Veggies on the counter

Springtime Vegan Frittata

Posted in baked goods, main courses by veggies on the counter on March 29, 2015

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As much as I love my morning bowl of oatmeal, it feels good to have something different for breakfast every now and then. Lately, I’ve been trying different breakfast foods – from salads, to socca, and steamed vegetables with panfried tofu – and while I enjoyed them all, the recipe I’m sharing with today is one of my favourite experiments.

14 final web01 collageBefore I committed to making my version of a vegan frittata, I’ve searched the web for inspiration. Most of the recipes I saw called for the use of cornstarch or arrowroot to thicken the tofu “custard” and make it firmer. I have nothing against those ingredients, but since I had neither of them at home by the time I was making the frittata, I made it without them and it turned out just fine. However, if you want to be able to cut a perfect slice out of it you have to be patient and wait at least half an hour after it comes out of the oven.00 collagefinal web vertical

The frittata also becomes firmer the longer it stays in the fridge, and I might say I actually like it better the day after it’s baked – it’s incredible how the flavours improve and become more pronounced overnight. You don’t really need to use the vegetables I used here, and I’m sure that red peppers and/or leeks would be great additions or substitutions.

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Springtime Vegan Frittata

serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

250 g / 1 large onion, finely cubed

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

690 g fresh firm tofu, cubed

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 Tablespoons brewer’s yeast (optional)

grated zest of one lemon

220 g / 1 small broccoli head, cut into medium sized florets

295 g / 1 large bunch spinach

240 g boiled peas (frozen is fine)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Grease a springform pan with oil and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, garlic, olive oil and dried thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 5-8 minutes, or until the onion has softened and browned just a bit.

Add the broccoli florets to the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3 to 4 times, or until the florets are just broken down (you don’t want to fully blitz the broccoli).

Add the broccoli to the skillet with the onion and garlic mixture and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Next, add the spinach and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook until the spinach is wilted – no longer than 2 minutes.

Add the tofu to the bowl of the food processor, along with 1 teaspoon of salt, the turmeric, brewer’s yeast (if using) and lemon zest, and blitz until smooth.

Add the spinach and broccoli mixture to a large bowl, followed by the puréed tofu and the cooked peas. Gently mix the ingredients until everything is well incorporated. Season with freshly ground black pepper and an extra pinch of salt, if necessary.

Add the frittata mixture to the prepared springform pan. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool in the pan before unmolding and serving.

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Split Pea Hummus with Capers & Red Onion

Posted in Uncategorized by veggies on the counter on March 19, 2015

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Every time I have guests for dinner, I typically serve some sort of homemade hummus or vegetable spread as an entrée. Most of the time I end up making the good old chickpea hummus because it’s one of favourite spreads and everyone loves it. But if I’m pressed for time (because yes, I’m in that tiny group of crazy people who actually thinks that removing the chickpeas’ skins is the secret to making the perfect hummus), I use split peas instead.

This is an incredibly easy, yet really tasty bean spread that’s perfect served on top of toasted bread or used as a dip for raw vegetables. I love to dip carrots and turnips into this hummus, but peppers (cut into strips), raw broccoli florets and/or parsnips are also excellent options.

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I always have this thing going on with the blog where I try to balance more complex recipes with everyday, casual ones. That balance is hard to strive because people who aren’t familiar with vegan cooking tend to prefer simple and straightforward recipes, whereas long time vegans and/or foodies appreciate bold and unusual combination of ingredients and techniques.

At the end of the day, I always try to stay true to myself and my cooking “style”. However, I hope that recipes like this one – that do not involve a long list of ingredients but deliver on flavour – inspire people to venture into cooking more vegan food and, most importantly, help break the misconception that eating vegan is all about pricy superfoods and green smoothies (nothing against both, it just totally annoys me when I hear people saying that – and I do, all the time).

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Split Pea Hummus with Capers & Red Onion

serves a crowd

195 g / 1 cup green split peas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed

¾ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon za’atar

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more for serving

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoon warm water

65 g / half a medium sized red onion, finely chopped

27 g / 2 Tablespoons brined capers, rinsed, dried and chopped

Add the split peas to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add enough water to cover the peas by 2 cm (0.8 inches). Bring to a boil and, once boiling, reduce the heat to low-medium and cook for 20 minutes or until soft. Some foam might naturally form on top of the cooking liquid – in that case, just take it out with a slotted spoon.

Drain the peas once they are cooked and cooled. Add them to the bowl of a food processor along with the sea salt, black pepper, za’atar, garlic clove, olive oil, lemon juice and water. Run the machine until you get a very smooth hummus. If the mixture seems too dry, add 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of water.

Put the split pea hummus in a medium sized deep plate. Add the red onion and capers on top and finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Farmers’ Market Salad with Apricot-Cumin Dressing

Posted in salads, side dishes by veggies on the counter on March 11, 2015

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It’s that time of the year when the weather is getting warmer and I start craving raw and cold salads again. This week, at the farmers’ market, I brought home lots of kohlrabi and turnips with the main intention to eat them raw (which is how I like them better anyway).

I know that a lot of people aren’t particularly excited about turnips, and even though I used to share the same opinion, I’ve been rediscovering this vegetable and absolutely loving its versatility. I’ve been enjoying thinly sliced turnips with just a dash of salt and black pepper as a light snack these days – there’s something about its light and yet slightly bitter flavour that I really love.

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Anyway, this salad is pretty much like a coleslaw, with lots of crispiness and different textures. I felt I needed to balance that with a smooth dressing, and that’s how I ended up making an apricot-based one. I was really pleased with how it turned out – it’s sweet and tangy at the same time, with just a hint of cumin to make it more complex and intense.

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Farmers’ Market Salad with Apricot-Cumin Dressing

Serves 4

For the salad:

220 g /5 medium sized carrots, grated

140 g /1 large kohlrabi, thinly sliced

120 g /1 large turnip, thinly sliced

200 g /1 large orange, sliced into half-moons

15 g / half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped

15 g / half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped

60 g /1/2 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped, toasted and lightly salted

For the apricot-cumin dressing:

65 g /6 dried unsulphured apricots, roughly chopped

6 Tablespoons olive oil

6 Tablespoons lemon juice

3 Tablespoons water

1 ¼ teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground in a mortar and pestle

¼ teaspoon sea salt

black pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl.

Put the apricots in a small bowl. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over them, cover the bowl, and let stand for at least 10 minutes, or until the apricots are very soft.

In a blender, combine the drained apricots with all the other ingredients for the dressing. Blend until you get a very smooth mixture.

Pour the dressing over the salad (you might not need all of it, use just enough to coat the vegetables), mix with a wooden spoon or with your hands and serve immediately.

Ginger & Orange Oat Cookies

Posted in desserts by veggies on the counter on March 3, 2015

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My first idea was to share with you a chocolate dessert today, but unfortunately the dish I envisioned – a beautiful chocolate and toasted oatmeal mousse – didn’t really work out. Instead of a mousse, I ended up making a ganache, and a ganache is just a dessert component, not a dessert in itself. For that reason, I threw it into the freezer and decided to go on a totally different direction. In the end, I made something I was actually craving for quite a while – thin and crisp oat cookies.

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Ginger and orange are ingredients that I almost always have in my fridge, and I knew beforehand how well they go together (they’re the base of a Moroccan inspired marinade I make quite often to flavour tofu). The only thing I had to do in the process of making this recipe was to taste the cookie dough a few times and adjust the amounts of both ingredients to make sure the flavours were discernible.

I’m very pleased with how the cookies turned out, they’re wonderfully spicy thanks to the ginger but also fresh and citrus-y because of the orange. Just a little note: after you take them out of the oven they’ll be soft to the touch, but after 5 minutes or so they’ll crisp up and be ready to eat. :)

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Ginger & Orange Oat Cookies

Makes about 35 cookies

Dry mixture

138 g / 1 ¼ cups old fashioned rolled oats

110 g / 1 cup oat flour

50 g / ½ cup desiccated coconut

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

Wet mixture

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1 ½ Tablespoons orange zest (from about 2 ½ medium sized oranges)

80 ml / 1/3 cup olive oil

185 ml / ¾ cup brown rice syrup

2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal

60 ml / ¼ cup water

In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed meal and water together. Whisk well, cover, and let it rest for about 5 minutes or until it thickens.

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining wet ingredients and the flaxseed mixture.

Pour the wet mixture over the dry and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined. Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour before using. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 180 C and line a large tray with baking paper.

After the dough is chilled, scoop out 1 tablespoon of it at a time. Wet your hands and flatten each piece of dough between your hands, until you get a cookie that is about 2 mm thick. Arrange each cookie at least 4 cm (1.6 inches) apart from each other in the prepared baking tray. They’ll spread out quite a bit.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let them cool on a rack before eating and store them in an airtight container.