Category Archives: quick recipe

Creamy Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

I used to follow football and some how I’ve drifted away from it in recent years. However, I’m still a bandwagon Superbowl enthusiast.  I don’t even need to watch the game, I usually just come for the food.  What can I say, I just love foods that encourage you to eat with your fingers, and Superbowl parties tend to offer that opportunity.

Right now, I’m basically just using this Sunday’s Superbowl 50 game with the Panthers vs the Broncos as an excuse to finally post a new recipe for spinach and artichoke dip.  This is one that I came up with over Christmas. It was a huge hit at a gathering I hosted so I promised that I would share the recipe. Though the party was filled with all vegan guests, every single one of them said that if they didn’t know the dip was vegan they would have seriously questioned it.

While not as healthy as my other spinach and artichoke dip, this one is super satisfying and very reminiscent of classic cheesy dips. It’s the perfect dip to share with your omnivore friends, on special occasions, of course.

This recipe utilizes some of my favorite non-dairy cheese substitutes, but if you can’t find these particular brands, or have your own favorites, feel free to substitute. For mozzarella, I use Follow Your Heart’s soy free Vegan Gourmet Shreds, which can be found at Whole Foods Markets, Follow Your Heart Market in Canoga Park, CA, as well as other natural foods stores. My favorite vegan cream cheese is Kite Hill, which can found exclusively at Whole Foods Markets.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip
Serves 8 to 12 people
Ingredients
2 bags spinach, chopped and wilted
2 cans artichoke hearts, quartered
½ cup Cashews, soaked
½ cup water
4 Oz vegan cream cheese*
3/4 cup vegan mozzarella shreds, divided
4 cloves garlic
½ tsp salt
Dash cayenne, or more to taste
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Directions
1. Rinse spinach under cool water, drain, but leave damp. Add to a pan over medium heat, cover until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Squeeze out as much water as possible with the back of a spoon and set aside in a mixing bowl.
2. Combine 1/2 cup mozzarella shreds, along with remaining ingredients, except spinach and artichoke, in a blender and process until smooth.
3. Pour mixture over the spinach in the mixing bowl. Add in artichokes and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Stir well to combine.
4. Transfer to a 8 inch casserole dish, or a bread bowl. Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Mixture should thicken slightly.

*If you cannot find vegan cream cheese, or prefer not to use it, sub with an extra 1/4 cup of cashews and 2 Tablespoons water or non-dairy milk.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Golden Tomato Sauce

The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market has been brimming lately with vibrant colors of a new season of produce. The sweet and cooling fruits and vegetables of summer are becoming abundant and inviting.

On my last visit to the market, I was drawn in by glowing baskets of sunshine at the Tutti Frutti Farms booth. In late winter, early spring I always stop at this particular farm to stock up on their sweet and flavorful carrots. Come summer, they are the farm I turn to for juicy, heirloom tomatoes, including the Golden Jubilee tomatoes that inspired this recipe.

golden_tomatoes

Golden Jubilee are a beautiful yellow fleshed tomato with a mild flavor and low acidity. They are great for eating raw, juicing or blending. Roasting brings out their delicate flavor in a different way, which makes it a lovely sauce tomato as well.

This Golden Heirloom Tomato Sauce recipe contains only three ingredients and is incredibly simple to make. Thinning out the sauce also turns the recipe into an exquisite soup as well. If you don’t have access to Golden Jubilee tomatoes, use any heirloom variety for best flavor. Non-heirloom varieties will be more acidic and may require an acid neutralizer like baking soda or sweetener.

golden_tomato_Sauce

Golden Tomato Sauce
Ingredients
4 medium golden tomatoes, about 1 pound
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper
small bunch fresh basil, chiffonade (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Chop the tomatoes into large chunks. Coat the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Add tomatoes, onions and garlic to the pan, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

raw_golden_tomatoes

3. Cover and roast for 40 minutes, until onions are very soft and juices release from the tomatoes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes to allow the onions and tomatoes to get a little browned on top.

roasted_gold_tomatoes

4. Carefully transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a pot and stir in basil, if using. Adjust for seasoning.  Reheat, if necessary. Serve with favorite pasta or vegetables, or add vegetable stock, water or non-dairy milk to thin out a little and serve as a delicious vegan cream of tomato soup.

pasta_golden_sauce

Easy Weeknight Meals: Curried Chickpea Salad

vegan_curried_chickpea_salad

Chickpeas are most commonly known as the Hummus Bean, but they are so much more versatile than that. I love using chickpeas for everything from breakfast scrambles to tacos, to burgers, to crispy roasted snack alternatives, and in soups. I’ve yet to try them for dessert as Blondies, or a grain free cookie dough dip, though I’ve seen many of those around the internet. More recently, their liquid has even been used as an egg replacer to make meringue.

The versatile legume is high in protein, fiber, iron, folate and manganese. It supports digestion, cardiovascular health and helps regulate blood sugar. Chickpeas are dense and hearty, but at the same time light enough in flavor to absorb whatever seasonings you add to them.

For this Easy Weeknight Meal, I’ve used chickpeas to create a high protein, vegan curried chickpea salad. It is packed with flavor and crunch from fresh vegetables. Lots of color in the chickpea salad means you are eating the rainbow and covering a full scale of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients.

The vegan chickpea salad can be enjoyed with nothing more than a spoon, or use it to top leafy greens, stuff between slices of sandwich bread or roll in a wrap, lettuce, collard or otherwise. However you eat it, have fun with it!

Curried Chickpea Salad
Makes 3 to 4 servings

Ingredients
1/4 Cup diced red onion (optional, soaked in apple cider vinegar and water)
1 1/2 Cups cooked chickpeas (one can, drained and rinsed)
1/2 Tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1 Tablespoon curry powder, or to taste
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons coconut milk, or vegan mayo
1/2 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced small
1/4 Cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: bread, collard wrap, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, or other favorite accompaniments

Directions
1. Optional: In a small bowl, submerge diced red onion in 2 parts apple cider vinegar and 1 part water. Let sit for at least half hour; drain and rinse.
2. Using a food processor fitted with the S-blade, grind chickpeas until flaky. Transfer to a bowl. You may also use a hand masher instead of food processor for chunkier texture.
2. Add remaining ingredients a mix well with a fork to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.

vegan_curried_chickpea_sandwich

 

What’s your favorite way to eat chickpeas?  Leave a comment below!

Easy Weeknight Meals: Curry Bowl

At lunch the other day, I was having a discussion with Jacques and his coworker about eating vegan and eating healthy.

As he put down his fork, the coworker said very eagerly “if I could eat like this at home all the time, it would be so much easier to maintain a healthy vegan diet.”  We were eating at Native Foods and he had just finished his Bangkok Curry bowl – “Seared tofu steak atop steamed veggies, kale, brown rice, with lemongrass-ginger-infused coconut milk curry. Topped with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro.”

Of course, I jumped immediately into educator mode and assured him “you can eat like this all the time! It’s really easy. All that bowl is when you break it down is steamed vegetables, brown rice and sauce.”

He thought for a second, then admitted that, yes, this was true, but he and his wife are terrible about actually taking the time to pre-plan their meals, or cook in bulk for the week.

Does this sound familiar?

While I am a big fan of recommending that people batch cook, I acknowledge that in reality this may not be possible for most people.  If you don’t LOOOOOVE cooking, the idea of hanging in the kitchen for half a day so that you don’t have to do it every night of the week, may not sound very appealing. Even if you do love cooking, trying to set aside an entire afternoon to do it, often just isn’t going to happen when the rest of life gets in the way.  Something tells me not everyone is as focused as I am on what they are going to eat at their next meal immediately after they just finished their last one.

In an effort to help you discover ways to easily prepare healthy meals at home, I’m beginning a series of posts entitled “Easy Weeknight Meals” where I’ll feature different simple recipes you can throw together in a matter of minutes.

How will you prepare delicious, easy and healthy meals in a matter of minutes you ask?

The answer is to take advantage of all the prep work that has already been done for you.  One of the best resources for prepped veggies is Trader Joe’s, especially since their produce section is ever expanding to offer a wider variety of vegetables, and more organic options as well.  The broccoli and cauliflower are already in florets, the kale is already chopped, the onions are diced, and the carrots are wee babies.  Nothing needs to be washed, de-stemmed or peeled. They even have pre-cooked rice and quinoa, and rice that has been parboiled to cut down cooking time. All the time consuming prep work has already been taken care of so all you have to do is steam and choose a sauce.

I use Trader Joe’s as an example, but just about every grocery store, including Costco, have recognized our growing desire to eat fewer pre-packaged meals and more freshly prepared ones, with the same convenience factor, and are now offering pre-cut vegetables.  You can also find some great “done for you” sauces, or whip up a favorite on your own.

Lately, I have been on a curry making kick, which is probably why I got so excited about coworker enjoying his Bangkok Bowl.  While I do take extra steps when I make my curries, you can just as easily recreate a simple version in 15 minutes on a busy work night. I present to you the first recipe in the Easy Weeknight Meals series.

Quick and Easy Weeknight Curry Bowl

What you Need:

Pre-made curry sauce, or curry paste, soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, and a can of coconut milk (do not shake!)

coconut-milk

Pre-chopped vegetables of choice (I recommend broccoli, carrots, zucchini, kale and cauliflower)

chopped-veggies

Brown rice or quinoa (this can be a frozen package, or something you pre-cooked)

bowl-of-rice

Marinated tofu or seitan, optional

Sesame seeds and cilantro, optional for garnish

What you Do:

Fill a pot with a couple of inches of water. Place your vegetables in a steamer basket and put steamer basket in the pot, making sure the vegetables are not submerged in water. If they are, dump out some of the water. Turn on heat to medium, cover and steam for 5-8 minutes until vegetables have reached your desired tenderness.

steamed-veggies

Cook or re-heat rice or quinoa according to package directions.

Heat or make your sauce.  If you are using curry paste, add a couple tablespoons to a small pot over medium heat and cook for a minute or two, until it is very fragrant.  (I like to sauté a little garlic, ginger and onion with my curry paste, but we’re keeping it simple right now. Save that for a night when you have more time to cook.) Scoop out just the white part of the coconut milk and whisk into the pot, along with a teaspoon of soy sauce/Bragg’s/tamari. Simmer over low heat until it is warm.  Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding more curry paste or soy sauce as needed.

Get out a big bowl. Scoop half cup to a cup of rice/quinoa into the bowl, top with a cup or two of steamed vegetables, pour about a quarter cup of sauce over everything, top with seitan or tofu, if using.  Devour!  Save the leftovers for lunch or dinner tomorrow.

veggie-bowl-with-sauce

Mediterranean Farro Salad

It’s that perfect time of year when the seasonal veggies overlap and there are seemingly endless combinations of veggies you can put together to create sensational flavors. I’ve been having so much fun in the kitchen taking advantage of this over lap.  I’ve topped roasted autumn veggies with juicy heirloom tomatoes; enjoyed a combination of eggplant and butternut squash; and paired crisp Asian pears with sweet red strawberries.

I just love the way summer meets fall in this delicious Mediterranean farro salad. It takes a little bit of prep, but most of it is down time while the veggies are roasting. Roasting is key to making this salad perfection, bringing out the natural sweetness of the vegetables through a gentle caramelization.

 

Mediterranean Farro

 

Mediterranean Farro Salad

Ingredients

1 cup farro

5 cups water

1 red bell pepper

1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil, divided

2 medium shallots, quartered

1 cup brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and sliced (reserve soaking water)

4 artichokes, quartered (packed in water)

handful of fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

handful of fresh parsley, minced

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Add farro and water to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until farro is tender.

2. Place bell pepper on a parchment lined baking sheet. Toss shallots and brussels sprouts in in half a tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet next to the pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven, flip all the vegetables, then return to oven for another 10-15 minutes, until browned.

3. Place the pepper in a small bowl and cover until cool enough to handle, then peel, remove seeds and dice.  Chop shallots into smaller pieces.

4. In a large pan, saute the artichokes and sundried tomatoes in remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil, until artichokes are lightly browned. Remove from heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside. When farro is done cooking, drain and rinse under cold water. Add to bowl along with roasted vegetables. Stir in basil and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

What are your favorite cross seasonal pairings?  Share in the comments below.

Food for Life

In all the heart of wedding planning and running from kitchen to kitchen to teach or cook, my time to sit down in front of the computer to do some writing has been limited in the last couple weeks. I also haven’t had much time in my own kitchen to create new recipes.  A lot of my non-client cooking time has been dedicated to run throughs of Food for Life recipes.

Have I told you about Food for Life yet?  If you don’t subscribe to my newsletter, you may not have heard much about the new and exciting certification I’ve recently received through the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The Physician’s Committee was founded as a nonprofit organization of doctors and laypersons working together for compassionate and effective medical practice, research, and health promotion. It promotes preventive medicine through innovative programs and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

I am a huge fan of Dr. Neal Barnard’s work as a pioneer researcher of the beneficial effects of a plant-based diet for health. He is the creator of the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart that I’ve shared with you in the past. It is an honor to be accepted into this highly competitive program and I am looking forward teaching his renowned curriculum.

Power Plate by PCRM.org

 

The Food for Life nutrition and cooking program is meant to equip individuals, their friends, and family members with practical cooking skills and tips that turn every meal into a delicious dose of healthful nutrition.

The program was launched in 2001 to help cancer survivors and those interested in cancer prevention, take advantage of the healing power of foods. Since then, it has expanded to include a curriculum on diabetes prevention and treatment as well as one focused on general health and weight management, and another on children’s health, The program is currently taught in more than 150 cities across the country.

With that being said, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite simple recipes from the Food for Life Program. I’ve been so hooked on making quick and easy veggie wraps because they are great for throwing together whatever leftover veggies you have in the fridge, or for a healthy meal or snack to grab on the go for yourself or the kids.

veggie wrap by Christine Oppenheim

Veggies in a Blanket

Ingredients:

1 cup hummus or bean dip

8 whole-wheat tortillas

4 carrots, grated

1 cup baby spinach

Option: thinly sliced cucumber or red bell pepper

Directions:

1. Shred carrots, or use pre-shredded carrots. Spread hummus or bean spread thinly on tortillas, and then add carrots and lettuce, spinach, or sprouts.

2. Roll up each tortilla, secure with 5 evenly placed toothpicks, and slice into 5 individual rolls per tortilla (one toothpick per roll) if serving snacks. For a meal, cut each tortilla in half.

 

If you think your company or community organization may be interested in presentations on the life saving effects of healthful eating, please contact me to discuss how we can work together.

 

Easy Chia Pudding

After hitting 3 weeks with no sugar/dessert, my wedding tasting day came up, which, of course, included cake. While it was a little weird for both me and Jacques to stick our forks into decadent rounds of chocolate and carrot cake, we were relieved to find that the cake was not too sweet for our sugarless pallets.  One more reason to be in love with our wedding venue –  fruit juice sweetened cake. It was so good!

I’m not just saying this from the perspective of two people who haven’t had a lavish dessert in three weeks and a year, respectively. Our best man and best woman agreed that they were delicious!

See how much fun we had! (Maybe more to do with the wine than the cake.)
See how much fun we had! (Maybe more to do with the wine than the cake.)

Why do I bring this up? Well, I mention it because many people feel intimidated by the idea of changing their diets or removing sweet treats from their dining tables, ignoring the fact that their are alternatives to processed and refined sugars. Plus, the right healthy alternatives are often more satisfying and satiating than the quick buzz you get from eating a bar of chocolate.

One of my favorite fulfilling treats is Easy Chia Pudding. I try to throw this one into cooking demonstrations as often as I can because people are always wowed by the simplicity of preparation and how gratifying it is to eat.  I am not exaggerating. This pudding is always a huge hit; people go crazy for it.

Chia pudding is an especially great dessert for summer because it’s incredibly hydrating, due to the water absorbing power of chia. While sweetener adds a little extra, it’s not necessary at all because the texture is so interesting and the seeds are tasty on their own. Since chia does have a tendency to make you feel fuller, people often find themselves eating less, which can be a great weight loss tool. It also works well for breakfast.

So, aside from the subject of a catchy early 90s television commercial for an inanimate pet that you can watch grow – “cha cha cha chia” – what exactly is chia?

chia pudding
Chia seeds getting ready to soak

Chia is an edible seed that dates back as far as ancient Mayan and Aztec times. “Chia” translates to strength and is said to have been used as an energy food. Tiny as the seeds may be, they are nutritional powerhouses, chock full of protein, fiber, antioxidants and omega 3. One ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals and can be absorbed by the body as a whole seed, especially when soaked.  Conveniently, chia also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, slowing the absorption of sugar in the body.

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia
http://www.rawreform.com/content/view/345/127/

Sure all those health benefits are great, but what’s really special about Chia Seed Pudding is its versatility. Use your favorite non dairy milk, juice or even coconut water for a unique twist; top it with any of your favorite fruits; play around with extract flavors and spices. The possibilities go as far as your imagination.

Chia Seed Pudding with Blueberries
Makes one serving.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
splash of almond extract
dash of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/2 maple syrup, optional
2 Tablespoons blueberries

Directions

In a small bowl or jar combine the first four ingredients. Give it a good stir and refrigerate for at least one hour. After the first thirty minutes give the mixture a stir, so it doesn’t clump together. Once you’re ready to eat, stir in sweetener (if using, but I highly recommend trying it without!) and top with your favorite fruit or chopped nuts.

Chia Pudding with Blueberry
Chia Pudding with Blueberry

Forbidden Fried Rice

In honor of Father’s Day, this post goes out to my dad, the first person responsible for building within me a love of cooking.

Having grown up in the Chinatown district of New York City, my dad does not mess around when it comes to stir fry. He still uses the same wok that he’s probably owned since he was young; I know it is definitely older than I am.

Fried rice was one of the first dishes I ever learned to make. Instead of calling it Chinese Food, we affectionally called it “Stevie Food” in my house, seeing as none of us was actually of Chinese decent.

Over the years, I have continued to cook the fried rice my dad taught me, with a far inferior wok, I assure you. It is something that is constantly evolving and a dish that can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

making fried rice by Christine Oppenheim

Fried rice is one of the key dishes I teach clients to make because it touches upon so many important elements of cooking – how to make perfect rice; knife skills (so many veggies getting chopped!); getting creative with flavor profile and balance; method for evenly cooking vegetables.

It makes a great quick and easy weeknight meal, but flavors are still intense enough to impress guests for a weekend dinner party. For extra flare, I’ve more recently started using forbidden rice for its beautiful purple color and beneficial antioxidants.

Forbidden Fried Rice

¾ Cup forbidden rice

1 ¼ cups water.

Toast rice for a few minutes in a dry pan until it smells toasty. Be careful not to burn. Add water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Check rice after 20 minutes. You may need to add more water. Alternately use 2 cups of day old rice.

Veggies

Select a mix of your favorite veggies. Chop into equal sized pieces.  (Suggestions: snap pea, peas, carrot, asparagus, pepper, broccoli, mushroom.)

Seasoning

minced ginger, minced garlic, sesame oil, coconut aminos or tamari, rice vinegar

Use from one teaspoon to a couple tablespoons of garlic and ginger depending on your tastes. Season with aminos or tamari and vinegar to taste.

1. Heat sesame oil in a wok. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add ginger and garlic and continue to cook until fragrant. As you cook each vegetable, push aside the previous and add to center of wok. Add carrots, pepper and mushroom and cook until mushrooms start to brown.  Add remaining vegetables and seasoning, mix all veggies together, add rice, and cook through.

Forbidden Rice Fried Rice by Christine Oppenheim

vegan potato pancakes for St. Patrick's Day

Spinach Potato Pancakes

As far as I know, I am not even a little bit Irish. However, I did go to college in Boston (Emerson represent!), which is quite possibly the capital of Ireland. I’m making this assumption based on the number of college friends I have that are of Irish descent, and the number of Irish pubs per capita throughout the city. I do not have actual statistics on how many Irish pubs are in and around the city of Boston, but I’m barely exaggerating when I say that every other bar has a name that starts O’ something.

And the Purple Shamrock. We must not forget the Purple Shamrock, a dank, sticky floored restaurant and bar that was a Boston staple for over three decades until its closing in September 2012; a bar, most referenced in college stories as the place we unintentionally abandoned our spirited, innocent, doe eyed, blonde haired friend after two drunken Irish men got into a fist fight over who got to buy her a drink. (Said friend recently started an awesome and hilarious blog called Stuffed Dates chronicling stories of life, love, dating and recipes. Perhaps this store will make an appearance…)

But I digress.

Despite not being Irish, celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day has long been engrained into my personal culture. All things Ireland seem to follow me around. I remember having a crush on an Irish exchange student who was visiting one summer during high school, and subsequent crushes on every cute guy I encountered with an Irish accent.  When I moved in with Jacques (not Irish), it didn’t take long to discover that everyone working at the dive bar right next to our apartment all hailed originally from Ireland. Although they are all older women who have lived here for many years, they still hang on tightly to their accents. We love popping in there just to listen to them talk.

Since I will not be whipping out a green beer this time around (because, really, who knows what kind of nasty chemicals are in those things!), I wanted to celebrate in my own special way. Of course, that means I am celebrating through food. I decided to take a little bit less of a traditional approach, with potatoes, a traditional Irish staple.  With spinach on hand, I had a vision for spinach potato pancakes, mixing a bit of my Jewish roots with my Irish longings. Passover is around the corner, after all.

Spinach Potato Pancakes 

Makes 6 pancakes 3″ in diameter

2 medium potatoes, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Cups packed spinach, blanched, squeezed and chopped
1/4 Cup onion, finely diced
2 Tablespoons chives, minced (optional)
1 flax egg*
1/2 Cup brown rice flour
2 Tablespoons potato starch
1/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
few dashes black pepper

 

grated potato vegan potato pancakes

Squeeze excess water out of potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice to prevent oxidation.

 

chopped spinach

Add spinach, onion and chives, if using, and mix to combine.

 

egg alternative flax egg
Whisk together 1 tablespoon ground flax and 3 tablespoons water to create flax egg.

Add flax egg, flour and starch and stir to coat. Drizzle in almond milk and season with salt and pepper. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold everything together until well incorporated.

 

vegan potato pancakes

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a heavy skillet. Drop potato batter in 1/4 cup portions into the hot oil and flatten lightly with a spatula.

 

vegan potato spinach pancakes

Brown on the first side for about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and brown on the second side for another 2 to 3 minutes. They may need to be flipped again if they have not browned well enough.

 

vegan potato pancakes for St. Patrick's Day
Transfer to a plate and serve immediately with a dollop of vegan sour cream or hot sauce, if desired.

 

 

Spinach Potato Pancakes
Author: 
Cuisine: Irish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 3" patties
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium potatoes, grated (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Cups packed spinach, blanched, squeezed and chopped
  • ¼ Cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 Tablespoons chives, minced (optional)
  • 1 flax egg*
  • ½ Cup brown rice flour
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch
  • ¼ Cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • few dashes black pepper
Instructions
  1. Squeeze excess water out of potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice to prevent oxidation. Add spinach, onion and chives, if using, and mix to combine.
  2. Add flax egg, flour and starch and stir to coat. Drizzle in almond milk and season with salt and pepper. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold everything together until well incorporated.
  3. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a heavy skillet. Drop potato batter in ¼ cup portions into the hot oil and flatten lightly with a spatula. Brown on the first side for about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and brown on the second side for another 2 to 3 minutes. They may need to be flipped again if they have not browned well enough.
  4. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately with a dollop of vegan sour cream or hot sauce, if desired.

 

 

Fresh and Fruity Qunioa Porridge

Vegan MoFo theme: Healthy Vegan Brunch (and Breakfast) from A to Z. 


My posts so far have been a little on the denser side and heavier on the baking – which, trust me, has not been the best timing since temperatures have been reaching close to 90 in Santa Monica this past week! And did I mention I live on the second floor of a very sunny apartment with no air conditioning? Yowzers!!

For letter F, I thought I’d take a bit of a lighter, fresher approach with a quinoa porridge. Berries have been abundant, (and on sale!) so I decided I’d load up on the berries for you. Of course, this simple dish can be made with any fresh fruit you have on hand. Have fun with changing the fruit up for the seasons. Each season will bring new health benefits to start your day. 


Berries offer loads of antioxidants you need for glowing skin, slowed aging, fighting off cancer and other disease, and so much more! I wrote a little more in depth about the magical healing power of berries in a guest post I did back in May for Christy Morgan’s blog The Blissful Chef, if you’re interested in learning more.

Quinoa porridge is a great way to start your day as it is protein packed and nutrient dense, and naturally gluten and soy free. There is no added sugar; the sweetness is derived from the dates and fresh berries. It’s also a great way to use up leftover quinoa.  


If you don’t have any precooked quinoa, prepare 1/4 cup dried quinoa to yield one cup cooked. Quinoa  is prepared with a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa, then simmered with a cover for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. 
Fresh and Fruity Quinoa Porridge 
Ingredients 
1 cup cooked quinoa, rainbow is really pretty 

1/2 cup unsweetened rice or almond milk (or more for extra creaminess) 
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped

1/4 cup almonds, chopped 

1/4 cup each of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, or as much as you’d like! 

Directions 
1. Combine all ingredients except the almond and berries in a medium sauce pan. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, until heated through.  

2. Remove from heat and stir in berries. Transfer quinoa to individual bowls, garnish with additional fresh fruit. 


**Alternately, combine everything in a bowl and enjoy cold. 


Makes 2 hearty servings.