Vegan Creamed Kale

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Months ago I tried a vegan version of creamed kale and it stayed with me – I really wanted to replicate the side dish. In usual fashion I bought too much kale recently and pondered what to do with it, so I decided to take a stab at it. I picked apart some recipes on Pinterest and came up with my own.

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The first thing you need is your cream sauce. I do not know why these ingredients combined together mean magic, but they just do:

VEGAN CREAM SAUCE

1/4 cup homemade cashew butter
1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (I prefer almond breeze)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes (I use red star)
Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper – to taste

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the cashew butter over a low flame – do not allow to scorch. Add almond milk and whisk mixture together until well incorporated and smooth. You can raise the heat to medium and add yeast flakes and seasonings – adjust to your liking. Personally, it needs a good amount of salt. Cool and set aside to use in recipes immediately, or you can refrigerate for up to one week – makes a great pasta sauce as well!

VEGAN CREAMED KALE

1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 cups baby Kale
1/2 cup – 1 cup Vegan Cream Sauce

Over high heat, heat coconut oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet. Add onions and lightly saute, until softened and slightly translucent. Add garlic and kale and mix with onion. Lower heat and cover skillet for about two minutes, allowing the kale to steam. You can steam longer if you prefer softer vegetables. Remove lid and add cream sauce, mix until all the kale is coated and hot, about one minute. Serve with your favorite vegan entree or just enjoy on its own!

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Another reason I love fall…mashed potatoes! True, you can enjoy them any time of year, but there is something particularly enjoyable about this comfort food in the colder months. When I used to cater, the company I worked for had a caramelized onion mashed potato that guests loved. I developed my own version, cutting back on the butter and cream and instead using BACON. This is one of my favorite fall side dishes, I made them for Thanksgiving last year and have served them at multiple dinner and dinner parties. Guests are hardly ever disappointed.

It’s hard for me to give you an exact recipe as I always wing this one, but I think I have pared it down for you to try and replicate in your own kitchens.

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CARAMELIZED ONION AND BACON MASHED POTATOES
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 ounces thick cut maple bacon, or any thick cut bacon
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Boil potatoes in salted water until fork-tender, drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a nonstick skillet, remove from heat when done. Using a set of tongs or a fork, remove the pieces and drain on a paper towel, reserving the bacon grease. Once cool enough to handle, crumble the bacon into pieces and set aside.
  3. Turn the heat back on the skillet with the bacon grease and add onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until browned, constantly moving the onions around, whether by hand flipping or with a spoon, careful not to burn.
  4. Add sugar to the onions and saute until sugar is incorporated and mixture is almost syrupy – the added sweetness is important to the dish. Remove from heat and set aside with bacon crumbles.
  5. Add milk, butter, and more salt and pepper to large sauce pan. Heat until butter is melted. Add potatoes and using a potato masher, start mashing by hand. Texture should have some pieces of potato – the desired effect is more rustic than whipped. Mix in bacon and onions, adjust seasonings as desired.
  6. Potatoes can be served immediately or cooled down and refrigerated. When reheating, additional milk may be needed to reconstitute potatoes to desired texture.

Remember this recipe is not an exact science – play around with more bacon, less bacon, more potatoes, more liquid, etc.