The Recipe Blog

Dead Simple Red Bean, Collard, and Hominy Soup over Rice

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Brothy, nutty, warming, satisfying soup without touching a knife? Check. This dish a symphony of textures: tender greens, creamy kidney beans, and plenty of chew from hominy and rice. It all rests in an unassertive medium-bodied broth made savory and decidedly nutty from peanut butter and red miso, two potent ingredients added here in small quantities.

Serving this over brown rice will echo and deepen the nutty flavor, but feel free to use another variety to play with the dish's perfume.

Dead Simple Red Bean, Collard, and Hominy Soup over Rice

Print the recipe

serves 4-6

5 cups water

2 no-salt-added vegetable bouillon cubes

8 oz frozen chopped collards

freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1 15-oz can kidney beans

1 15-oz can white hominy

1 TBSP smooth peanut butter (look for a brand that contains nothing but peanuts)

2 tsp red miso

1 TBSP rice vinegar

cooked brown rice, to serve

Begin cooking rice according to package directions.

To make the soup, in a medium pot, bring water to boil with bouillon cubes, stirring to dissolve. Add greens and black pepper. Bring back to a boil. Cook, uncovered, at a high simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse beans and hominy in a sieve. Set aside to let drain while the collards are cooking. After the first 10 minutes, add beans and hominy, and simmer, uncovered, another 10 minutes.

Add peanut butter and miso to a small bowl. Ladle out half a ladle of broth (1/4 cup), add to peanut butter and miso, and whisk until smooth. Remove pot from heat, stir in the slurry, then stir in vinegar. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Serve hot over rice.

Roasted Black Bean-Portobello Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

One dressing, one pot, one pan, and you get one lovely little dinner salad. Light but satisfying—a nourishing blend of crisp and fresh ingredients combined with the comfort of warm, roasted bits—this simple green salad is first a feast for the eyes and begs to be served alongside a slice of crusty bread (topped with hummus or pesto, if you happen to have some on hand).

Once you've grated your ginger, you'll whisk it into a dressing, using half to roast a gorgeously meaty mix of sliced mushrooms and cooked black beans. Meanwhile, quickly steam broccoli and red pepper to bring out their natural sweetness and to bring the broccoli to a seriously vibrant green. Toss, top, and dig in.

And since dinner only took about half an hour, you have plenty of time for an after-dinner stroll in the stunning mid-March weather (once it rolls back around, that is).

Roasted Black Bean-Portobello Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

Print the recipe

serves 2

2-inch knob fresh ginger

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP rice vinegar

1/4 tsp natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp reduced-sodium tamari

6 oz thickly sliced (about 3/4-inch thick) portobello mushrooms

1 15-oz can black beans

1 small broccoli crown, torn into small bite-size florets

1 small red pepper, trimmed and sliced

2.5 oz (one good handful) spring mix or tender salad greens of choice

additional salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 425.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse beans and set aside in a sieve to let drain well. Use a microplane zester to grate 1 TBSP of ginger, and add to a small bowl. Add oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic powder. Whisk. Pour half of dressing into another small bowl, setting the other half aside, and whisk in tamari.

Add mushrooms and black beans to a pan. Pour tamari-spiked half of dressing over and bake 25-30 minutes, tossing well after the first 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add broccoli florets to a steamer basket. Top with red pepper slices. Steam just until broccoli turns bright green, 3-4 minutes. Shock in cold water and set aside to drain.

Add half of the remaining dressing to salad greens. Toss well. Top greens with steamed veg and drizzle with remaining dressing. Portion greens onto serving dishes and top each with mushroom-bean mixture. Top with a pinch of additional salt, if desired, and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.

Blueberry-Lemongrass Almond Pate

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

First, credit where credit is due. Years ago, Vegetarian Times published this recipe, and Maple Spice posted a wildly convenient update taking advantage of store-bought almond meal to save us all from blanching and peeling and ensuring those of us without high-speed blenders could join the creamy fun.

If you aren't familiar with the basic recipe there, it's highly recommended. It's a big, dumb, entirely unsophisticated, totally genius dish—food designed to head straight for your pleasure center with no thoughtful tasting required. It's a household favorite, a vegan classic, and makes even the otherwise dullest vegetable sandwich seriously satisfying.

But today, a pretty little plate that puts that dead-simple recipe to work in a gently sweet direction with luscious results. Blueberries are first briefly cooked to tease out vibrancy.

Meanwhile, a little sugar, lemon, and lemongrass are added to almond meal to sandwich the blueberries. The lemongrass used here is dried—a gift from a friend—but don't let that stop you from making this if you can't locate it. It will be entirely lovely without, or sprinkle a touch of lemon zest in if you prefer to add a touch of something in its stead. All it takes is a quick blend, chill to firm it up, bake it off, and prepare to be fed and happy. And you should definitely feed this to anyone and everyone you care about.

It's lovely alone on a plate with crackers, fresh fruit, and a more salty/garlicky offering like hummus or baba ghanouj. No one could fault you for spreading it on a waffle. (And it would be shocking to find out this didn't work gorgeously on a grilled sandwich with tempeh bacon.) It's a winner any way you spread it.

Blueberry-Lemongrass Almond Pate

Print the recipe

serves 4-8, adapted from Vegetarian Times via Maple Spice

1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

3 TBSP lemon juice, divided

3 TBSP natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice), divided

75 grams blanched almond meal [see Note]

1/4 cup water

1 TBSP vegetable oil, such as canola or sunflower

1 tsp dried lemongrass (optional)

generous pinch fine sea or kosher salt

Combine blueberries, 1 TBSP lemon juice, and 1 TBSP sugar in a small pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until berries break down (the mixture will still be chunky) and are thickly glazed, 5-7 minutes.

Blend all other ingredients, including remaining lemon juice and sugar, with an immersion blender until very smooth.

Line an 8-oz ramekin with a double layer of cheesecloth. (A closed nut milk bag may also be lain into the ramekin, but the softer cheesecloth will give you a neater mold.) Spoon half the almond mixture into the ramekin, spreading and smoothing the mixture into the mold with the back of your spoon. Spoon the berries on top, leaving a small border, then finish with the almond mixture. Smooth the top, and chill at least 3 hours, or as long as overnight.

Heat oven to 350, and oil a cookie sheet. Use the ends of the cheesecloth to lift the pate out of the ramekin, remove the cheesecloth, and transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. (Alternately, if your pate seems a bit soft—the longer the chilling time, the less likely this will be—simply invert it onto the baking sheet and then peel the cheesecloth from the bottom.) Bake in the center of the oven until just golden, 35-40 minutes. Let cool before serving.

[Note: This works out to approximately 3/4 cup, plus 2 TBSP. Weighing is strongly recommended, as the final consistency (read: creaminess) will be affected with too much or too little almond meal. Weighing the meal will provide more consistent results.]

(Double Brandied) Breakfast Fig-Walnut Cinnamon Rolls

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Let's be clear: don't make these for dessert. They're something like the British scone of cinnamon rolls, low-key and firmly in the breakfast arena of sweetness. But you can bump up the sugar factor by drizzling on some extra glaze, which is thin and spiked with a touch of brandy.

What you get with these instead of a syrupy filling is a thicker, deeply aromatic and satisfying blend of black figs, buttery walnuts, a hit of brandy, and, naturally, cinnamon. Your biggest challenge while making these will be resisting the filling long enough to spread it on dough.

Speaking of the dough, it's the very definition of cooperative. And streamlined, to boot. With only five dough ingredients, and this much aromatherapy, your late-winter breakfasts are covered. Make a batch on the weekend (or whenever you have time to let dough rise), and pop the leftovers in the freezer to grab on any given morning. Feel pampered all week long.

(Double Brandied) Breakfast Fig-Walnut Cinnamon Rolls

Print the recipe

yields 8 rolls

For the dough:

1 1/3 cups full-fat canned coconut milk, at room temperature

2 TBSP natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

1 TBSP active dry yeast

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

For the Brandied Fig-Walnut Paste:

1 cup dried black Mission figs, stems removed

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup raw, unsalted walnuts

1 TBSP brandy

1 TBSP turbinado (or brown) sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 TBSP full-fat canned coconut milk

1 tsp brandy

Begin by preparing the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine milk, sugar, and yeast. Proof 10 minutes. Add salt and flour (flour should be measure by spooning flour into measuring cup, then leveling). Mix with paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough comes together that can be kneaded. Switch to dough hook and knead until smooth and springy, 3-5 minutes.

Lightly oil a mixing bowl, add dough, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let double in size (this could take anywhere from 45-90 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen).

While the dough rises, prepare the fig-walnut paste by simmering figs in water, covered, for 10 minutes. Grind walnuts to a fine meal in a coffee grinder. Combine figs with any remaining liquid, walnut meal, brandy, sugar, and cinnamon in a quart jar and puree with an immersion blender. Set aside.

When the dough is ready, punch down and transfer to a floured surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Oil a cookie sheet. Roll dough into a 12"x12" square. Heat the fig paste in the microwave for 1 minute to soften (it firms up as it sits), and working quickly, spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough with the back of a spoon. Roll up, pinch closed, and cut into 8 even slices. Transfer to prepared cookie sheet, cover again with the kitchen towel, and let rise until puffed and roughly doubled, 30-45 minutes (or longer, if needed).

Heat oven to 375. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped. Meanwhile, whisk together glaze ingredients. Let cool 5-10 minutes and serve with glaze.

Roasted Carrot Quesadilla with Spiced Pinto-Sweet Potato Puree

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Today is a total root veggie delight. Start with carrots quickly roasted with coriander, then puree a chunk of nutrient-rich sweet potato with irresistibly meaty pinto beans and three kinds of chiles (of the dried and ground variety, for maximum convenience).

Top all that with a little onion and cilantro, throw a deeply comforting grilled flour tortilla in the mix, and you have a tasty, easy, totally sunny weeknight dinner. Or weekend breakfast.

Roasted Carrot Quesadilla with Spiced Pinto-Sweet Potato Puree

Print the recipe

serves 4

1 lb carrots, peeled, trimmed, cut into thirds lengthwise (halved, if small), and cut into 4-inch strips

1 TBSP olive oil

1/4 tsp ground coriander

generous pinch fine sea or kosher salt

8 oz sweet potato (1 small or half of a large), cut into 1-inch dice

2 15-oz can pinto beans, drained well, but not rinsed

1 TBSP lime juice

1 tsp mild chile powder, such as ancho

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

4 10-inch flour tortillas

thinly sliced red onion

chopped cilantro

Heat oven to 400.

Toss the carrots with oil, pinch salt, and coriander. Roast until tender but not soft, about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Add sweet potato dice to a medium pot and cover with water by a couple of inches. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook, covered, until tender, 15 minutes. (Reduce heat further if needed to keep the pot from boiling over.)

Meanwhile, add beans, lime, chile powders, and 1/2 tsp salt to a food processor. When the potatoes are done, drain and add them to the food processor. Process until thoroughly combined and fairly smooth, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. The mixture will remain rather thick.

Heat a closing countertop electric grill (alternately, bake in the oven or toast on a griddle). Spread about 3/4 cup of the bean mixture over a tortilla, leaving a 1-1 1/2-inch border (to avoid seepage). Add roasted carrot strips to half, and top the carrots with onion and cilantro, to taste. Fold tortilla in half and grill, press closed (press only gently on the grill cover when closing, and do not apply further weight) and cook until crisped and browned, 5-7 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before eating, as the filling will be very hot.

Grilled Vegan Cobb Salad Sandwich

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Bring your appetite. Taking advantage of the lightness of vegetables on a sandwich can be thoroughly tasty, but this many-layered gem is seriously satisfying, fit for any deli menu. Fun for lunch or dinner. And don't rule it out for breakfast, either. If your coconut is prepared in advance, this beautiful and flavor-packed sandwich comes together in minutes.

There's a thin slab of simple grilled tempeh to add substance, but satiety here is really loaded in from three other sources: mashed avocado, smoky coconut strips, and a quick spread made from store-bought almond meal (with a little kelp added to bring an undertone of funk). The coconut strips here were made from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's new edition of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, a copy of which you can still enter to win right over here. Add to all that layers of refreshing tomatoes, romaine, and chives, and heaven comes on sourdough.

Grilled Vegan Cobb Salad Sandwich

Print the recipe

serves 2 generously

4 oz tempeh (from an 8-oz block, halved crosswise)

1-2 tsp olive oil

4 slices sourdough from a roughly six-inch boule

Almond-Kelp Spread, recipe follows

flesh of 1 small avocado

generous 1 TBSP minced chives

pinch fine sea, kosher, or flaked salt

freshly cracked black pepper

4 romaine leaves, washed and dried

about 1/2 cup coconut bacon, or to taste

1 medium roma tomato, sliced crosswise into 8 rounds

Heat a countertop electric grill. Turn tempeh on its side and carefully slice in half to make two thin slabs. Brush each top with a little oil and grill five minutes, grill closed, until golden. (Leave grill plugged in.)

Meanwhile, spread about 2 tsp of almond-kelp spread on two slices of bread. Set aside. Roughly mash avocado in a small bowl and spread on the remaining slices of bread. Sprinkle chives over avocado and top with a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.

Chop romaine into shreds and place atop avocado and chives. When the tempeh is ready, place it on top, followed by coconut bacon, then tomato slices. Sandwich, grill—pressing gently on the lid to compress—and serve.

Almond-Kelp Spread

1/2 cup almond meal

1/4 cup plain soy milk

3/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1 TBSP rice vinegar

1/4 tsp kelp granules

Whisk together all ingredients until creamy and thoroughly combined.

Hitting the Books No. 3: A Giveaway: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

MSV's first giveaway! If you're not already familiar with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, this book is a fine introduction. Creator of the extensive Food for Thought podcast, Colleen has been advocating for years and has the body of work to prove it (The Joy of Vegan Baking alone is arguably the most powerful piece of advocacy ever created).

But today's Hitting the Books installment is specifically about this new edition of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, a valuable resource for anyone looking for guidance in practicing veganism(*). Because it is a practice, and it's vital to talk about it as such to set practitioners up for long-term success. Colleen's approach is emotionally earnest and detail-oriented, and it's tough to come up with too many basic topics she doesn't cover here. There are 30 chapters, for easy digestion at a suggested rate of one per day, each devoted to a specific challenge that arises in changing your diet, like Day 9: Eating Out and Speaking Up; Day 12: The Power of Cravings: Fat and Salt Taste Good; Day 17: Demistifying Tofu: It's Just a Bean!; and Day 29: Keeping It In Perspective: Intention, Not Perfection.

It's also physically substantial, something you'll be happy to hold in your hands, show friends, and keep on your shelf.

And it's pretty gorgeous to look at.

This is a food blog, so recipes will be the emphasis in this post, but this is really a book for reference, bursting with practical information. There's time devoted to not only personal satisfaction, animal exploitation, and social interaction, but also lots of attention to nutrition, giving ample room for people who are interested in eating vegan for health reasons to come on board, featuring details about micronutrient and macronutrient concerns.

On occasion, Colleen's brand—though she's far from alone in her approach—of nutrition advice calls to mind the scene from Arrested Development in which Tobias (David Cross), faking confidence and attempting to save face after trying and failing to open a jar of mayonnaise his wife Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) can't open, drops the jar into the trash and tells her as he saunters out of the room, "You don't need the calories." Sometimes omnivores could be forgiven for thinking vegans are dodging the issue when they ask about missing the pleasures of fatty, salty food and are given a response that involves the dangers of saturated fat.

But that's not to say that Colleen doesn't emphasize choice and moderation, welcome treats, and talk about fat's importance in satiety. She does. Again, see chapter 12. In fact, today's two recipe highlights from the book are proposed answers to common none-too-healthful omnivore hurdles: bacon and cheese. Colleen's suggestion to let go of specific foods and look instead to the seasonings (and textures) that define them to fulfill our cravings is a powerful one—and one that can empower people to cook their own food, to boot. As she says, we season our food with plants. And how.

First up, bruschetta, featuring Herbed Cashew Cheese. The recipe calls for strawberries, and the called-for herb in the cashew spread is basil (with an option to add chocolate shavings to take this beauty deep into dessert territory). Since strawberry season is far away, featured here are apples atop the cashew spread made with chives.

The book calls for making the spread with a food processor, which will leave you with some texture. The styled version in the book really looks to have been made with a high-speed blender, appearing impossibly creamy. Even with soaking and processing for the longest recommended time (four minutes), you can see there's still a touch of grain remaining.

But another of Colleen's powerful, smart messages suggests getting condiments off the spoon and into dishes, where they belong. And happily, the cashew spread atop toasted baguette slices, finished with crisp and juicy apple bits was entirely lovely. Not a single reservation about texture remained. Additionally, the distinctive flavor of cashews, already toned down by the herbs and other seasoning, mellows further in this context. The end result is pretty dreamy. So much so, this spread and apple slices were served in grilled sandwich form (alongside the bean variation of MSV's Dead Simple Winter Tomato Soup) to feed a friend who came over for dinner. Compliments were made, questions were asked. A decided success.


Next up, Coconut Bacon (which Colleen has generously shared on Instagram). So much fun. With the convenience of store-bought dried coconut flakes, it's tough to think of any way to add comforting, savory flavor to a recipe with less effort. One batch makes a ton.

For those of you cool with coconut, the mildly sweet flavor goes well in pretty much all the places you want fat, smoke, and salt. Case in point: these easy, totally fun little BLT tacos, topped with a quick homemade chipotle mayo. Highly recommended.

For a book that isn't a cookbook, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge still sprinkles a hefty stack of recipes throughout. There's salad, soup, a gorgeous Mexican Chocolate Cake recipe, and a huge list of breakfast ideas (the first few chapters will likely make you crave a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she mentions them so frequently) that accompany the reasons practicing veganism is a good idea, and the ways you might increase your comfort practicing it.

To win a copy of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, simply leave a comment below telling MSV readers about one thing that made eating more plants easier for you. It can be a dish, a cooking method, an ingredient, or a piece of information unrelated to cooking. Whatever it is, share your wisdom. If you don't have a specific revelation, just share your favorite plant food. The contest ends February 28 and is limited to U.S. shipping addresses. Winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck! Next week, you'll get a brand new recipe featuring Colleen's Coconut Bacon (so make a batch before next Thursday). See you then.

(*This post is not sponsored. The giveaway copy was obtained as a reward for my personal contribution to the Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to issue this new edition of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge.   —Amanda)

Blueberry-Maple Polenta Snack Cake

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

First, this is a streamlined, flavor-profile tweaked, and wheat-based version of this, so thanks to her. Second, this one isn't cheap, because it calls for a heap of totally gorgeous grade B maple syrup.

If it helps, know that splurging on this cake gets you a two-fer. Not only does it make a totally satisfying breakfast, snack, or moderately sweet dessert, it's also a fantastic dose of aromatherapy. Crunchy, toasted polenta along with fragrant maple syrup and a hint of nutmeg demand that you cut a slice, bring it to your nose, and breathe deep. Once you finish savoring the scent—take your time—feel free to take a bite into all those lovely blueberries.

Blueberry-Maple Polenta Snack Cake

Print the recipe

adapted from here

1/3 cup canola oil

1/2 cup grade B maple syrup

1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/2 cup polenta (coarsely ground corn meal)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup frozen blueberries

Heat oven to 350. Oil and flour a (app. 9"x5") loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together polenta, flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, syrup, and apple sauce.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until almost combined (a few pockets of flour remaining). Add blueberries and fold until just incorporated. The batter will be quite thick.

Spoon batter into loaf pan and smooth top. Bake 45-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the edges are beginning to turn golden. Remove pan from oven and cool on wire rack before unmolding.

Apricot-Pecan Spread

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Ready the bagels. And hurry.

A first look at the rather gray-hued spread will not prepare you for the entirely sunny burst your tongue is about to discover in this cool, creamy condiment. There's not a thing in your kitchen you aren't gonna want to spread this on.

Apricots are surely the dominant flavor, but the finished product is greater than the sum of its parts. Ground pecans give the spread heft and depth to balance the fruit's sugar. Meanwhile, a little silken tofu smooths it out and lightens it up to keep it fluffy and creamy rather than nut-butter dense. Grapefruit zest adds a floral element. All around, a handy addition to your baked goods routine.

Apricot-Pecan Spread

Print the recipe

1/2 cup dried apricots

1 cup unsweetened apple juice (look for a brand that contains nothing but pressed apples)

6 oz silken tofu (half of an aseptic box)

1/2 cup unsalted pecan halves

1 tsp grapefruit zest

Bring apricots and apple juice to a boil in a small covered pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer steadily, covered, for 15 minutes, until apricots are very tender.

Meanwhile, add tofu to a wide-mouth quart jar. Grind pecans to a fine meal in a coffee grinder and add to jar along with grapefruit zest.

When the apricots are ready, let cool a few minutes before carefully adding the contents of the pot to the jar. Blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Bud (?-2015)

My friend is dead.

That's my favorite picture of Bud, mostly because he was lying on my belly (and thighs, and knees—not a small dude, and he liked to stretch out more than curl up). But also because, being a close shot, it captures fairly well what living with Bud was like. Trusting and affectionate, he demanded to be right up in—on, more like—your face as far as he could manage. Our experience of his crazy-plush fur was abundant and exhaustive.

Bud was my kitchen buddy since long before MSV ever got fired up. He was an enthusiastic and relatively adventurous eater. He'd lick anything once. Plus, until just this fall, I had a pub table with two chairs set up in the kitchen. Because face-to-face interaction was so important to him, he adored the pub chair's ability to situate him near human eye-level and spent countless hours in that chair. Eventually arthritis kept him from leaping up and down from that height, but he continued to laze about the kitchen, where his comforting food bowl was, and where lots of light shines in not only from large uncovered windows, but also from a nearby skylight. And where he could ask for bits of whatever I was cooking.

As proof, he showed up on MSV a couple of times. You can see his butt here:

And a tiny bit of his big paws way back here:

But this is a good snap of him at rest (he had an expressive face, so it's tough to reflect him in just one picture):

That's Big'n on the right. (Little'n on the left, in reality a medium-size cat, is his roommate Herman—they mostly ignored each other but occasionally hit each other.)

Big'n is only one of many names he was called. (He was big and solid, like a linebacker, without much of a visible neck.) Bud suited him thoroughly. In fact, it was initially a generic nickname our friend gives to all animals who wander onto her property looking for help, as Bud did. But the name wouldn't let go. My boyfriend later declared it a diminutive of Budford Manassas. Nicknames followed: Budfordino, Buffordino, Buffer, Geometry Face (his eyes could get so incredibly round), Gigantor, and Muppet. Mostly, due to some quirks of personality and physique, he was called Dogbear. Which is exactly what it sounds like. Eventually, we had to admit Bud was every animal, beyond human classification (some resemblances were stronger than others, including not only the dog and bear combination, but also wolverine, owl, turtle, and John Wayne).

Bud walked straight through the center of a crowded room at parties. He was an enormously chill dude, a fantastically effective physical communicator, and the only thing in this world I've encountered that had even a little power to soothe what Kingsley Amis called the Metaphysical Hangover, to which I'm particularly susceptible. It was impossible not to imagine he was a bodhisattva. And imagine it we did. (Also, a stoner. Another reason his name seemed so apposite.)

crazy whiskers.jpg

There's no shortage of stories about people coming to veganism through companion animals, but that isn't my story. I never really had companion animals growing up, so moving in the with two guys my partner already lived with—he took Bud in only a few months before we began dating—was a new experience for me. It wasn't until after becoming vegan that I started to pay real attention to my daily interaction with them (which is substantial, since we live downtown where our companion cats are necessarily strictly indoor guys). In return, I got seriously rewarded by getting to know them better. All our lives got richer. And Bud, never as vocally demanding as Herman, especially went a long way to making me more sensitive and attentive. He dramatically reinforced the decision I had made to refuse the notion that individual animals should be treated like widgets. He was such a good dude. We miss him. A kind of shocking amount.

I've never skipped a week on MSV, and I don't want to start now, but the kitchen has been a heartbreak to walk into with Bud's absence looming so large. I have a couple recipes in the queue, so hopefully you all won't experience any further hiccups. Thanks for bearing with me. These last months have been fucking heavy, and self-inflicted obligations feel pretty overwhelming right now. I expect the rawness will soon pass, and food can again be invigorating instead of the annoyance it is right now.

So, to take care of this week, there are plenty of MSV dishes to make in my pal's honor. Bud was interested in all the food I prepared, and in hanging out directly behind me while I prepared it, but he loved beans. Demanded beans. All kinds, but chickpeas in particular. So this week, a chickpea roundup for Buffordino. And apparently that guy was no dummy, because this is a strong list:

Cilantro-Lime Chickpea and Potato Sandwich with Avocado

Apple Juice-Braised Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Turmeric

Lemon-Pepper Chickpea-Artichoke Salad Sandwich

Dead Simple Jumbo Blueberry Buckwheat Pancake (*)

Chickpeas and Kalamata Olives in a Spiced Tomato Sauce

Dead Simple Winter Tomato Soup (use the chickpea variation**)

Anytime Saucy Chiles Rellenos (***)

Ancho Chickpea-Tempeh Tamales (or Tacos)

Creamy, Sweet, & Savory Chickpea-Salsa Salad

(*Since chickpea flour is a main ingredient, I'm including it. Plus, it's easy to make and comforting, things that are rating high on MSV right now.)

(**When I developed this recipe, I blogged the potato version because of its silkier texture, but when I make it for weeknight dinners, which I frequently do, I almost always use a can of white beans or chickpeas in place of the potatoes. If you make the potato version, serve it with a grilled hummus sandwich to get your chickpeas in.)

(***Kind of a cheat. But uses chickpea flour and other beans, and Bud totally ate that filling. Goofball.)


Enjoy. Hug any companion animals you take care of and who take care of you. And anyone else you love.   —Amanda

Tempeh-Polenta Cakes

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Along with a well-stocked spice rack, keep a package of tempeh and a tube of polenta in your fridge, and impromptu weekend brunch is always at your fingertips.

Fragrant with plenty of dried herbs, nutty from the tempeh, and a little spicy from crushed red pepper flakes, these guys are seriously flavorful. And if there are no fennel haters in your house, feel free to throw a little crushed fennel seed in there to put them over the top.

Because they have so much going on, the cakes pair particularly well with mild accompaniments, like toast, and with fresh, light items like a simple salad of orange segments drizzled with a light, fruity dressing.

tempeh-polenta cake detail.jpg

Tempeh-Polenta Cakes

Print the recipe

serves 4

8 oz tempeh

9 oz prepared polenta (half of a store-bought tube)

2 TBSP reduced-sodium tamari

1/2 tsp dried sage

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

1/4 cup masa harina

water, as needed

Steam tempeh 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cube polenta and use a potato masher to mash polenta with all other ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined (there will be a few visible chunks of polenta remaining).

When the tempeh is done steaming, and as soon as it's cool enough to handle, cube into 1-inch dice. Add tempeh to mixing bowl and mash again until mixture holds together when pressed by hand, adding water by the tablespoon, as needed, to help cohere. (You shouldn't need more than a tablespoon or two.)

Heat a griddle over medium heat. Form eight patties and cook 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Let cool five minutes before serving.

Cilantro-Lime Chickpea and Potato Sandwich with Avocado

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Visibly but loosely inspired by the beloved Mexican torta, this packed sandwich draws one common ingredient from that tradition found less commonly on sandwich menus in the States: potato. Here, frozen hash browns are cooked with chopped chickpeas and tossed in a dressing flavored with cilantro, lime, and jalapeno. Avocado adds necessary and totally dreamy richness while toasted ciabatta gives it all a warm hug.

Filling without feeling heavy, it's a big, fun sandwich, and a little messy. Get a good hold as you would for a Sloppy Joe, and you should come out just fine. Serve with something pickled, and you're ahead of the game. If you're absolutely squeamish about losing filling, tuck this one into pita bread.

Sandwiches are always great for lunch, of course, but note that this one makes a particularly satisfying breakfast sandwich, too.

Cilantro-Lime Chickpea and Potato Sandwich with Avocado

Print the recipe

serves 4

1 lb frozen hash browns (look for a brand that contains nothing but potatoes)

1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup tightly packed cilantro (discard any large stems)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 TBSP lime juice (from about 1 lime)

2 medium jalapeno peppers, stemmed and seeded

1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1 large ciabatta loaf, halved lengthwise

flesh of 1 avocado, sliced

to serve: fine sea or kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, dried oregano

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-medium-high heat. Add hash browns and let cook two minutes, undisturbed.

Meanwhile, add chickpeas to a food processor and pulse until broken down, but a little chunky. Add to skillet, and use a rubber spatula to empty the processor bowl contents into the skillet. Continue to toss with a wide spatula every two minutes until the mixture is hot and the potatoes have browned in places, about 10 minutes total.

While the potatoes and chickpeas cook, return the processor bowl to the base and reattach the blade. Add cilantro, oil, lime juice, jalapeno, and 1/4 tsp salt. Process until thoroughly combined, scraping the sides as needed. This could take a full minute or so.

When the potatoes are ready, remove from heat and stir in dressing. Set aside.

Use the oven broiler to toast the cut side of the bottom of the ciabatta loaf and the outside of the top half of the loaf. Mound the potato mixture generously on the bottom half (you may have a half-cup or so of filling left over depending on the size of your loaf, but don't be shy*). Top with avocado slices. Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt over the avocado, then add black pepper, then dried oregano. Top sandwich, press gently to help pack, slice, and serve with cornichons or pickle of choice.

(*Store any leftover filling in the refrigerator and make a hash, or toss them into your next tofu scramble.)



One final note of thanks about The Knoxville History Project's online fundraiser to launch Knoxville Mercury. They hit the goal, which means their funding will, in fact, go through. Which is fantastic, encouraging, and an enormous relief. There's a stretch goal in place they'll have to work very hard to meet, so if you'd like to spread the word to give them a push in their final days (the Kickstarter ends Saturday night), they could use it. Either way, thanks hugely for being a part of their success. You're all appreciated.

The Basics No. 1: Scrambles and Hashes to Nourish the Tired Vegan (and Everyone Else, Too)

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

First, a note of deep gratitude for all of your help with last week's post. MSV readers did an incredible job of sharing, not to mention making some very generous pledges. So, so many thanks. There's still more than a week left in their Kickstarter, so if you find yourself in a position to help, whether by pledging or talking it up, your contribution is important.

Due to all that, it's really nice to have a post on New Year's Day. If any one year is about fresh starts for the MSV house, 2015 will surely be it. When big changes are afoot, home and hearth can be a comforting anchor, and that's what's going on this week. Today's dead-simple template will help you stay nourished and satisfied even under busy, uncertain, or stressful circumstances. With these basics on hand, you'll never have to wonder what to eat after a long day. There will be protein, and vegetables, and flavor. It will be fast. They're all appropriate for breakfast, lunch, or a breezy dinner. And if you don't feel like it, you don't even have to touch a knife.

This formula relies on indulging in a few expensive ingredients that you'll use in small quantities on the front and back ends to boost the dish's flavor and satiety factor: sun-dried tomatoes or olive oil at the start; smoked almonds, pickled jalapenos, or capers (or kimchi, or sauerkraut) toward the end of cooking. The bulk of these plates is a mix of whichever base you like--tofu, tempeh, or prepared polenta--and, for maximum convenience and economy, frozen vegetables. If washing and chopping and handling fresh foods soothes you after a long day, by all means, go for it. Nothing precludes the use of fresh veg, but when life gets really hectic, it's tough to beat the ease of popping open a bag and dumping pre-cut chunks into a hot pan. Plus, it's usually cheaper, especially in winter. (Except in the case of collards, where you can easily find a comically large bunch for less than two bucks at a large grocer, and pay the difference in washing and chopping labor. Naturally, choose what works for you.)

All manner of green veg work great in hashes and scrambles. They tend to keep a good bite and don't release a lot of liquid, which means it won't hinder the seriously gorgeous surface browning you're going to make sure your base gets. Because that's what takes a scramble or hash from tossed off to something you'll look forward to tucking into.

Collards or other hearty greens work best with chewy tempeh, but there's no reason you can't pair them with polenta squares, if that's what you're craving. Likewise, broccoli's texture is terrific with soft and chewy tofu, but green beans are no slouch, either. One of these dishes feeds one person generously, but it's simple to stretch it to a meal for two (or if you have higher calorie needs) by adding a starch. Toast smeared with a little nondairy butter or a thin layer of tahini (light maple drizzle optional, but pretty heavenly) pairs well with nutty tempeh and greens. Toast works for a tofu scramble, too, but once you've added hunks of hand-torn corn tortillas to the pan for the last half of cooking (for what lazily gets called tofu migas in the MSV house when no one else is around), you might have a hard time pairing any other carb with your tofu scramble.

Speaking of carbs, let's talk polenta. Cooking little chunks until golden is about to become your new favorite way to put those tubes to work. Out of the fridge, it's grainy, slippery on the outside, and generally a little unappealing. But after a few minutes in the pan, those bites become gorgeously soft and especially flavorful when tossed with a shower of nutritional yeast (those green beans, too).

Nutritional yeast, by the way, is highly recommended on all versions here, but considered necessary for the tofu scramble. YMMV. If you're sensitive to the flavor of nutritional yeast, go easy, and the flavor won't be pronounced, but it will add noticeable depth to the finished product. (Likewise, hot sauce served at the table is a fine choice for all hashes, but especially wise for a tofu scramble.)

Because polenta is a grain, edamame is a perfect green accompaniment that adds protein, but there's no reason you can't use another veg and toss in a handful of cooked beans, or crumble in half a block of tempeh. Or don't sweat this plate and get an extra dose of protein at another meal. And if there's a law against enjoying a slice of buttery toast alongside bits of creamy polenta and lightly charred green beans, you're gonna need a lot of bracelets.

And finally, about the knife business, these shots are all of tempeh and polenta that's been cubed with a knife, but don't think you can't tear off bite-size pieces with your hands or crumble the tempeh if you want even smaller bits. With pre-cut frozen veg and your paws, there's no cutting board or knife to wash. Do what feels good, and chow down.

Scrambles and Hashes to Nourish the Tired Vegan (and Everyone Else, Too)

Print the recipe

serves 1 generously, or 2 lightly (see starch option)

To Begin:

1 generous TBSP chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil


1 TBSP olive oil


A couple handfuls of any of the following (all frozen, unless you prefer to prep your own):

chopped collards


cut green beans


cut broccoli


shelled edamame

optional flavor boost: fresh scallions, white and green parts, roughly chopped


14 oz soft (or firm, if you prefer, or have higher calorie needs) tofu, drained


8 oz tempeh, in small bite-size cubes (use a knife or your hands)


9 oz (1/2 tube) prepared polenta, in bite-size pieces (use a knife or your hands)


Herbamere or salt, to taste (try a generous 1/4 tsp)

freshly cracked black pepper

2-3 TBSP nutritional yeast, or to taste

optional flavor boost (pick one): 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp dried sage, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp garam masala, a few dashes liquid smoke


1 TBSP capers in brine, drained


1-2 TBSP salted smoked almonds


1-2 TBSP pickled jalapeno slices


1/4 cup kimchi or sauerkraut, very well drained

Optional Starches to Stretch/Boost:

toast (spread with nondairy butter, or hummus, or pesto, or nut/seed butter with maybe a light touch of maple syrup added), as desired

6-inch corn tortillas, store-bought (or if you have them, day-old), as desired

To serve (optional, pick one):

hot sauce, pico de gallo, maybe even a little warmed marinara, avocado cubes

Heat tomatoes in oil (or just oil) in a large nonstick skillet over medium-medium-high heat (on an electric range, turn the heat up until the pointer is pointing at about 315 degrees on the circle that is your range knob). Add frozen vegetables and cook for a couple minutes, stirring frequently, until they begin to come to life/brighten in color. Add scallions, if using, along with your chosen seasonings.

Add base of choice:

For tofu, tear off hunks and squeeze it roughly through your fist, letting it fall into the pan. Break up any too-large chunks with a spoon, stir to incorporate seasoning, and spread everything in a single layer as best you can. Let cook, undisturbed, five minutes. Toss well (the tofu that was in contact with the pan should look a bit golden now) and add pieces of torn corn tortilla, if using. Let cook, undisturbed, three minutes. Add finishers, toss again, let cook another two minutes undisturbed. If your tofu isn't browned to your liking, let cook a little further, tossing every minute, being careful not to burn. Serve with hot sauce.

For tempeh or polenta, add the pieces to the pan, stir to incorporate seasoning, and spread into a single layer as best you can. Let cook, undisturbed, for about two minutes. Toss. Continue that pattern, stirring every minute or two (let your nose be your guide on when to give it a toss) until the bits are all nicely golden. This will take 5-7 minutes overall, but cook longer if needed to brown your base, being careful not to burn. Add your finishers during the last two minutes of cooking. Serve with topping of choice, if using.


The vegetables listed above are suggestions. Feel free to swap your favorite, but note that any vegetable that releases a lot of water will interfere with the browning of your base. Likewise, if using kimchi or sauerkraut as a finisher, set it aside in a sieve to drain thoroughly while you prepare everything else to avoid adding excess liquid to your dish.

Garlic powder is particularly effective in a tofu scramble.

Some favorite combinations you may want to try: tempeh with collards, tofu with broccoli, polenta with edamame (polenta can also be combined with a single handful of veg and half a block of tempeh or a handful of cooked beans to increase protein content, if desired), and either polenta or tofu with green beans.

Two Papers, Two Drinks, and a Plea

As you can see, this week's post comes early, since a lot of MSV readers will be busy later this week celebrating Christmas. And because I have an enormous favor to ask. There's a fun part, but first, a little not-so-fun history is in order.

Two months ago, my partner lost his job as Arts and Entertainment Editor at Knoxville's alt-weekly Metro Pulse when it was unceremoniously shuttered after 23 years in print.

Metro Pulse Vol 24 No 42

For the last several years, it was owned by the publishing giant Scripps, which still owns Knoxville's daily paper. While MP was profitable at the time of its closure, it was sacrificed to save labor costs. Publisher Patrick Birmingham arranged for the re-branded weekend insert from the daily to try to fill the void. In response, the town voiced its disapproval.

In response to that, the freshly fired MP editors got to work.

There's tons of information about all this, so I'll keep it brief. The whole thing starts with a non-profit. Beloved writer and MP Associate Editor Jack Neely will head The Knoxville History Project, an educational organization dedicated to promoting Knoxville culture. The KHP will establish the for-profit newsweekly editors Coury Turczyn and Matthew Everett will manage, the Knoxville Mercury. In using this structure, they aim to ensure that the paper will always be locally, independently owned, and that both enterprises will thrive in the community for years to come.

This isn't a hobby, or a scrappy start-up. These guys are all committed to doing what they do best (and have been doing cumulatively for something like a half-century) the best way they know how to do it. It will come as no surprise that right now they need money to get it going. To that end, there's a Kickstarter. It needs our help.

(We're getting to the fun part. See?)

I don't have any advertising on MSV. I don't take donations. But MSV most definitely takes financial and emotional resources, and with my partner's income disappearing suddenly (he refused his severance package with its non-compete clause in order to start a new paper), it's been difficult to keep up. But I want to. I believe normalizing vegan food at every opportunity is important work, and I appreciate all of you for aiding that effort by reading week after week. Even if you're not in Knoxville (and I know many of you aren't even in the U.S.), if you value MSV and think this site is worth a few bucks, please take a minute to pledge so my partner and I can both continue to do these things that we think matter. If you are in Knoxville, or you care about journalism, this effort most definitely needs you. I know it's the season of financial obligations for many of you, but since Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing deal, even if you pledge now, you aren't charged until the campaign ends in early-mid-January. If you can't donate, but want to help, please spread the word. If you do pledge, tell everyone! And thanks.

Bonus: If MSV readers combined pledge a total of $1,000.00 by the end of the year, I'll increase my personal contribution by another $250.00. (Email me at marketstreetvegan at gmail dot com to let me know the name you pledged under so it can be verified.)

There's a lot of excitement, and this is a big deal. And so brand new. And so uncertain (did I mention there's a Kickstarter?). So most days, you can bet I could use a drink. That's how I'm paying tribute here on MSV. There's something for both the old paper and the new paper we're hoping to get soon that can carry its spirit (yep) into a new era.

First up, Metro Pulse. As I said, the paper was closed without warning, so here's an opportunity to toast it one last time. Started in 1991, MP's growth and identity in its first decade had a lot to do with covering local bands The V-Roys and Superdrag as they promised to land deals and go places. Which means a lot of ink spent on young white dudes in bars, which is also who and where a lot of the staffers were at the time.

So, beer, of course.

I know there was plenty of PBR and High Life spilled on plenty of bars, but I made this cocktail with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, a prime '90s choice for young, literate, dorky white folks in small cities. Like MP, it did its growing in the '90s in the early years of the craft beer movement (and, as I recall, was the six-pack MP staffers et. al. reported they took along when they covered the gentleman's club in the Old City that stupidly opened in violation of city ordinance in the early '00s and was predictably closed after about five seconds). Most importantly, it remains a really good beer. And can stand up to tequila without becoming a beer margarita.

The Defibrillator: hop-forward beer, a bit of tequila, lime, and orange liqueur. A little crude, maybe, but for a paper that--when MP co-founder Ian Blackburn tells the story--sounds like it was once put together in a bedroom ransom-note style, not entirely inappropriate. The drink is surprisingly refreshing, especially over ice, with a--wait for it--quite bitter finish.

The Defibrillator

Print the recipes


1 oz tequila

1/2 oz orange liqueur

1/2 oz lime juice

6 oz Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Fill a shaker half full with ice. Add tequila, liqueur, and lime juice. Shake to chill and strain into a Collins glass. Top with beer. May be served over ice.

Moving on, no one knows for sure what the new Knoxville Mercury will be like, since it doesn't yet exist. While Coury and Matthew aren't likely to dramatically change their minds about what a weekly in Knoxville should look like after having run one for the better part of the last decade, there will be new bells and whistles (like an improved online presence), and the incoming KM Art Director Tricia Bateman is responsible for this:

There's every reason for optimism.

To make a drink to toast the new enterprise, what we do have to go on is a name. Luckily, it's Mercury, a fairly evocative word, as Jack Neely deftly illustrates in his recent blog post:

The god is swift, the planet’s hot, the car is classic, the element is dangerous but useful.

Dangerous but useful might be the fittest description of any tasty and potent drink I've heard, so I present the Mercury Rising, a forthright drink whose effects are swift, with fresh ginger for heat. I've added black tea syrup, as sweet iced tea has long been on the menu when the mercury rises in the South. And since this all rests on Knoxville culture, we may as well stick with geography and use Southern rye, an old classic become popular again, and just the whiskey you want when you're adding sugar. (Once Knox Whiskey Works is in the aged production market, the whiskey choice for a Mercury Rising will likely be obvious.) A little acid and done: a drink stiff enough to help you shred your five-figure severance agreement and instead ask your readers to help launch your new job. Cheers.

Mercury Rising

Print the recipes

1 inch peeled ginger root


1/2 oz black tea syrup, recipe follows

2 oz rye

club soda

lemon wedge

Use a Microplane zester to grate ginger. Measure out 1/2 tsp and add to the bottom of a rocks glass. Add ice, pour in syrup and rye, and give a quick stir. Finish with a splash of soda and a squeeze of lemon. Serve with a swizzle.

Black Tea Syrup

2 cups water

2 cups natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

1 family-size black tea bag

Add sugar and water to a pot. Bring to a boil, stir until sugar dissolves, then remove from heat. Submerge tea bag completely and let steep 10 minutes. Press tea bag with the back of a spoon to extract absorbed liquid, discard bag, and let syrup cool completely before using.


As always, but especially now, thanks for reading. To Knoxville! And to everyone who cares! Let's make a paper.  




Warming Cannellini Bean and Wild Rice Soup with Mushroom Broth

Hey, welcome. Consider following us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Winter's only days away now, and soup is definitely in order. This one is simple but lovely and woodsy, with plenty of gorgeously nutty wild rice and plump, tender beans for heft. A generous addition of white pepper gives the bowl an assertive but not aggressive warmth that will be welcome for months to come. (Though of course, if you're sensitive to heat, start small and season to taste.)

The broth gets a nice body and depth from two concentrated flavor sources: red miso and a bunch of ground dried mushrooms. Grit can always be an issue with mushrooms, but you're grinding this right down to powder to ensure every last bit of flavor makes it into your soup. The above from Everything Mushrooms have been ground into several soups and a couple gravies with no texture problems yet. Good stuff. And all that immediate flavor makes the soup nearly effortless. If you can wait for wild rice to cook, you've got this one down.

Warming Cannellini Bean and Wild Rice Soup with Mushroom Broth

Print the recipe

serves 2-4

1/2 oz dried mushrooms of choice

6 cups water

1 no-sodium-added vegetable bouillon cube

1/2 tsp dried sage

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup wild rice

1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 TBSP red miso

1 tsp red wine vinegar

Grind the dried mushrooms to a powder in a coffee grinder. Add 5 cups water to a pot. Whisk mushroom powder into remaining cup of water, then whisk that into the pot. Add bouillon cube, sage, thyme, and bay leaf, cover, and bring to a boil. Add rice, cover, make sure the pot returns to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer steadily without disturbing for 45 minutes. Check rice. Cook longer, if needed.

Remove bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-low. Add beans and white pepper. Let simmer gently, uncovered, until beans are warmed through, 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, add a ladle full of soup to a small bowl and whisk in miso. Remove pot from heat, stir in miso mixture, and add vinegar. Stir, adjust salt, if needed, and serve.

Broccoli, Tempeh, & Apple Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts & Lemon-Pepper Dressing

Hey, welcome. Consider following us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

There's so much to love about this simple, chunky salad. It boasts a variety of textures and flavors, and is easy to put together while still taking a few minutes to show the ingredients enough TLC to make them each shine. Broccoli is quickly steamed to a brilliant hue, tempeh is quickly broiled until gorgeously nutty, and they both get tossed with crisp and sweet apple, irresistibly rich pine nuts, and a gentle dose of a bright lemon-pepper vinaigrette.

broccoli tempeh apple salad detail

Broccoli, Tempeh, & Apple Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts & Lemon-Pepper Dressing

Print the recipe

serves 2-3

8 oz broccoli crown (about 1 large)

8 oz tempeh

4 tsp sesame oil

1/8 tsp ground cayenne

2 TBSP olive oil

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 TBSP lemon juice

1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 sweet apple of choice


Heat oven broiler. Prepare an ice bath.

Steam broccoli until bright green, a few minutes, and immediately transfer to ice bath. Meanwhile, whisk together sesame oil and cayenne. Brush one side of tempeh with half the oil and place on the highest oven rack. Broil until golden, about 5 minutes. Carefully turn, brush other side with remaining sesame oil, and broil another 4-5 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Whisk together olive oil, lemon zest and juice, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet heated over medium heat, tossing constantly, until they begin to color, being very careful not to burn. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Dry broccoli, discard any tough stalks, and chop florets into small bite-size pieces. Transfer to a serving bowl. Chop tempeh into small bite-size pieces and add to bowl.

Chop apple into 1/2-inch dice and add to bowl. Pour dressing over and toss well to coat. Add pine nuts and toss again. The salad can be served immediately or assembled up to a few hours in advance to let the flavors mingle. If holding, toast and add pine nuts just before serving.

Party Animals No. 33: Roasted Veg Dinner for Four

Hey, welcome. Consider following us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Hopes of posting a new recipe this week were dashed when a bit of equipment failure in the MSV kitchen (which occurred right in the middle of preparing last week's feast, no less) meant mostly not touching anything in there for a few days until it got sorted out.

So, instead, a recap of a dinner for six that became a dinner for four when a couple of friends came over to chow down on a bunch of vegetables a couple week back. To start, sparkling wine with sage-ginger syrup. The instructions suggest adding an ounce or two of syrup, which makes for a decidedly, well, syrupy drink if you're going with a standard six-ounce pour. Even an ounce was a bit much, which could possibly be overcome with a simple squeeze of citrus, but why bother when half an ounce makes for a really lovely, subtle drink while still highlighting the wine? Remember this one for every fall and winter entertaining opportunity ever.

Then onto nibbles, both from Pure Vegan. The orange salad in the large bowl is more or less the most expensive fruit salad ever: oranges, dates, pistachios, and on. Nice, if you can afford it. Great textures, lovely seasonings. In the smaller bowl is a mix of olives and almonds warmed with garlic and thyme. Very good, naturally.

The roasted vegetables come also from Pure Vegan. Each is roasted separately with an herb: carrots with parsley, green beans with thyme, potatoes with rosemary, and pearl onions and garlic with sage, the last of which come out particularly stunning. The book suggests serving these as handheld items with a vegan aioli for dipping. For a more sit-down version here, black beans were roasted with cumin and smoked salt along with everything else, paired with rice, and everyone had a bowl to pile all the eats into, over which they could drizzle a vibrant dressing of lemon, parsley, and pine nuts.

And for something sweet to finish, poached pears and bourbon-masala chai ganache served with store-bought lemon sorbet.

Back next week with a new recipe, at last.

Party Animals No. 32: Not-Thanksgiving 2014

Hey, welcome. Consider following us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Long story short, the MSV house didn't see the same Thanksgiving crowd it has for the last half-dozen years. But that didn't get in the way of breaking out the bubbly, lighting candles, tying on some festive ribbons, and cooking up a heap of food a day after most of the folks we know. And it went a little something like this:

(That's tofu-pecan meatloaf, wild mushroom-chickpea gravy, biscuits, smashed potatoes.)

(Cranberry relish, cornbread-spiced walnut-fig dressing, and a green salad with lots grapefruit and oranges and a black cherry dressing.)

Hope you've all had a generous week, whether you celebrate fall harvest or not. Below is an apple strudel waiting to be dusted with powdered sugar and served with vegan vanilla ice cream, so until next week, thanks for reading.

Sweet Tea-Marinated Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu Tortilla Stack (or Taco)

Hey, welcome. Consider following us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Sweet, tender, golden slices of tofu, creamy chunks of avocado, and a tart relish made from brilliant carrots and perky poblano: just add tortillas (preferably fresh), and dig in.

There are a few steps here, mostly due to pressing the tofu, then marinating the tofu, and of course, making the tortillas. Nothing's difficult (and the firmer your tofu, the easier it is to throw together), but it all takes time, so save this one for a day you're in the mood to cook, or when you have a friend on hand to sip wine with you to pass the time effortlessly. In a pinch, use store-bought tortillas.

Finally, these make great little stacks with the thicker tortillas that come out of the MSV kitchen but you could easily wrap this into a taco with commercial tortillas. Or if you're feeling froggy, make sopes, and spread on a generous layer of refried beans before putting down the tofu for a dinner dreams are made of.

Sweet Tea-Marinated Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu Tortilla Stack (or Taco)

Print the recipe

yields 8 stacks/tacos

For the tofu:

14 oz extra or super firm tofu, drained

1 1/2 cups water

1 family-size black tea bag

1/4 cup natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

pinch salt

juice of half a lime

1/2 cup cornmeal

3/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

freshly cracked black pepper

For the slaw:

1 large poblano

1 very large or 2 small carrots (about 4 oz total weight)

juice of half a lime

1 TBSP olive oil

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

pinch salt

To serve:

8 corn tortillas

flesh of 1 avocado, sliced into eighths

hot sauce (optional)

Wrap the tofu in a folded, clean (non-terry) kitchen towel and place a heavy object on top. Let press 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make tortillas or heat prepared tortillas, if using. Hold in a warm oven.

When tofu is almost done pressing, heat 1 1/2 cups water and place tea bag in a wide, shallow, heatproof dish. Pour hot water over bag and let steep 3 minutes. Meanwhile, slice tofu into 8 rectangles. Remove tea bag, and add sugar, salt, and lime. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add tofu in a single layer and let marinate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred/julienne the carrot and poblano (feel free to use a julienne or vegetable peeler, or a good knife if you're comfortable with one). Whisk together lime, oil, cumin, coriander, and pinch salt. Pour over vegetables and toss well. It will be quite tart, but will mellow a bit as it sits.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Whisk together cornmeal, salt, and a crack of black pepper. When cooking surface is hot, gently remove a slice of tofu from the marinade, let excess drip off, dredge in cornmeal, and cook about 4 minutes on each side, until crisp and browned in spots. Repeat with all slices, working in batches (in a large skillet, four slices should fit comfortably at one time).

Give the slaw one last toss and drain off excess dressing. To serve as stacks, layer tortilla, tofu, and avocado, then top with slaw. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Savory Barley, Polenta, and Mushroom Breakfast Porridge (from the Slow Cooker)

Hey, welcome. Consider following us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed, or sign up for email updates from the Home Page.

A little chopping in the evening gets you a savory, hot breakfast upon waking. The barley becomes very creamy, cubes of convenient prepared polenta grow tender and take on flavor during the long cook without losing their shape, and simple marinated mushrooms provide contrasting color and a bit of texture. Scallions and bell pepper add a shot of green and their mildly bitter touch, cutting through the starch to help balance the bowl.

Savory Barley, Polenta, and Mushroom Breakfast Porridge (from the Slow Cooker)

Print the recipe

serves 6-8

8 oz button mushrooms

4 scallions

2 TBSP reduced-sodium tamari

2 no-salt-added vegetable bouillon cubes

5 cups water

1 green bell pepper

1 18-oz tube prepared polenta

1 cup dried pearled barley (not quick-cooking)

1 tsp rubbed sage

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/4 tsp celery seed

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

With a damp kitchen towel, wipe mushrooms clean, discard tough stems, and quarter caps. Chop the white and tender green parts of scallions. Toss both with tamari and let sit 1 hour.

Meanwhile, dissolve bouillon in water, cover with clean kitchen towel, and set aside until ready to assemble. Trim and chop pepper into small dice and add to slow cooker. Chop polenta into bite-size cubes (about 3/4-inch) and set aside.

Before bed, add barley, all spices except pepper, prepared broth, and marinated mushrooms (include any unabsorbed tamari) to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add polenta, cover, and cook on low 8-9 hours, then remove crock from heating base, if possible. At this point, there will be some standing liquid in the bottom of the crock, but this will thicken as it stands. Remove lid and crack black pepper, to taste, over the top. Stir well. Let stand, uncovered, about 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped scallion tops, if desired.

Leftovers can be reheated on the stove with broth (or possibly nondairy milk) to thin.