from the archives: quick mungbean dal

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


an Arabic feast

During cooking class last month I shared recipes for my favorite Arabic-inspired dishes. The recipes we enjoyed were a roasted vegetable Hummus, an earthy-tangy Baba Gannoush, and a simple Fattoush Salad with Pita Wedges. And while the idea for this class was inspired by the baskets of pita and plates of hummus shared between my high school girlfriends in surburban Detroit, the recipes are all inspired by great bloggers listed below in the intro to each recipe.

Baba Gannoush (Smokey Eggplant Dip)

This delicious and creamy dip can be thought of as the cousin to hummus- made with creamy eggplants and a little smoke and spice. Recipe adapted from David Ledbovitz. He roasts the eggplants over an open flame, which completely terrifies me. I sneak in some liquid smoke instead! 

3 medium-sized eggplants
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
½ cup tahini (roasted sesame paste)
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
pinch chile powder or cayenne
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
½ cup packed flat-leaf parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 450º.
  2. Split eggplants lengthwise and lay flat on baking sheet. Add garlic to baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until eggplants are soft. Check by using a sharp knife through the middle. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Scrape out the pulp from eggplants (which just might be the wackiest food goo EVER), and add to processor with garlic and all other ingredients. Blend until very smooth, scraping the sides if needed.
  4. Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Chill for a few hours before serving.

Yield: about 4 cups dip

Roasted Vegetable Hummus

Traditional hummus is lightened up with fresh vegetables and some hempseeds. This was inspired by Gena of Choosing Raw, and her raw zucchini hummus.

2 zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 (fifteen ounce) can chickpeas, drained (or two cups home-cooked)
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
½ cup tahini
2-4 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup hempseeds

  1. Add chopped zucchini and peppers to a 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 450º, stirring after 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Blend vegetables and all remaining ingredients in a food processor until very smooth. Add water if necessary.
  3. Serve with pita or fresh vegetables.

Yield: 3 cups hummus

Fattoush Salad and Crispy Pita Wedges

A light salad dressed with simple vinaigrette and toasted pita chips- which go perfectly with the two fabulous dips above! This recipe was adapted from A Taste of Beirut. Her version features sumac, which I couldn’t find here, so I skipped it… hopefully she will forgive me! Don’t skimp on the pita chippies, these are the best part of this salad!

4 slices pita bread
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon each dried basil and black pepper
½ teaspoon ground coriander
salt to taste
1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
½ cup roughly chopped fresh mint
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber, sliced
½ cup shredded carrots

  1. Preheat oven to 400º.
  2. Slice pita bread into strips and line on a baking sheet. Set aside.
  3. Add oil, juice, zest and spices to a small jar. Shake until emulsified.
  4. Brush pita bread generously with olive oil dressing, and bake for 15 minutes, or until very browned and crispy.
  5. When bread is finished baking, break each strip into dime-sized pieces.
  6. Meanwhile, add lettuce, vegetables, and herbs to a large mixing bowl and toss gently. Add remaining dressing and toss to coat.
  7. Toss in cooled pita chips, and then serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings






whole-grain white bean soup

I realize this is an relatively vague name for a dish, but it’s because it is just so very versatile! I’ve made two versions of this simple vegan soup, using cannelini beans and barley, and the other using great northern beans with quinoa. This recipe was created for an in-store demo about the virtues of plant-based protein. Beans are the easy answer to the inevitable ‘where to you get your protein’ question, but many people are still learning that whole-grains (and vegetables too!) are great sources of protein as well. Need more convincing? Check out this post about plant-based sources of iron, calcium, protein, and flavor.

clearly, this is a huge recipe; make it for your next party!

Whole-Grain White Bean Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
½ cup diced yellow onion
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 cup diced celery
1 Tablespoon dry yellow mustard
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary (fresh or dried)
½ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 cups cooked white beans, any type (home-cooked works, but canned makes for a creamier soup)
2-3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water (more to taste)
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups cooked barley, quinoa, or other whole grain goodness

saute your veggies until soft and squishy

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil until bubbling. Add onions, mushrooms, and celery. Cook until vegetables are soft, about ten minutes.
  2. Add mustard, rosemary, salt, pepper, beans, stock, and water. Bring mixture to a low boil. Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Let cool slightly and then add mixture to food processor or blender. Puree until smooth (blend only some of the mixture for a chunkier soup).
  4. Return to saucepan and add juice and quinoa, stirring to combine. Drizzle with olive oil before serving, if desired.

one small serving of this soup is very filling!

cooking class: black bean cocoa soup and easy polenta

for this week’s class i wanted to present a ‘hearty whole meal.’ thus far i’ve done smaller dishes or main courses, but i thought that some of the students would like to learn how to combine foods for a delicious whole meal.  i chose an interesting soup recipe i adapted from one of my favorite food mags and paired it with my quick and creamy polenta.  the polenta is really filling and warming-  total comfort food.  serve alongside some easy grilled garlic broccoli and a nutritious and wholesome meal is yours to enjoy!

Black Bean Vegetable Soup with Cocoa

(adapted from Delicious Living Magazine, Feb 2011)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves fresh garlic
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 zucchini, sliced into rounds
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 cup no-salt-added tomato purée (or crushed tomatoes)
2-3 cups water or broth
2 cups black beans, home-cooked or canned (25-ounce)
2 tbsp cocoa (any type)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp each nutmeg and cayenne

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add onion.  Cook for 10 minutes then add the garlic.  Stir occasionally until both onions and garlic are softened and beginning to brown, about 4–5 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped green pepper, carrots, and zucchini to the pot, and cook for five more minutes.
  3. Add the corn, tomato purée, broth/water, and the beans, and then bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.
  4. In a small bowl mix the cocoa with the black pepper, nutmeg and cayenne.  Stir in about 1 tbsp water and stir to make a smooth paste.  Add to the soup and stir to combine.  Cook for a few more minutes to let flavors meld.
  5. Serve with Polenta, brown rice, or in a bowl alone!

Creamy Brown Rice Polenta

2 cups water or broth
1 cup polenta (coarse-ground corn meal)
1-2 tbsp Italian herbs (basil, thyme, etc)
1 tsp salt and pepper
1 cup plain hempmilk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cooked brown rice
½ cup chopped goat cheese, optional

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water or broth to a boil.  Add polenta, herbs and salt/pepper.  Stir quickly to distribute, and then cover.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the soymilk, olive oil and brown rice, stirring to combine.  Cook for a few more minutes, until brown rice is heated through and well blended.  Add more olive oil, soymilk or water if the polenta seems dry.
  3. If you are using cheese, toss into the polenta and cover to let it melt.  Stir to distribute, and then serve.

Grilled Garlic Broccoli

1 medium sized head broccoli (about 2 cups chopped)
¼ cup chopped garlic
1 tsp agave
3 tbsp olive oil or butter
1 tsp salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic.  Cook until the garlic is well-browned are starting to caramelize- but not burning.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, and agave, and stir to coat the garlic.  Remove from the pan.  Add the chopped broccoli to the hot skillet, and cook until starting to brown on the sides.  Add 1 tsp water to add some moisture and to steam the broccoli.  Stir and continue to cook until broccoli is bright green but browned on the sides.
  3. Add the garlic back into the skillet, and stir to coat the broccoli evenly with the garlic mixture.  Serve with everything!

thinking warm thoughts

did i mention how cold it is here on the mountainside?

our uphill neighbor, a pretty (huge) cow

i realize that it is actually snowing elsewhere, and i know that i can drive one hour and be at the hot and sunny beach, but here at home we are shaking in our socks.  one of the things i’ve noticed is that my eating habits have changed pretty drastically.  i don’t want to eat bananas anymore, i want to eat apples and pears.  i used to put citrus juice in everything, and now i can’t think of what to do with all those lemons and limes.  i want everything to be hearty and filling and warm! the following are three delicious meals that i’ve been cooking to keeep us warm: onion-miso gravy with pinto-bean cutlets and two versions of creamy pumpkin & garlic pasta .

onion-miso gravy with cutlets

this is a version of the PPK’s chickpea cutlets that i’ve been making with pinto beans.  i feel that the chickpeas are a bit dry for these cutlets, and really, i have a ton of pinto beans to use up! this is her doubled recipe for the cutlets, which can be found here, and is paired with my favorite easy miso-onion gravy.  this makes 8 cutlets, or 12 smaller sized nuggets.

a beautiful meal

2 cups cooked pinto beans
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
olive oil for pan frying

in a mixing bowl, mash the beans with the olive oil (or use a food processor for just a few pulses- but do not puree!).  add the remaining ingredients and knead together for about 3 minutes, until strings of gluten have formed- it should stick together in a stringy way.  let the dough rest, and preheat your cast-iron skillet.  divide the dough evenly into eight parts (the easiest way is to half it, then half each piece again).  flatten in your hands into little patties, and set aside.  when the pan is warm, add 1 tbsp olive oil and then the cutlets.  cook until nicely browned on each side, usually about ten minutes.  for this big batch, i recommend two rounds of cooking.

for the gravy:

2 tbsp red miso
1/2-1 cup soymilk, hempmilk, or almond milk
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
pinch nutmeg, pepper, thyme and caraway
1/2 cup (or more) onions, leeks or shallots

mix the miso with some or the milk and stir until smooth. set aside. mix the arrowroot with about a tbsp of the milk and stir until smooth; set this aside too. chop the onion/leeks/shallots into thin slices, and cook until soft and brown, usually about 10-15 minutes. when finished cooking, turn the heat to low and add the rest of the milk to the pan. stir until warm, then add the miso mixture and the spices. stir gently. when the milk is warm to the touch, add the arrowroot mixture to the pan and stir continuously until thickened, about 8-10 minutes. as soon as it thickens take off the heat and pour into a bowl, or directly onto your food!


roasted pumpkin & garlic creme pasta, take one

i realize the photo is a bit overexposed... but just so you have an idea of the creamy goodness of this sauce!

2 cups cubed kabocha pumpkin (or other sweet squash)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic (or more to taste)
2 cups hemp milk or soymilk, unflavored
1-2 tbsp arrowroot, mixed with 1-2 tbsp ‘milk’
pinch seasalt, black pepper, nutmeg
1-2 tsp dried basil or other ‘italian’ herbs
1/3 cup cubed goat cheddar (optional)
2 cups lacinato kale, torn into small pieces
2 servings of pasta of your choice, cooked according to directions (i liked rigatoni)

preheat your oven to 400 degrees. chop and cube the pumpkin; you don’t need to remove the skin but you can if you are highly motivated. toss in a baking dish with the olive oil and peeled garlic. roast at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, and then remove from oven and let it cool. in the meantime, boil your water and cook the pasta. in a small bowl, mix the arrowroot with a tbsp of ‘milk’ and the spices; it should be smooth, and all clumps dissolved. set it aside. warm the 2 cups of milk in a pot, stirring gently so it doesn’t burn or stick. when it’s quite warm, add the arrowroot mixture and stir constantly until thick, about ten minutes. be very patient, as it might take some time to set up. it should get much thicker and very creamy. add the goat cheese, if you are using, and stir until melted. toss in the kale just a few minutes before adding the other ingredients so that it has time to wilt in the warm sauce. then toss in the roasted pumpkin and garlic and the cooked pasta. stir until well combined, and serve immediately, with some veggies on the side.


roasted pumpkin & garlic creme pasta, take two

if you perhaps have pumpkin puree leftover from making my vegan gingerbread cake or pumpkin muffins you can use the pumpkin puree here! follow the above ingredients and directions, but instead of using cubed pumpkin inside the pasta, replace 1/2 cup of ‘milk’ with pumpkin puree and cook using the above directions. saute some chopped garlic in a small pan in some olive oil and add to the sauce with the arrowroot mixture. it makes a delicious orange creamy base for the pasta and kale.