I’m no dainty waif, picking at my plate of ruffled greens dressed with a drop of lemon juice.
I like to eat.
I particularly like to eat when the weather is crisp and the leaves vermillion, driven, perhaps, by an ancient instinct to layer on (more ) fat for the winter.
Just because I tend to eat vegan by no means implies that the food I favor is not hearty. In fact, if I were to qualify my vegan cooking, I would call it “vegetable recipes that put meat on your bones.”
Here are three ways to beef up your veggies.
Vegetarian (really vegan) Chili
This is an old recipe of my mother’s and probably the first vegan thing I ever ate as an entree. She came to visit recently, and made this easy, tasty dish again. As always, I was captivated by it’s hearty simplicity.
1 cup onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1 cup plum tomatoes, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
3 tsp chili powder
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
16 oz can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
For toppings; more chopped onion, fresh cilantro, chopped scallions or shredded soy cheese, cheddar flavor.
Sauté onions in olive oil, five minutes. Add garlic, sauté one minute. Add green pepper, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms and seasoning, stir and simmer 10 minutes. Add beans, heat through.
Serve in big bowls with toppings on the side and maybe a hunk of cornbread.
Aloo Saag (Indian Creamed Spinach and Potatoes)
This exotic dish provides creamy deliciousness and will undoubtedly stick to your vegan ribs.
1 lb fresh spinach, washed
6 new potatoes, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbl grapeseed or other neutral oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbl plain soy milk plus more as needed
Put spinach leaves in a pot with 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil, then simmer, covered, seven minutes. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor. Meanwhile, put potatoes in a pot with just enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Add a dash of salt and cook 10-15 minutes until fork tender. Drain. Meanwhile, heat up oil and sauté onions and garlic for three minutes. Add turmeric and cook one more minute. Add the spinach, potatoes, milk, garam masala and crushed red pepper plus more salt to taste and stir well. Bring to boil and simmer three more minutes, adding more milk if necessary.
Classic Split Pea Soup (no ham hocks required)
This dish will fill your house with homey, good for you smells and get your whole family salivating.
1 bag split green peas, picked over and rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
10 sprigs fresh parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tbl olive oil
8 cups vegetable broth
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Croutons if desired
Two links Tofurkey Italian sausage if desired
Tie the bay leaf, thyme and parsley together tightly with string. Sauté onions, carrot, celery and garlic in hot olive oil with a dash of salt, three to five minutes. Add all other ingredients and bring to boil. Lower to simmer and cook one and a half hours or until the peas are tender. Remove herb bundle. Puree with immersion blender or in batches in a blender until chunky smooth.
If you want, toss in two link of Tofurky Italian Sausage cut into bite sized pieces and heat through. Serve with croutons.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise