Vegan Creamed Kale

IMG_3955

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.

IMG_4300

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!

Lentil Cakes with Curry Aioli – Snowmagedden

AC_PANTRYPROJECT

So we had this major snowstorm bust here in the NYC metro area. I thought we would have been snowed in for a few days, so I took my pantry project on the road to my sister’s house. Since I live alone, figured it would be more fun to be snowed in with my nephews (who are 7 and 5) in a big house than cooped up in my apartment. Not wanting to lose steam on my project, I grabbed red lentils, chopped onion, super grains (a mix of quinoa, buckwheat, and millet), yogurt, and curry powder. I had a vision of Lentil Cakes with Curry Aioli, and it was going down at her house.

I am so happy I made this recipe “on the road” and had more people to feed than myself. My nephews would not go near the food (though they did stir the sauce), but my sister and brother in law were thrilled with the meal, especially how it got them thinking of ways they can vary this dish.

Even before we ate, we already did one variation, which was using the aioli as a base for salad dressing, and combining heads we created a simple, snowed-in feast.

IMG_3859

The Meal – Lentil Cakes, Curry Aioli, Mixed Green Salad with Curry Dressing, Two Types of Naan (whole wheat and garlic), Apple Chicken Sausage, and a couple of leftover Pretzels

IMG_3860

“Meatless Monday” Serving Suggestion – Open Faced Lentil Cake Naan-wich and Salad

LENTIL CAKES
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
1/2 cup super grains
1- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
Olive oil, for sauteing
1 egg
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder

  1. Cook lentils and super grains in separate pots according to package directions, drain and allow to cool to room temperature or chill
  2. Lightly saute onions about two minutes with about 1-2 tablespoons oil, season with salt and pepper. You want to maintain the texture of the onions, but soften them a bit so they are not completely raw. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature or chill
  3. Using a potato masher, mash lentils in a large bowl. Stir in grains and onion
  4. Crack egg into bowl and mix in thoroughly
  5. Mix in flour and seasonings. Mixture should be moist but not wet, similar to raw meatloaf. Add more flour if it is too wet/soft
  6. To cook – lightly spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and place over high heat to medium heat
  7. Once pan is hot, but not scorching, scoop about 1/4-1/3 a cup of the mixture and form a patty. You can cook 4-5 cakes in one pan. Do not overcrowd or make more than that at once, so not to burn the cakes, since you are shaping the patties as you go. Cook each patty 2-3 minutes on each side. Cakes can be transferred to an oven safe dish and kept warm in your oven (200 degrees or less) until ready to serve
  8. To serve, add a dollop of aioli to each cake. Cakes work well with flatbreads for a sandwich, or they can be eaten on their own
  9. Cakes can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated, but they taste best freshly made

Note: Seasonings were what was on hand. The pizza seasoning was comprised of oregano, marjoram, basil, onion powder, garlic powder. Had I made this at home, I would have used thyme and marjoram. Feel free to season the mixture as you would like.

CURRY AIOLI (and dressing)
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons curry powder
salt and pepper
extra olive oil and white wine vinegar (for dressing)

Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated. Aioli should be a nice buttercream yellow color. Taste and adjust seasonings as need.

To make a salad dressing, combine 1/4 cup dressing, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar. Thin the mixture out with a little bit of water, to desired flavor and viscosity (I used about a tablespoon). Taste and season with additional curry powder, salt, and pepper if necessary. Toss with your favorite greens.

Quick Peanut Soba Noodles

I’ve been counting calories lately and overall looking for more balanced nutrition. A friend suggested I give up carbs, especially wheat, but I’m not quite ready. This afternoon I wanted something satiating, slightly comfort-foody, and of course quick. As usual I raided my pantry for what I had, which this time included one neatly wrapped bundle of Blue Dragon Soba Noodles (Japanese-style noodles made in China, but I digress). I checked the nutrition facts and a serving was a whopping 436 calories. However, the serving suggestion was 1/2 of a package, or 125 grams. Using my handy food scale, I weighed out one bundle, about 75 grams. Sounded like a better serving size to me!

Noodles alone were not going to cut it, so I wanted some sort of sauce. I do love me some peanut noodles, so I decided to modify the peanut sauce I often make when I am cooking Asian meals. I was pretty happy with the results and the whole lunch only took me about 15 minutes to prepare. Overall, I am happy with the nutrition of the dish, except it is a bit high in sodium due to the soy sauce I used. I may try to omit the soy sauce and add a bit of water to thin the sauce.

Quick Peanut Soba Noodles

406 calories, 66 gr carbs, 10 gr fat, 13 gr protein, 787 mg sodium, 11 gr sugar

  • 1 bundle soba noodles (about 75 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon raw sesame seeds
  1. Boil soba noodles according to package instructions, drain
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients, reserving sesame seeds, until well blended
  3. Mix peanut sauce with warm noodles, top with sesame seeds
  4. Eat up!

Black Beans and Rice – Kind of a Fail

As Lent marches on, I’m cooking more vegetarian meals at home as well as being selective with what I order out. OK, I’m not so selective about ice cream or cheese, but it has been a challenge avoiding meat.

I really enjoy black beans as a side dish and from my culinary nutrition days I know a meal of rice and beans is considered a complete protein and a good meat substitute. So I attempted a simple Mexican style black bean recipe. It was tasty, but I’m not going to be competing with any restaurants soon.

One silver lining in my less than stellar attempt, I used my beloved pilaf recipe for the rice.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lent Time

Two years ago I took the traditional Greek Orthodox path and gave up eating meat for Lent. It was actually an enjoyable and obviously spiritual time coming up with nutritious meat-free meals instead of just eating pizza, pasta, and prepackaged Morningstar Farm meals every day. I’m going to attempt it again this year, as Greek Orthodox Lent started yesterday. It’s gonna be sad to give up FOS, but I can always make a vegetable broth based version…