Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vegetarian Mustard Collard Greens (Vegan, Gluten Free)

A staple vegetable in Southern cuisine that is typically cooked with smoked ham or salted meats. Somehow the South took this thick leafy vegetable that is rich in vitamin C and turned it into a fatty meat vegetable side dish.

So when I received this thick slightly bitter green vegetable, I wandered what to do with it other than saute it in olive oil and garlic (which is usually what I do when I can't be bothered to be creative with a vegetable... it's the easiest thing to prepare and always comes out right).

This time I thought, I want to recreate this Southern staple into a Northeastern Vegan dish while retaining that smoked flavor with some cider vinegar and onions which mimics the smokiness that so many Southerners are used to.

The end result was a deep chipotle flavored green side dish resembling the Southern staple in flavor, somewhat, only healthier and I think just as distinctive. I served this with grilled veggie burgers and some sauteed red peppers for added sweetness.

Serves 6-8


    • 1 lb collard greens ( or 1/2 collards, 1/2 kale)
    • 1 onions, chopped
    • 1/2 cup prepared salsa or 1 chopped tomatoes
    • 2 -4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    • Salt to taste
    • hot sauce, to taste


  1. Wash greens in a colander.
  2. Chop into bite-sized pieces and remove hard stems.
  3. Saute onions and garlic, making sure not to burn. Once onions are clear, throw in all remaining ingredients into a large pot, cover and reduce heat.
  4. Greens are done when they have shrunk down and are cooked through, usually about 20 minutes, but you can let it simmer much longer.
  5. Serve with its liquid.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sweet and Sour Veggieballs (Gluten Free)

This past Rosh Hashana I was inspired to make sweet and sour meatballs, probably due to the fact that every where I turned to in the kosher supermarkets was advertised a catered meal with sweet and sour meatballs. I never see them advertised at other times of the year, just at holidays. Somehow Sweet and Sour meatballs has become a staple in Ashkenasi families, "Just like Bubeh made them!" Not my Bubeh, since I am a Sephardi Jew, but certainly like my husbands' whose grandparents were from Lithuania. I suppose it draws some nostalgia to the old country for some... however for me, since my husband and I are vegetarians I decided to contemporize (not sure of that's a real word, but you get my drift) the classic dish with veggie balls.

When I think of meatballs, I think of tomato sauce and bay leaf. Basil. Pasta. Italian. But the liking for a subtle blend of sour and sweet is an Ashkenazic taste that displays itself in other traditional recipes: beet borsht, brisket cooked with dried fruit, honey and vinegar, and of course that perennial Jewish favorite, Chinese food.

So I made them. These veggieballs are made from mushrooms, have no gluten in them and by far is one of the healthiest mock meat out there. All the ingredients are recognizable and pronounceable. You can find them in the refrigerated section on you can request for your supermarket to carry it here.

The meatbals turned out very good indeed, firm but tender, savory/sweet. A nice little mouthfull to keep everyone interested and no one could believe that it was not MEAT. I was so excited that I was able to prepare a dish for my meat eating crowd and show them that a life without meat is absolutely doable and better for us all. With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday approaching, where cranberries are traditionally eaten, this dish fits right in once again for a festive meal. Look how quick and easy it is to prepare. Serve on a large platter with a side of sweet potatoes or noodles.


3 cups tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can of cranberry sauce
2 onion soup bouillon (vegan)
1 cup sour kraut
2 packages Veggieballs from Franklin Farms


  1. Combine tomato sauce and cranberry sauce in a large stockpot over medium high heat.
  2. Once simmering add the soup bouillon and break apart with a spoon to blend with the sauce. When bouillon has emulsified into sauce, add sour kraut and bring to simmer.
  3. Add veggie balls, lower heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes or until heated throughout.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan (Gluten Free)

Does anyone remember a commercial that Ronzoni had over 25 years ago of Italian woman carefully selecting spaghetti strands from trees? That commercial left such an impression on me when I was a child that I actually thought spaghetti grows on trees! Stop laughing at my naivete.... you thought so too, no?

Apparently that commercial was a spook that the BBC played in 1952 on April Fools Day about the spaghetti crops in Switzerland.

The program feature a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest. It showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.

Although some viewers did not find this program too amusing as it was intended to be, others were so intrigued they wanted to find out where they could purchase their very own spaghetti bush. So, I was not alone in this. I too wanted to know how to buy a spaghetti bush.

Well, as it turns out... we really don't have spaghetti bushes, but we do have Spaghetti Squash. It is an oblong seed-bearing variety of winter squash. The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color or green with white streaks. Its center contains many large seeds. Its flesh is bright yellow, and orange or white for the latter variety. When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash; when cooked, the flesh falls away into strands like spaghetti. The taste is quite bland and like spaghetti needs a really good sauce to enhance the flavor.

This main dish is like eating a spaghetti con pesto, minus the carbs. The strands are delicately tossed with herbs and then topped with parmesan cheese.

Serves 2


1 medium spaghetti squash
1 stick vegan butter
3 tablespoons mixed herbs, such as parsley, chives and oregano (chopped)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and ground pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Place the halves cut side down, in a roasting pan. Pour a little water around them and bake for 40 minutes or until tender. Do not allow to burn- cover with foil if necessary.
  2. Meanwhile, put the butter, herbs, garlic, shallot and lemon juice in a food processor and proces until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. When the squash is tender, scrape out any seeds, and place a thin slice from the base of each half so that it can sit level.
  4. Using a fork, pull out a few of the spaghetti like strands in the center to make room for filling. A a dollop of herb butter, then sprinkle with a little grate cheese. Serve the remaining herbed butter separately adding more as you pull more strands.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vegetarian Chili (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Originally known as chili con carne which is taken from the Spanish, meaning "peppers with meat." Traditional versions are made, minimally, from chili peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin, along with chopped or ground beef. Beans and tomatoes have become frequent additions to this classic Tex- Mex dish. In fact, Chili con carne is the official dish of the U.S. state of Texas due to bordering Mexico which has influenced the Southwest significantly in regards to cuisine.

Tomatoes were not part of the original recipe and not everyone uses it in their dish, but since I have received over 20 pounds of tomatoes in the last month.... why not?? Plus my version is a stovetop vegetarian chili with a medley of assorted vegetables. I adapted this recipe and tweaked it several times until it has come out just perfect with the blend of just the right amount of spice, sweetness and the balance of vegetables to beans.

So Break out your soup pot and fix up a batch of this delicious, spicy vegetarian chili today. It's ready in no time, and packed with vegetables, beans - and flavor. This chili is SO easy to make and you can empty out the fridge with the glutton of veggies on the verge of turning. A colorful, satisfying bowl of chili that packs plenty of flavor — even for the most dedicated meat eaters will be satisfied due to the high protein from the beans. This yields a lot which is great because chili tastes even better when refrigerated overnight to seal in the flavor. Serve with corn bread, tacos or or over your favorite rice. Serve into a large platter, garnish with cilantro and adorn with sliced avocados.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 tomatoes, coarsely chopped or 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

Serves 6


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, salt and coriander. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and garlic. When vegetables are heated through, reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the tomatoes into the pot with sugar and stir in the black beans.  Add the water, and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes.
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