A few weeks ago I hosted a supper club for ten friends. A supper club, or underground restaurant, is a way for aspiring chefs (or home cooks) to cook up a semi-professional meal while making a bit of money- like a dinner party with an entrance fee. Cooking for a crowd is a daunting task, and my friends generously paid to be my test subjects. But they were all happy with the meal, and I think the night went wonderfully: good food, fun drinks, great people, gorgeous food photos, and only a few mishaps- sorry about the salted truffles, friends! Many of the photos you see here on ManisKitchenworks were taken that great evening, captured by my talented friend Tyler of The Intire Project.
Today is the first day of the Vegan MoFo. Are you as excited as me? The first recipe I am sharing this month is a Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup, my favorite recipe from a recent cooking class focused on the humble and underrated cauliflower. The main ingredient of the soup is cauliflower, but it’s paired with sweet potatoes and lots of roasted onions and garlic for a nice layering of flavor.
Generally white foods are not too healthy (think white sugar, white bread) but cauliflower is actually quite powerful nutritionally. It’s crazy high in vitamin B5, B6, C, K, and folate, and it’s host to trace minerals like manganese and molybdenum (which is easier written than said aloud in class!). It’s great for aiding in the daily detoxification processes of our bodies, and cauliflower contains high amounts of glucosinolates, which aid in cancer prevention. All good stuff from this wholesome and versatile vegetable!
Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup
4 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups chopped, peeled sweet potatoes
¼ cup olive oil or coconut oil
1 cup roughly chopped onions
4-6 cloves roughly chopped garlic
2-3 cups vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon each dried sage, dried basil, and dried rosemary
½ -1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stockpot boil 6 cups water to a boil. Boil cauliflower and sweet potatoes until very soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in another stockpot, warm oil over medium low heat. Add onions and garlic and stir to coat. Cook until very brown, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
- Add cooked cauliflower, sweet potatoes, onion mixture, and two cups broth to food processor and blend. Add herbs and coconut milk and continue blending until desired texture is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste, and add more broth or coconut milk as needed.
- Divide evenly between four bowls and garnish with a dollop of coconut milk. Enjoy!
Notes: This soup is a filling meal as is, but I liked it dressed up with some cooked grains (brown rice & quinoa), grilled veggies, and some mung beans for some added protein. You could also serve this as a creamy sauce for noodles.
Yield: approximately 6 cups soup, or four servings
This is a flavorful and filling meal for chilly autumn nights. This dal features cute green mung beans, which are great to have around: they’re very wholesome, featuring high fiber, protein, and iron like most beans, and they cook relatively quickly. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, mung beans have a cooling, draining effect on the body, which can help with skin issues and clear toxins from the body. All that and they taste delicious, too! This recipe was originally posted three years ago today, and it’s just as good today as it was back then. Best served alongside some basmati rice and cucumber yogurt for an Indian-style meal. You can also thin with more coconut milk or broth and make it into a soup.
Quick Mung Bean Dal
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
¼ cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon whole fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups cooked mung beans
¾ cup coconut milk
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook for five minutes. Add in garlic and ginger, and cook until garlic browns. Add spices and stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to low and add beans, coconut milk and soy sauce. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding more liquid if necessary to keep mixture soupy.
- Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: about three cups dal, or 4-6 servings
Notes: This recipe calls for cooked beans, but if all you have is dry, here is how to cook them: Rinse beans in cool water. Add to a large stockpot and cover with water. Add a stamp-sized piece of kombu seaweed (optional) and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. If overcooked they will become a bit mushy, but that’s perfect for this recipe. Drain off any excess water, and season with a few generous pinches of salt. Cooked beans will keep for about a week, and they can also be frozen for up to six months.
Bright green herbs stand in for mixed greens in this filling meal-sized-salad. It’s a great way to include more fresh herbs into your diet, and make use of those random green thingies that show up unannounced in your CSA. Feel free to swap as you like- dill, parsley, mint, basil, Thai basil, cilantro, and sorrel would all be great mixed together in some pretty combination! I made this in cooking class recently, but the recipe comes to us via a coworker, from whom I often ‘borrow’ recipes. Mahalos Cyn!
Chickpea & Herbs Salad
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups chickpeas, room temperature
2 cups finely sliced fresh basil
2 cups sliced cucumber
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup fresh mint, minced
1 cup fresh cilantro, minced
½ cup fresh parsley, minced
- In a large bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and salt/pepper. Whisk until emulsified and add chickpeas. Let stand one hour.
- In another large bowl toss together remaining ingredients. Add in dressing and chickpeas and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Yields: 4-6 salad servings
Though it is incredibly simple, this dish is really a little masterpiece.
The beauty of this dish is that I grew or harvested each of these veggies– and that makes me feel just a little bit badass. The kabocha pumpkin was grown in my yard, basically as an accident. The baby carrots, leeks, and striped beets were harvested from the farm; the ginger is from Oahu too. The garlic is from elsewhere (it doesn’t grow here), and the spices are from afar too. The leeks picked up much of the sweetness from the sucanat, and the roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the beets and the kabocha; the ginger and black pepper adds just a bit o’ spice and warmth.
This version is exactly what i made, but it could of course be changed up, depending on the available veggies in your part of the world.
wicked good roasted vegetables
one kabocha pumpkin, about 3-4 pounds, cubed or sliced thin
five small beets
six leeks (not the green tops, save those for stock)
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of shredded ginger
Toss the veggies with about 1tbsp sucanat, 1 tsp brown mustard seeds, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp seasalt, and about 3 tbsp of coconut oil. Bake at 350 for about 45 min, and then at 400 for another 15 minutes or so.
They are totally edible on their own, as a side, or as a mix-in. I enjoyed mine with some soba noodles and quick peanut sauce. Total.Foodie.Heaven.