Veggies In My Freezer

Healthy, Plant-Based Freezer Cooking


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Planning for a Plant-Based Passover

Passover is coming soon.  It’s probably my favorite holiday, but also the most stressful.  It’s stressful for everyone, of course, but as a plant-based Ashkenazi Jew, it’s extra “special.”  So what does a plant-based Ashkenazi Jew eat during Passover?

For those of you who don’t know, Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrating the exodus from Egypt.  For 8 days, we don’t eat chametz (leavened bread products) or kitinyot (rice and legumes).  So without meat, eggs, dairy, bread, beans, lentils, rice….what’s left to eat?

 

Part of my strategy is to look at what there is to eat, rather than what there isn’t.  So potatoes, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, avocado, etc. come to the forefront of my plate.

Next, I try to keep things simple.  Really simple.  For non-seder nights, I’m happy to have a baked potato with pesto and some roasted vegetables for dinner.  The fewer fancy meals you need to cook, the easier it will be.  It’s just one week – the fancy recipes can wait a few days!

Finally, look at recipes that you ordinarily like that are kosher for Passover by default.  During the year I save these type of recipes and then pull them out this time of year when it’s time to figure out what to eat.  There are more than you might think – plenty of soups, salads and main dishes are chametz-free.

 

Thoughts on what to eat for a plant-based Passover.

-The Much-Maligned Potato

  • Baked potato with a variety of toppings – I am partial to mashed avocado and a little salt, or a homemade pesto.  I bake up a whole lot of potatoes at the beginning of the week so that they’re ready to go when I’m hungry.
  • Roasted, with a dipping sauce.
  • Serve mashed potatoes one night, and make extra.  Use the leftovers to make these mashed potato spinach patties.
  • I think a variation on Dr. McDougall’s Baked Potato Salad would make a great cold lunch.

 

-Sweet Potatoes

  • Again, baked or roasted, with a topping or dipping sauce.
  • Sweet potato salad – roasted chunks of sweet potato, chopped onion, dried cranberries and a balsamic vinaigrette

 

-Plantains

  • Now is a fun time to experiment with different starchy vegetables (or are plantains a fruit?).  I like to roast very ripe (i.e. black) plantains and eat them sprinkled with a bit of salt.  This year I’m thinking about rolling them in unsweetened dessicated coconut before roasting for a new twist on an old favorite.  

 

-Quinoa (keep our quinoa safe for Passover!)

  • Quinoa porridge is my go-to breakfast – just plain cooked quinoa with some homemade almond milk and fresh fruit
  • Quinoa pilaf for a lunch/dinner side or main dish
  • My family has enjoyed Mama Pea’s zucchini quinoa lasagna
  • This year I’m thinking about trying out one of the many Thai-fried quinoa recipes available online, such as this one (without the soy sauce or tofu)
  • This Coconut Caribbean Quinoa can also be easily adapted for Passover
  • This Quinoa, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad (again, omit the cumin) is another winner – it is beautiful and delicious
  • Quinoa Pattycakes

 

-Spaghetti squash

  • Cut a spaghetti squash in half, microwave it until fully cook, then scrape out the strands.  Top with tomato sauce.  Or toss it with some lime juice, chopped red onion and a bit of salt.

 

-Veggies

  • Ethiopian cabbage (omit the cumin) – This is one of my family’s favorite Passover recipes.  Last year we fought over the leftovers.
  • Stuffed peppers/onions/other veggies – stuff with quinoa, nuts and dried fruit for a sweet filling, or quinoa cooked with tomato sauce for a savory filling
  • Quinny’s Sri Lankan Kale – I made this last year, omitting the cumin and black beans.
  • With some simple adaptation, this Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole is a great Passover dish.
  • Guacamole (thanks Stefanie, for the great idea!) – it’s delicious on everything!
  • Cauliflower cocktail – we served this for our seder last year and it was great!  Boil cauliflower until tender in water mixed with seasoning (we used turmeric for color, along with some onion and garlic).  Drain and serve with cocktail sauce (horseradish mixed with ketchup).  Even the non-veggie lovers were fighting over this.

 

-Soups

  •  Think veggies – potato, butternut squash, mixed veggie.

 

-Smoothies

-Dessert

  • Baked apples, roasted pear
  • Quinoa pudding – like rice pudding, but made with quinoa.  Use almond milk as a base.
  • I’m thinking about trying to adapt Dreena Burton’s Three’s Company Pie for Passover this year.

 

So those are some of my suggestions.  Please leave your suggestions in the comments section!

 

Shared on Healthy Vegan Fridays.


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What Do I Do With This Stuff In My Freezer? Tomato and Olive Flatbread

Another update on what the heck to do with the stuff that you stock your freezer full of.  This is a super simple recipe that I made for dinner one  weekend night when we needed something quick and easy to eat before going out.


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Tomato and Olive Flatbread

1/2 recipe of whole wheat pizza dough, defrosted (or fresh)

Approximately 1 cup of fresh tomato sauce, defrosted

1/4 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out the pizza dough until it is roughly rectangular and about 1/4-inch thick (no need to be precise, or even).  Poke the dough with your fingertips a few times over the surface to give it some texture.  Transfer it to a greased cookie sheet (or a pizza stone if you are so lucky as to have one).  Cook the dough for about 10-15 minutes, until it is mostly done.

Take the par-baked dough out of the oven.  Spread the sauce over the top, and sprinkle with olives.  Put the bread back into the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the dough is done all the way through and browning on the bottom.  Enjoy!


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Red and Black Bean Soup

It will probably come as no surprise, based on the assortment of recipes I’ve posted here over the past months, that I love soup.  I notice it most when I go on a long vacation – after a few days, all I want for dinner is a big bowl of soup.

So take it from me, a soup lover, that this recipe is delicious.  It started with an idea to make a pot of black bean soup for dinner, until I realized that I only had a half-pound of dried black beans left in the house.  So I scrounged around my bean bin and found a full pound of red beans.  The red and black beans looked so pretty when they were combined that I knew the soup would taste good! And in fact the deliciousness of this soup belied its simple ingredients.

(Side note – for anyone who has had a bad experience cooking dried beans from scratch, or doesn’t like the long lead time involved with soaking, I have recently adopted this no-soak method and it has worked great – http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-beans-a-faster-foo-102908.)

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Red and Black Bean Soup

Makes about 5-6 servings

 

1 onion, chopped

5-6 cloves garlic, minced

5 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 small or 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 pound dried red beans, cooked

1/2 pound dried black beans, cooked

8 cups water or veggie broth (I used water and didn’t miss the extra flavor, but broth never hurts, if you have it available)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chile powder

Salt to taste

 

Saute the onion and once it has started to soften, add the garlic.  Add in the chopped peppers, and once they soften, add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook until the beans are soft and creamy.

This soup would also be good partially pureed, if you prefer the texture that way.

This will freeze very well in single or multiple serving containers.  Just defrost in the fridge or on the stove, heat and serve.

 

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays, Wellness WeekendsWhole Food Fridays, and Healthy Vegan Fridays.


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Oil-Free Lemon Cornmeal Waffles

It’s the middle of the winter.  The weather has been cold lately.  I’m sick for the second time in a month.  I blame it on the baby growing inside of me (yes, there was a reason for that long lapse in posting over the fall!), sucking up my immune system.  One solution to the winter-weather blues – fresh citrusy food!

I got a waffle iron as a gift a few weeks ago, and it is a fun toy!  I’m sure the batter here would also make great pancakes though.  These waffles cook up super airy and light, which is a nice surprise for a healthy oil-free breakfast treat.  They would be great for dessert too, with a dollop of coconut whipped cream – or coconut ice cream! – and a drizzle of maple syrup on top.  Mmm…I’m ready for seconds.

When I decided to make waffles using cornmeal, I couldn’t find any recipes online that didn’t have lots of oil in the batter, so I invented my own.  I don’t think you’ll miss it, when you try these out.

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Oil-Free Lemon Cornmeal Waffles (or Pancakes)

Makes about 6 waffles (actual yield depends on your waffle iron)

2 cups almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

1)  Preheat waffle iron.

2)  Combine almond milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and maple syrup.  Allow this mixture to sit while you combine the rest of the ingredients, so that it has a chance to curdle, making “buttermilk.”

3)  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add in the wet ingredients, and stir until well-combined.

4)  Spray the waffle iron with a bit of non-stick cooking spray, and start cooking up those waffles.

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You can freeze these, wrapped individually, for quick breakfasts or snacks later on.  Just reheat by toasting in a toaster or oven, just like you would a store-bought frozen waffle.

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Shared with Wellness Weekends.


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Mixed Bean Soup with Broccoli

When the weather is cold and rainy, bean soup is so appealing.  Lately the weather has been rainy, though not particularly cold, but my mind turned to bean soup nonetheless.

This recipe makes A LOT of soup.  By my count it makes about 8 large servings, so it is perfect for someone feeding a lot of people – or anyone who likes leftovers!  Plus the leftovers freeze great, so why not make a big pot of soup – enjoy it now and later!  I’m sure I’ll be eating this soup all week for lunch.

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Mixed Bean Soup with Broccoli

Serves 8

Inspired by Dr. McDougall’s Butch’s Bean Soup

 

1 pound dried cranberry beans, soaked and cooked

1/2 pound large lima beans, soaked and cooked

1 large onion

3-4 cloves garlic

1 tsp. curry powder

10 cups water (or vegetable broth)

1/2 cup uncooked barley

1/2 cup dried mung beans

1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces

 

Chop onion and saute in a large pot over medium high heat.  When it starts to brown, add garlic and curry powder, and saute for about a minute.  Add the water, cooked beans, barley and mung beans and cook until the barley is tender and the mung beans begin to split (about 40 minutes).  Toss in the broccoli and cook until it turns bright green, about 5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

 

 


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White Bean Soup with Spinach

Kevin and I were on vacation last week.  After a week of eating too much rich, heavy food, we started dreaming about food that would make us feel good and healthy again.  We both settled on a nice white bean soup.  The problem was that I have a troubled history with white bean soup.  I love eating them when someone else makes them, but until now, I had never successfully made one of my own.  The problem was that the beans were always crunchy, and that’s just gross!  This time I soaked the beans.  And soaked the beans.  And cooked the beans.  And soaked the beans even more.  And FINALLY the beans were nice and soft and not crunchy in this soup!  It would be a lot easier to just use canned beans…

This soup isn’t the most photogenic, but it sure is tasty and healthy!

White Bean Soup with Spinach

1 red onion, chopped

6-7 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound carrots, chopped

1 pound white beans, soaked and cooked until soft

8 cups liquid (any combination of vegetable broth and water – I used half and half)

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp dried thyme

2 dried bay leaves

1 large bunch spinach, roughly chopped

Salt/pepper to taste

 

Saute the chopped onion until it begins to turn golden, then add the garlic and carrot and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.  Add the broth, beans and dried herbs and cook for about 30 minutes, or longer.  About 10 minutes before serving, stir in the spinach and allow it to wilt into the soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!  This soup freezes beautifully!

 

Shared with Whole Foods Fridays.


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What Do I Do With This Stuff In My Freezer?

Okay, so suppose you’ve got your freezer stocked full of great meal components.  What do you do with them?  Well below is one really delicious meal I made recently when I got home from work and didn’t feel like doing any “real” cooking.  I ended up with a great, homemade dinner that took me about 20 minutes to put together.

 

Mashed Potatoes, Greens and Sauteed Seitan Smothered with Creamy Gravy

Serves 1

2 servings Single-Serving Mashed Potato Cups (1 if you’re less hungry, but I really like my mashed potatoes)

1/3 or so of frozen homemade seitan (or use store bought, if your freezer isn’t well stocked)

1/2 bunch of any kind of greens – fresh or frozen

Dr. McDougall’s Golden Creamy Gravy

 

The instructions are pretty self explanatory.  Steam the greens, sautee the seitan and reheat the mashed potatoes.  Layer them in a bowl and smother with the gravy – delicious!


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Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Swiss Chard and Dates

I’ve been so busy lately it seems life is getting away from me.  Not only have I not been blogging, but I have hardly been cooking.  But I have whipped up a couple of quick and tasty recipes in the past few weeks.  This one was a last minute “what the heck am I going to make with my CSA bounty before it goes bad?” recipe, but it turned out great.

 

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Strawberry Mint Quinoa Salad

Kevin and I were invited to a Labor Day BBQ at a friend’s parents’ house overlooking the water on Long Island.  I wish I had thought to take a picture, because the scenery was beautiful.  I was the only vegan present, and Kevin only eats kosher meat, and the BBQ wasn’t kosher, so he was eating vegetarian, so I was happy to bring along a dish that I knew we would both be able to eat.

Strawberries are one of those fruits that let you know that summer is just around the corner.  So it seemed sort of appropriate to use strawberries for a goodbye-to-summer BBQ.   This dish was a surprising winner.  I actually warned everyone at the BBQ before they ate it that they shouldn’t expect too much, but I think everyone was pleasantly surprised.  It is also super easy.  The dressing is just four ingredients – strawberries, mint, balsamic vinegar and agave syrup.  No need to pull apart the whole kitchen to put this together!  Plus the dressing recipe makes extra dressing, which will be great on other salads as well!

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Fresh Tomato Sauce

I love tomatoes.  Usually I eat them raw, sliced with a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Kevin hates raw tomatoes though, and isn’t a big fan of even cooked tomatoes.  That leaves me with the whole CSA bounty.  This time of summer, that can be quite a few tomatoes!  When I got to CSA-pickup day this week and still had tomatoes left over from last week sitting on the counter, I knew it was time to take some drastic measures.

Obviously tomatoes don’t freeze well on their own (too much water – when they defrost they will be mush), so sauce was the obvious solution.  I’ve never understood how people could say they made tomato sauce “from scratch” when they made it with canned tomatoes and tomato paste.  This tomato sauce is really from scratch – straight from the fresh tomatoes, no cans involved!

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