Painless Polenta

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Many, many a night, my only wish is for a hearty, healthy, delicious meal to materialize on my table in under 20 minutes. I’ve been hunting down recipes that make that happen and stockpiling them. This one just made the pile. Check out these no-sweat polenta cakes topped with black beans, spinach & peppers, over at Nava Atlas’s VegKitchen (thanks Michael for turning me on to her!).

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Okra – Part Deux

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Come summertime and this intriguingly fuzzy little pod always shows up in my grocery store. Curiosity bit me last summer and I finally jumped in to the okra scene by adding it to a Southern inspired stew. I figured the long cooking time and melded flavors of a stew can take the scariness out of any food, right? Ehhhh, not so much. It’s not that though okra tasted bad, but it did turn my meal into a gelatinous mess. The recipe did not prepare me for this okra side effect and unsurprisingly, spoonfuls of goo did not top my list of pleasurable eating experiences.

So it’s August and the pods are making an appearance in my produce section again. At the same time I spied this Peanut Stuffed Okra recipe in my Vegetarian Times. Okay okra, time to redeem your self! And did it ever. The pods made perfect little boats for the spicy, nutty (non-sludgy!) filling. Okra success.

(Mikey also made a heat-filled ‘Bee Sting’  to accompany this snack. Maybe it was his way of saying he needs to be intoxicated to try my okra again, ha.)

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Ladies and Gentleman, The Beets!

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Whenever cooking with beets, the 1995 smash hit (at least in the Nickelodeon universe), “Killer Tofu”, worms it’s way into my brain. Not familiar with this ear infecting ditty? It’s by virtual rockstars, The Beets, who hailed from the cartoon Doug, which had heavy rotation on my childhood tube. If you care to listen:

Anyway, back to beet beets. I have hummus at least a few times a week as a part of my lunch routine so I’m always thinking of ways to jazz it up. Here, roasted beets & toasted walnuts turn your ordinary chickpea, tahini, lemon and garlic mixture into an earthy, magenta hued, delight.

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“This Actually Tastes Like Clam Chowder!”

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Exclaimed a skeptical Mike when he was served this veganized version of the New England classic. Some may have been offended by his shock, implying his doubt, but I took it as the highest compliment. Out of all the traditional meat based meals I’ve tried to make animal free over the years, mimicking a fishy flavor & texture is tough. This combo of oyster mushrooms, artichoke hearts and a slew of other flavor enhancers comes damn close.

Check out the surprisingly simple recipe here at: Meettheshannons.net

Alien life forms? Nah, just pretty oyster mushrooms.

Alien life forms? Nah, just pretty oyster mushrooms.

Apparently, it takes a village to capture the essence of the sea.

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PB & SP Sitting In A Tree

 

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Peanut butter and sweet potato, what an epic pairing. I can’t think of a way you could put these two together that could go wrong. I tried two tasty variations recently. Check them out here.

Thai Sweet Potato Stacks with Peanut Sauce at the minimalistbaker.com.

I went fancy-pants and choose to stack, while Mikey went all nacho style on it.

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With & w/out Sriracha

With & w/out Sriracha

Next up this soul warming Sweet Potato Peanut Bisque at eatingwell.com. I topped mine with cashews for an extra crunch. Decadently delectable.

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Mouthwatering Mediterrean

Falafel Stuffed Eggplant with a Tahini Sauce & Tomato Onion Relish

Falafel Stuffed eggplant with a tahini sauce & onion tomato relish

I made this falafel stuffed eggplant just about a month ago and it was divine. Now looking back over the photos it’s divineness has gripped my brain. Eggplants & chickpeas going on the grocery list in 3, 2, 1….

Check out the recipe at Joanna-eatswellwithothers.com. (To veganize sub in flax eggs for the eggs & agave for the honey).

Into the processor we go.

Into the processor we go

Ravishing relish and tasty tahini sauce

Ravishing relish and tasty tahini sauce

Falafel Stuffed Eggplant with Roasted Asparagus

Falafel stuffed eggplant with roasted asparagus

 

Simple Scene Stealing Sides

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For me, sides dishes are often the superman of the vegetarian/vegan world, always there to save the day. I’ve eaten out at a steakhouse before, to appease friends of course, and have been able to have a completely satisfying meal just picking from the sides menu. Bonus, my portion of the check.

Sides also come to the rescue when I’m having a lazy cooking day (or week). When I don’t feel up to a complicated entrée requiring four pots & 30 minutes of prep I always fall back on marinating a tempeh, tofu or portabello and just tossing it in the oven to bake. To keep the meal somewhat interesting though, I’ll have more fun with the sides. So I was one happy lady when Cooking Light offered up 28 Short Order Sides.

For this meal, I went with an orange maple marinade for the tempeh and felt the Gingered Sweet Potatoes & the Teriyaki Glazed Brussels Sprouts would go nicely. I was correct, yum.

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Once, Twice, Three Times A Loafy

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Atomic Pecan Loaf

Whenever I have a hankering for a good ol meat & taters, stick to the bones, make me all warm and cozy meal, I go with a ‘meat’ loaf. There are just so many tasty veggie variations to play with. Here are three winners:

Atomic Pecan Tofu Loaf – did you know you can make loaves in your slow cooker? You do now! From The Vegan Slow Cooker. Paired with green beans, vegan mashed potatoes & Mike’s home brewed Oktoberfest beer.

Atomic Pecan Loaf

Atomic Pecan Loaf

Quinoa Loaf – via Whole Foods’ Recipe. I decided to try out chard & turnip fries with this. Side note – I do not like turnip fries.

Quinoa Loaf

Quinoa Loaf

Those not so bueno turnip fries.

Those not so bueno turnip fries.

Quinoa Loaf with the turnips turned into a mash, still no bueno.

Quinoa Loaf with the turnips turned into a mash, still no bueno.

Lentil Walnut Loaf over at Eatliverun.com. With sauteed kale and sliced potatoes.

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Lentil Loaf

Lentil Loaf

Lentil Loaf

Happy loafing!!

Bulgur Tabbouleh Stuffed Kale

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I just could not come up with a cutesy blog post title for this meal. I tried! Bulgur tabbouleh stuffed kale didn’t lend itself to any appealing nicknames or interesting alliterations. Have I failed you? Any ideas?

Despite it’s un-fun moniker, the meal was quite tasty. Light and refreshing. Check out the recipe at Foodandwine.com. (To ‘veganize’ simply sub in vegan greek yogurt.)

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My cherry chopper needs a mani!

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That’s A Spicy Mock Meat-a-Ball!

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Okay, these aren’t really that spicy. I just wanted to say meat-a-ball. They are beyond delicious though. I think this will be my new in-your-face meal. Anytime I encounter a vegan naysayer, I’ll just go, “Bam! Try these meat-a-balls!”, argument over. Maybe I’ll just carry a few in my purse at all times. You know, for vegan emergencies.

Kidney beans, oats, carrots & walnuts make up the bulk of the Italian Bean Spheres, check out the recipe over here at Oh She Glows. Note, I had all intentions of making this with spaghetti squash but as the store was out, we had to settle for real spaghetti, Mike was devastated I tell you, devastated! 🙂

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Fyi – sprinkled with nutritional yeast in lieu of parm.

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