quick meals: carrot quinoa fritters

Sad but true: I’ve been significantly less inspired to cook creatively now that I am living alone. This doesn’t mean that I am eating poorly- I am actually eating quite well- but I eat the same things all the time now! Tight scheduling and an even tighter budget means that I am making the most of all my foods, recycling staple grains and veggies into two or three similar meals throughout the week (sometimes even twice in the same day- kale is so very versatile!). This makes food blogging nearly impossible– I’ve already written multiple times about my favorite single girl meals like cozy comfort foods and just-for-one noodle dishes. But inspiration does strike, and this past weekend it came in the form of Carrot-Quinoa Fritters.

The inspiration for these hearty little treats came from a few places: last week my coworker made some deliciously whole-grain (vegan) Vegetable & Quinoa Patties for her cooking class (recipe will be posted soon!), which reminded me about Smitten Kitchen’s Zucchini Fritters that I had made a few months ago. Both patties/fritters were so easy and amazingly addictive! I’ve also been totally addicted to different versions of this crazy good yogurt-tahini sauce after making it last week to impress a handsome dinner guest.

For my cozy (solo) Saturday night dinner I cooked up some brown rice, steamed some kale, mixed in some black beans, and served them alongside these yummy fritters and an adapted version of the tahini-yogurt dip. I really want to do a vegan version of these fritters, so do stay tuned, my egg-free friends!

DSCN3294

I love the combination of soft quinoa and slightly crunchy carrots!

Carrot-Quinoa Fritters

1 organic egg
a few generous pinches of salt and pepper
1 tsp caraway seeds
1½- 2 cups shredded carrots
½ cup cooked quinoa
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)

  1. Whisk the egg in a large bowl. Toss in salt, pepper, caraway, and whisk again to combine. Add carrots and quinoa and stir to coat. Sprinkle in flour (you may need less than 1/2 cup) until mixture will stick together in 2-inch patties, though there may be a few loose carrot shreds. Make all patties before proceeding.
  2. Heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a cast iron pan (my favorite oil is Rice Bran Oil, which can stand the high heat of cast iron on gas stoves). Add a few patties to the pan, and flatten slightly with the spatula. Do not crowd pan. Cook until both sides are nicely browned, then layer on a plate with paper towel to absorb some of the oil.
  3. Serve alongside the dipping sauce, or just eat them straight off the plate. These will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Yield: about 10-12 fritters, or 2-3 servings

Zesty Yogurt & Tahini Sauce

(inspired by 101 Cookbooks; her version with cumin and coriander is fabulous too!)

a few tablespoons plain yogurt
a few tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon lemon zest
2 tsp fresh or dried dill
a few drops of honey
pinch each salt and pepper
water to taste

  1. Whisk all ingredients together until sauce is smooth and creamy, adding water to achieve the perfect texture. Taste for sweet/sour/salty flavors, adding more of any ingredient until it’s perfect!
  2. I’ve also used this sauce on kale salad, noodles, and on rice! Make a quadruple batch and love it all week long.

    fritters

    yogurt sauce with zucchini fritters

cooking class: the vegan barbeque

People are always hosting barbeques here in Hawaii- most of which are not vegetarian friendly.  Over the years I’ve had plenty of barbeques where I’ve eaten just white rice and perhaps some grilled corn… and that’s it! In last week’s cooking class we focused on omnivore-friendly vegan foods for your summer barbeque parties. The students were stoked on the easy deliciousness of the Pomegranate Molasses BBQ Tempeh, Roasted Summer Veggies and Papaya Salsa.

Most of the folks had never tried tempeh before, and I think this is a perfect introduction.  Simple grilled tempeh, simmered in a rich BBQ sauce; this Vegan with a Vengeance recipe has long been a dinner party staple, as it never fails to impress meat-eaters and veg-heads alike.  The Roasted Veggies were not as perfect as I wanted: I usually roast pumpkins, cauliflowers, and potatoes, and these light summer veggies didn’t crisp up like I wanted though they still turned out really tasty. Red peppers, orange carrots, green zucchini, and yellow squash makes for a pretty dish alongside your BBQ Tempeh.  We also made a super flavorful Papaya Salsa, which I must admit I stole from a long-ago lover (he will never know!). This great salsa is studded with pretty jalapeños, red pepper, and fresh cilantro, and paired perfectly with some organic blue corn chips, but its spicy sweetness would be equally good with burritos or on grilled tofu.  Enjoy the recipes!

 

Pomegranate Molasses BBQ Tempeh

This tangy BBQ sauce one of my favorite recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance. You can use tempeh, tofu, seitan, or anything else in this fantastic sauce. I previously waxed poetic about this amazing sauce here.

this is the tomato paste version; try with tomato sauce for lighter, thinner result (which I prefer)

1 package Tempeh (8 oz)
3 tbsp peanut oil, divided
½ cup red onion, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ tsp each ground cloves, fennel, and cinnamon
½ tsp black pepper
6 ounce can tomato sauce (paste works too, but the results are much thicker)
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp sucanat
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 cup broth or water

  1. Slice the tempeh into thin slices.  Add 1 tbsp peanut oil into a large skillet, and grill on medium heat until just browned on each side, about 10 minutes.
  2. While the tempeh is cooking begin the sauce: in a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions in 2 tbsp peanut oil until nice and browned. Add garlic, and cook a few more minutes. Lower the heat.
  3. In a large glass bowl mix together the remaining ingredients (except the broth) and whisk well.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the skillet and stir to combine with the onions. Add the broth, and simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring intermittently. Add more spices to taste.
  5. Pour BBQ sauce over tempeh and simmer for another 15 minutes. Let cool before serving. This sauce keeps for about a week in the fridge and freezes well.

Yield: about 2 cups sauce

 

Spicy Papaya Salsa


one jalapeño is enough for wimps like me, so add more if you like it more kicky!

1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large ripe papayas, diced
¼ cup red onion, minced
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup fresh cilantro, minced
juice from 1 lime
½ tsp sea salt

  1. Add the minced jalapeño to the olive oil; soak for up to an hour.
  2. Add all other ingredients to a large bowl.  Add the jalapeño + olive oil. Chill in the fridge for an hour before serving. Add more lime or salt to taste.

Yield: 3 cups salsa

 

Roasted Summer Vegetables

eat your rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green... until they are cooked!

1 cup carrots, chopped coarsely
1 cup zucchini, chopped coarsely
1 cup summer squash, chopped coarsely
1 cup red pepper, chopped coarsely
½ cup onions, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  1. Preheat your oven to 475°.
  2. Chop all the veggies and place in a very large bowl.
  3. Mix the oil, pepper, salt, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Whisk well to thicken, and pour over chopped veggies.  Toss to coat with the oil mixture.
  4. Add vegetables to a 9 x 13 pan in a thin layer.  Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Stir the veggies, and cook for 10-15 minutes more, until roasty and browning.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

Yield: Four big servings

Big thanks to Cynthia who is our DTE facebook goddess, and who took all the action shots during this cooking class!

roasted vegetable salad

Roasted root veggies, soft-cooked rye berries, and a tangy maple dijon sauce over steamed kales- this makes for some hearty vegan YUMs. This recipe was actually part of last week’s cooking class, but we are just going to pretend that class didn’t happen. I was a bit underprepared which led to rather disorganized presentation, and the recipes didn’t work out as I intended.  So this hearty winter salad gets to stand on it’s own.

This recipe features an incredibly delicious vinaigrette that I learned from Your Vegan Mom.  I actually have used this recipes for a year now, but I have never written a post about it.  Her original recipe calls for roasted brussels sprouts and beets, but I’ve used it on everything roasted including beets, carrots, pumpkins, and turnips. And I changed it a bit, including adding the shallots directly into the roasting pan, so that they become caramelized and not so strong; I also adjust the ratio of vinegar/sweet/oil depending on what type of veggies I am roasting.  And I prefer to add the prepared vinaigrette right into the sizzling pan as it comes out of the oven.  It makes a thicker textured sauce with all the flavor.  However you cook it, this dressing has never disappointed!  The recipe that follows uses the roasted veggies as the base and adds in some rye  berries for whole grain goodness, and some fresh dark green kale to round out all those roots! Enjoy…

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Rye

This recipe makes a lot- take it to your next vegan pot-luck or just enjoy it for days by yourself! Bake this is a 9 x 13 pan for even roasting.
2 cups cooked Rye berries
½ bunch lacinato kale (about 8 leaves)
1½ cups beets, chopped
3 cups kabocha pumpkin
1 cup carrots, chopped
½ cup turnips, chopped
1 cup shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt and pepper
Maple Dijon Dressing:
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1.    To cook the Rye berries: rinse in water, drain, and then add to a stockpot with at least six cups water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes or until soft.  Drain and set aside.

2.    Wash and trim your kale.  Massage the kale for a few minutes, until it begins to look wilted. Set aside.

3.    Chop all your root vegetables.  Pour the 2 tbsp olive oil and salt/pepper into a large bowl.  Add all veggies and toss to coat.  Pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees for half hour.  Stir the vegetables, and bake for 15 more minutes or until all veggies are fork-tender.

4.    Make the Maple Dijon dressing: mix all ingredients in the same large bowl.  Let sit until the vegetables are finished roasting. Pour the dressing onto the hot vegetables as soon as they come out of the oven.  Add the kale, and stir to wilt the kale.  Toss in the rye berries, and stir to combine.

ladydinner in manoa

in honor of a special lady visit and in accordance with my weekly horoscope to “invite my rambunctious friends and have a house blessing ceremony,” last night my little garden home was host to a gaggle of ladies feasting on veggie goodness.

the meal was a mixed up crew of tastes with a focus on hearty, cool-weather foods.  none of the recipes are particularly amazing as a stand-alone, but all together made for a rather impressive spread.  on the menu was polenta and brown rice with herbs and parmesan cheese, wild rice tempeh with mashed sweet potatoes + white potatoes and mushroom gravy, lentil soup with greens, sauteed cauliflower, locally made wheat bread with pink hummus, pesto, and goat cheese brie; and for dessert vegan chocolate cake + vanilla bean frosting along with coconut bliss ice cream and homemade vegan chocolate pudding.  as usual, most of the vegetables (kales, cauliflower, beets) are  from the farm, harvested with my own hands (with the exception of the onions and potatoes- from somewhere in hawaii). 
blessings indeed. thank you ladies, for a lovely evening :)

lentil soup with greens (easy and yummy)
2 cups brown lentils, soaked if you can
4-6 cups water + 1 tbsp (or to taste) ‘better than boullion’
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for drizzle)
1 tbsp black pepper
a mix of herbs + spices (i used some cayenne, fennel, caraway, thyme, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves)
about 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-4 cups freshly torn greens

if you have the time/space/energy/memory, soak the lentils for a few hours before cooking them. if not, just toss them in the pan and cook until mostly done, about a half hour; toss in the pepper and herbs + spices near the end of the cooking time. while the lentils are cooking, heat up the oil in your skillet and cook the onions and garlic to a crispy brown, then add to your lentils. simmer until the lentils are soft but not mushy; add more bouillon or salt to taste, and add more herbs + spices if you like (i always adjust as i cook). when the lentils are soft and the broth is flavorful enough, add the lemon juice and greens just prior to serving, and if you like add a bit of olive oil to the top.
this soup keeps well for many days, but the greens begin to look icky because of the lemon juice; if you are keeping the soup for a few days, add greens and lemon only to the amount you can eat in one sitting. then, when you reheat it in a few days add fresh greens and lemon.

pink hummus
this was pretty addition to our dinner! all we did was add a chopped beet to the food processor. i think everyone knows how to make hummus, but if you do not… i forgive you. all measurements are approximate… just taste it as you go along.

2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt, black pepper and cumin to taste
water (sometimes needed to thin it out)
1 small beet, chopped

throw it in your food processor and blend until a creamy texture is created, adding a bit of water and/or oil to make sure it gets creamy. taste as you go, and add more of the ingredients as needed. toss the beet in once you have achieved hummus perfection in the processor.  serve to your ladies.

vegan chocolate cake
this simple vegan cake goes with everything: frosting, chocolate sauce, coconut ice cream, or standing alone as a not-too-sweet treat.

1 cup ap flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup sucanat or sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp seasalt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup ‘milk’ (i like half soy/half coconut milk)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/3 cup oil (i’ve used both coconut and safflower)

preheat your oven to 350 and grease/line with parchment an 8×8 baking pan.
mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. mix the vinegar with the ‘milk’ and let it sit a minute, then add the rest of the ingredients. combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until smooth. pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, letting it cool completely before taking it from the pan. cooling racks come in handy here, folks…
i like this really simple vanilla bean frosting, with or without the extra spices. it can actually be made without the margarine; it will be a bit saucier though…

ladydinner in manoa

in honor of a special lady visit and in accordance with my weekly horoscope to “invite my rambunctious friends and have a house blessing ceremony,” last night my little garden home was host to a gaggle of ladies feasting on veggie goodness.

the meal was a mixed up crew of tastes with a focus on hearty, cool-weather foods.  none of the recipes are particularly amazing as a stand-alone, but all together made for a rather impressive spread.  on the menu was polenta and brown rice with herbs and parmesan cheese, wild rice tempeh with mashed sweet potatoes + white potatoes and mushroom gravy, lentil soup with greens, sauteed cauliflower, locally made wheat bread with pink hummus, pesto, and goat cheese brie; and for dessert vegan chocolate cake + vanilla bean frosting along with coconut bliss ice cream and homemade vegan chocolate pudding.  as usual, most of the vegetables (kales, cauliflower, beets) are  from the farm, harvested with my own hands (with the exception of the onions and potatoes- from somewhere in hawaii). 
blessings indeed. thank you ladies, for a lovely evening :)

lentil soup with greens (easy and yummy)
2 cups brown lentils, soaked if you can
4-6 cups water + 1 tbsp (or to taste) ‘better than boullion’
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for drizzle)
1 tbsp black pepper
a mix of herbs + spices (i used some cayenne, fennel, caraway, thyme, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves)
about 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-4 cups freshly torn greens

if you have the time/space/energy/memory, soak the lentils for a few hours before cooking them. if not, just toss them in the pan and cook until mostly done, about a half hour; toss in the pepper and herbs + spices near the end of the cooking time. while the lentils are cooking, heat up the oil in your skillet and cook the onions and garlic to a crispy brown, then add to your lentils. simmer until the lentils are soft but not mushy; add more bouillon or salt to taste, and add more herbs + spices if you like (i always adjust as i cook). when the lentils are soft and the broth is flavorful enough, add the lemon juice and greens just prior to serving, and if you like add a bit of olive oil to the top.
this soup keeps well for many days, but the greens begin to look icky because of the lemon juice; if you are keeping the soup for a few days, add greens and lemon only to the amount you can eat in one sitting. then, when you reheat it in a few days add fresh greens and lemon.

pink hummus
this was pretty addition to our dinner! all we did was add a chopped beet to the food processor. i think everyone knows how to make hummus, but if you do not… i forgive you. all measurements are approximate… just taste it as you go along.

2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt, black pepper and cumin to taste
water (sometimes needed to thin it out)
1 small beet, chopped

throw it in your food processor and blend until a creamy texture is created, adding a bit of water and/or oil to make sure it gets creamy. taste as you go, and add more of the ingredients as needed. toss the beet in once you have achieved hummus perfection in the processor.  serve to your ladies.

vegan chocolate cake
this simple vegan cake goes with everything: frosting, chocolate sauce, coconut ice cream, or standing alone as a not-too-sweet treat.

1 cup ap flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup sucanat or sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp seasalt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup ‘milk’ (i like half soy/half coconut milk)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/3 cup oil (i’ve used both coconut and safflower)

preheat your oven to 350 and grease/line with parchment an 8×8 baking pan.
mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. mix the vinegar with the ‘milk’ and let it sit a minute, then add the rest of the ingredients. combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until smooth. pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, letting it cool completely before taking it from the pan. cooling racks come in handy here, folks…
i like this really simple vanilla bean frosting, with or without the extra spices. it can actually be made without the margarine; it will be a bit saucier though…