Category Archives: Vegan or Would-Be-Just-As-Good-Vegan

Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara)

Of all the tasty little meze dishes that have passed through my kitchen in recent weeks—and oh, there have been many—this muhammara is certainly our favorite.  It’s a thick, rich, flavorful paste of roasted red peppers and walnuts, spicy with harissa and just a touch exotic with the sweet-tart, unplaceable flavor of pomegranate molasses.  Watch around the table: the first bite prompts a moment’s confusion, a second take, another bite, a smile.  “What IS this?”  It’s muhammara.

Muhammara Continue reading

Whole Wheat Pasta with Greens, Caramelized Onions, and Creamy Walnut Sauce

There’s a new category of food in our house these days that I like to call “decadent vegan.”  Regular vegan food, as everyone knows, is steamed quinoa with shredded carrots and a squeeze of lemon, but decadent vegan food is different.  It’s this creamy, hearty pasta, and my first experiment with deep-frying and that addictive roasted squash salad that we’re still making every chance we get.  In truth, a lot of recipes on this site fall into the decadent vegan category, but for some reason I hadn’t thought of them that way before.  This year, I’m making a conscious effort to cook more vegan meals.  Decadent, delicious vegan meals.

What are your favorite recipes or ideas that fall into the decadent vegan category?  Please share!

Pasta with Greens, Caramelized Onions, and Creamy Walnut SauceIf you keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, as I’ve been doing lately, this recipe can be prepared in the time your pasta takes to cook.  And if you don’t keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, I encourage you to start. Continue reading

Spiced Lentils and Rice with Fried Onions (Mejadra)

I recognize that early January is a time of year traditionally reserved for repentance and asceticism, but I’ve never been much good at either of those.  After many years of making my never-changing Annual New Year’s Resolution (yeah, I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours), this year I didn’t make one at all.

So while better women are perfecting their green smoothie technique or annoying the regulars at the gym, I’ve been getting over my fear of deep frying.Lentils and Rice with Fried OnionsAnd I’m so glad I did.  This dish is spectacular for a few reasons.  The flavors are deep and rich and sweet, beautifully spiced but not at all spicy.  You probably already have all the ingredients in your cupboard, but I bet it won’t cost you $2 if you have to restock anything for this recipe.  And the leftovers just get better and better as the days go by. Continue reading

Roasted Squash Salad with Tahini and Za’atar

Some days more than others, cooking is a dance.

“I’ll be there in a minute, honey!”  I crank the oven, scrub a butternut squash, lean in toward the counter, hack the peel away.  (Some people eat it, do you?)  Losing patience, my big girl comes over to talk subtraction, negative numbers, first grade math, the number line.  The squash falls away from my knife in isosceles wedges.  I show one to the girls.

“Do you want your squash in big pieces like this or little squares like squash candy?”  You can guess the answer.  I dice the last third of the squash, sling the pan into the oven, sweep the peels and seeds into the freezer for making broth, correct math homework, give in to the baby’s demand for a cracker.

Back to the recipe.  I scoop tahini and squeeze lemon, press garlic, whisk, text with an old friend about soup, recite the memorized words from a favorite children’s book that we can’t find today.  And then, in a moment of calm, I give my full attention to the stove, stirring, for the three minutes it takes to toast pine nuts.  Success.  They don’t burn.

Sweet roasted squash and red onions, a generous drizzle of tahini dressing, those salty toasted pine nuts, a shower of za’atar.  I taste a piece of squash, then stop doing everything else.  J wanders in at that moment and I hand him the plate and two forks.  We sit down in the middle of the chaos and eat every bite.   Roasted Sqush and Onions with Tahini and Za'atar Continue reading

Cabbage Soup with Sauerkraut, White Beans, and Tiny Rye Croutons

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present the next contender in my happy lineup of drab-looking-but-crazy-tasty soupsCabbage Soup with Sauerkraut and White BeansOh, what’s that you say?  The soup doesn’t look half bad with those perky green bits on there?  Well, those are little kale specks that I sprinkled on for the photo because I had no dill or parsley in my fridge.  For you, friends, a splash of color, since I have a feeling that all-brown soups, even if deserving, are not adequately appreciated by the food-blog-reading public.  (Oh, I crack myself up.  It’s hard to take my perceived obligations as a food blogger seriously sometimes.  Most times.  I mean, I can’t even get into Pinterest.)  And those little green specks just scream, “this soup is deserving!”…don’t they?  (Do they?)

In any case, the point is, I loved this soup.  I think you will too.  Continue reading

Miso-Roasted Squash Salad with Tofu and Crispy Kale

The only thing I like better than a one-pot meal is a one-pan meal, where instead of continual fussing over the stove you can just toss your pan in the oven and then go about your business (mostly) until dinner is served.  This, as you may have guessed, is such a meal.Roasted Squash Salad with Tofu and Crispy Kale Continue reading

Kimchi Fried Rice

I have to tell you, friends, I’m feeling a little pressure here. Like I need to choose my words carefully to convey to you how good this dish is. (How’s this? So good.) Most of the time I feel like I’m preaching to the choir when I write here–I mean, who among us doesn’t love baked chard stems and butternut squash tacos and raw Brussels sprout salads? But here, with this dish, maybe we’re going out on a limb a little bit together. It’s fermented. It’s a little spicy. And I used white rice.

Be fearless. This is the kind of food that makes your mouth tingle with happiness (maybe it’s all the salt, but still). The texture is crunch and chew, the flavors are savory and bright. If you’re not already mad for kimchi, you will be soon.

Kimchi Fried Rice

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Curry Roasted Chickpeas

I’m in a rush, which sometimes seems a permanent state of affairs in December. Luckily this crispy little snack—whether for myself or to share—will be quick.Curry Roasted Chickpeas Continue reading

Green Salad with Roasted Winter Squash and Apple

It’s high time for a salad around here.

I came home from our trip to a fridge full of winter squash, and I’ve been roasting my way through it ever since. One batch I quite liked was a sugar pie pumpkin drizzled with olive oil, maple syrup, and ancho chile powder, roasted in wedges until caramelized and sticky.The leftovers went into a green salad the next day–really, any roasted winter squash chunks would have been good–with thin slices of sweet, crisp apple and red onion. A grainy mustard vinaigrette with honey fit the sweet-savory-sweet-savory pattern nicely. Hello, lunch for a sunny autumn day.

Green Salad with Roasted Winter Squash and Apple: Nestle a pile of roasted squash chunks into a bed greens. Scatter thin slices of apple and red onion around the squash. (A little sharp cheddar cheese wouldn’t be bad, either.) Dress with a honey-mustard vinaigrette (I like equal parts olive oil, white vinegar, grainy mustard, and honey).

Pasta with Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Pine Nuts

The other day I was chatting with a neighbor and I discovered that we have a few things in common.  We’re both enthusiastic home cooks, we both have lots of kids, and we share the conviction that parents who claim that their kids eat everything are lying.  Right?  Right?

Tonight my four year old actually claimed to be scared of the few Brussels sprouts threads that made their way into her dish.  “I’m scared of this one!” she exclaimed dramatically, fishing out a microscopic green strand.  “And this one!” Continue reading