chopped onion, and black pepper  and process again for 10-20 seconds. Slowly drizzle in water until spread-like consistency has been reached and continue processing for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until super creamy. Store in glass jar in fridge, use anyway you like.

    8. Assemble your burgers- spreading your bun, bread, or lettuce with pumpkin seed cream, topping with a burger, and adding avocado, tomato, and fresh greens. Sprinkle with sea salt and you're done!

  • Cauliflower Crisps & Tangy Tahini Dressing

    I don't fry food that often, but when I do, I make sure it tastes amazing. This is one of those instances. A picnic in the park with some dear friends warranted a creation of some serious summer comfort food. Cauliflower florets are coated in cornmeal and mediterranean spices like oregano and sesame, then served with (or directly dipped in) a tangy tahini dressing flecked with fresh parsley. It would make a really lovely appetizer, side dish, or snack. Be sure to use a high heat oil for any type of frying (oils with a lower smoke point are heat damaged, and potential carcinogens can form) avocado oil is our favorite high heat oil (up to 500 degrees), but grape seed and organic canola oil would also work. Enjoy!


    Cauliflower Crisps & Tangy Tahini Dressing

    1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

    2-3 Tbsp rice flour

    2-3 Tbsp cornmeal

    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

    1 tsp sea salt

    1 Tbsp oregano

    2 Tbsp sesame seeds

    pinch cayenne pepper

    1.5-2 cups avocado oil

    Tangy Tahini Dressing

    1 clove garlic, smashed

    to taste sea salt

    1/2 cup tahini

    2 Tbsp lemon juice

    water as needed

    1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

    to taste black pepper


    1. Break/cut cauliflower into uniform bite sized florets. In a large bowl toss with both rice flour and cornmeal, salt, oregano, sesame seeds, n. yeast, and pepper.


    2. Heat a deep skillets worth of oil over medium high heat. When hot add cauliflower florets, one batch at a time and fry 4-5 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in oven if necessary.


    3. In a mortar and pestle (or small bowl), smash 1 clove garlic with the sea salt. Add tahini and lemon juice and stir. Add water in a thin stream, stirring until thin and creamy consistency is reached. Add parsley and black pepper and season to taste. Serve cauliflower with dressing, either as a dipping sauce or drizzled over top.
     

  • Red Lentil and Amaranth Protein Patties with Spicy Avocado Mayo

    These little patties are so simple to whip up, amazingly versatile, and almost fool-proof. They come together in no time, and you can change up the ingredients based on what you have in the fridge. They are great on top of a salad, as an appetizer with a nice dipping sauce, or make them slightly larger and serve on a bun as a tempting veggie burger. The possibilities are endless. To boot, they are extremely nutritious, filled with lentils and amaranth which are packed with plant protein, and both of which are great for metabolism and heart health. A good dose of parsley adds a punch of Vitamin K (77% of your daily needs in 1 tablespoon!) Feel free to play with the veggies which are added, though I find the russet potato works wonders as both a binder and a starchy crisp agent. Don't bother to peel it, leave the skin on for extra nutrition, just grate it up. Amaranth is carried in most natural food stores with a bulk section, near the quinoa. It is very similar to quinoa nutritionally with a complete profile of all amino acids, but it's about half the price and easy to digest. If you can't find it, quinoa will work in these as well. Give it a try!


    Red Lentil & Amaranth Protein Patties

    1/2 cup amaranth, (uncooked)

    1/2 cup red lentils (uncooked)

    2 cups water

    1 medium russet potato, grated

    1 small onion, chopped

    2 garlic cloves, chopped

    1/2 cup parsley, chopped

    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

    1 Tbsp mustard

    2 Tbsp ketchup

    2 Tbsp rice flour

    2 Tbsp coarse cornmeal (or regular)

    1/2 tsp cumin

    1 tsp paprika

    1 tsp sea salt

    1/2 tsp black pepper

    Spicy Avocado Mayo

    1 ripe avocado, mashed

    2 Tbsp Vegenaise (or any vegan mayo)

    1 tsp balsamic vinegar

    1 tsp olive oil

    pinch sea salt

    good pinch cayenne pepper


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place 1-2 Tbsp of high heat oil (avocado, organic canola, grape seed) on a baking sheet and spread evenly.

    2. In a medium pot, place amaranth, lentils and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover pot, and reduce to a simmer. Let cook undisturbed for 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed and amaranth and lentils are cooked. It will be porridgey, let it cool.

    3. While amaranth is cooking, grate the potato into a large mixing bowl. With your hands squeeze the shredded potato over sink to release excess water. Return to bowl and add chopped onion, garlic, and parsley. Add cooked amaranth/lentil mixture and mix well with your hands. Add mustard, ketchup, spices, cornmeal and rice flour. Mix well.

    4. Form into small patties, then place them on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy.

    5. While cooking, make avocado mayo. Simply mash avocado in a small bowl with the back of a fork. Add rest of ingredients and stir well. Serve atop the patties, or on the side as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!

  • Pumpkin Seed Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

    Succulent oven roasted mushrooms, packed with nutrients and an enormous amount of vegetable magic squeezed into each cap. Rich in iron, zinc, and protein, the pumpkin seeds lend their unique power packed profile to this dish.  It's prep time (5-10 min) to "wow your friends" ratio is superb, and you will be the star of any potluck or holiday dinner you bring these to. They also make a wonderful mid-week meal, as you can play with the herbs you use, and dress them up or down as desired. Give 'em a shot!

    Pumpkin Seed Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

    Makes: 12  Prep: 5-10 minutes  Cook: 15-20 minutes


    12 crimini mushrooms

    1/4 cup yellow onion

    3 cloves garlic

    1 cup cauliflower

    1/4 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds

    1 cup fresh basil

    1 Tbsp flax meal

    1/4 cup fresh oregano (or 2 Tbsp dried)

    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

    2 Tbsp olive oil

    1/2 tsp sea salt

    black pepper, to taste


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil baking sheet with high heat oil (avocado, grape seed, organic canola).


    2. Separate mushroom stems from caps, and place caps on baking sheet.


    3. Place mushroom stems and all other ingredients in bowl of food processor. Run until all pieces are small and uniform and mixture binds together. You may have to scrape down sides of bowl a few times.


    4. Fill each mushroom cap with a generous spoonful of the filling. Sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast.


    5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until mushrooms have released their liquid and tops have become crispy.


    6. If desired, serve with a side of tomato salad (tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper). Enjoy!

  • Roast Purple Yam and Mushroom Bowl

    I was introduced to these beautiful Okinawan purple yams a few years ago by my dear friend Sophia. She would simply wash and boil them whole, let them cool to room temperature, slice them into beautiful purple medallions and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. They are an amazingly versatile food and so good for you. Filled with anthocyanins (the flavanoids in blue and purple potatoes, berries, eggplant, and black beans-anything with that red-blue-purple-black color) they bring us huge benefits like protecting our memory and reducing inflammation. Additionally their skins are full of essential iodine, which helps regulate the thyroid gland. So leave their skins on and eat them often. They are cultivated in Asia and Hawaii, but they are widely available here in in Asian markets. Look for their light brown exterior and a sign that says "purple yam (or sweet potato)" as the purple flesh will be hidden inside. You can boil, steam, fry, mash or roast them. Use their lovely purple hue to your advantage and pair them with some nice contrasting colors. Remember to eat a rainbow of colors as often as you can, as each color found in fruits and vegetables provides us with different necessary nutrients. Start by trying to eat all the colors of the rainbow in one week, before you know it you'll be eating all the colors everyday.  In this recipe the slight sweetness of the yam is balanced with the earthiness of roast mushrooms, and slivers of sweet yellow pepper provide just the right amount of bright freshness. Experiment with how you prepare them!


    Roast Purple Yam and Mushroom Bowl

    1 Okinawan purple yam

    1/2 lb crimini mushrooms (shiitake would be nice too)

    1/8 c light neutral oil (avocado, canola, grapeseed)

    1 clove garlic, finely chopped

    1/2 tsp sumac (optional-lovely spice with fresh lemony flavor)

    1/2 tsp thyme

    sea salt and cayenne to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and oil baking sheet. Slice purple yam into thin french fry like strips. Quarter mushrooms. Place mushrooms and yam slices onto baking sheet, toss to coat in oil and sprinkle with garlic, thyme, sea salt, cayenne, and sumac, if using. Bake at 425 for 15-25 minutes until mushrooms dry out a bit and everything crisps up.

    2. Serve on a bed of lettuce, sprinkled with lemon juice and a drizzle of tahini. Enjoy!