Imagine being able to bake a pan of brownies, instantly, without having to preheat your oven. I’d say that makes these Small Batch Brownies from Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer by Kathy Hester rather remarkable – and a good reason to get an air fryer! Bake them in your air fryer for 20 minutes and enjoy! Seems crazy? Well, air fryers are essentially convection ovens, so let’s bake cake!
Count me among Kathy Hester’s legions of admirers. It is not exaggeration to say that Kathy wears a lot of “different hats,” each very successfully. She is a cookbook author (with number of books), a blogger at Healthy Slow Cooking, and a consultant to individuals and the culinary world. We have had the chance to share meals and conversation at several events over a few years, and today I am very happy to introduce Kathy’s newest book, Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer, to you.
Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer provides plant-based dishes with all the decadence of fried food without the added calories. Using little to no oil, these recipes result in wholesome and delicious meals with less mess, but the perfect texture, every time.
You will be amazed, I sure was and still am, at how fast you can have dinner on the table using your air fryer. With recipes like Black Bean Avocado Chimichangas, Cheesy Hot Sauce Collard Chips, Cajun French Fry Po’Boy with Vegan Mushroom Gravy, and Banana Spring Rolls, plus techniques that yield crispy tofu to rival any restaurant, Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer makes healthy eating easy, fast and tasty.
Small Batch Brownies
Everyone loves brownies and in our house, we love them a little too much. With that said, I’ve started making small batches that we can’t get in trouble with eating too many. It’s a bonus that the air fry doesn’t heat up your whole house like an oven, so it’s a delicious dessert to make for summer dinner parties.
1/2 cup (99g) vegan sugar (or sweetener of choice, to taste)
1/4 cup (21g) cocoa powder
1 tablespoon (6g) ground flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of any one or a combination of the following:
chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, mini vegan chocolate chips, shredded coconut
Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Then mix the wet ingredients in a large measuring cup. Add the wet to the dry and mix well.
Add in the mix-in(s) of your choice and mix again.
Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees (or as close as your air fryer gets). Either spray some oil on a 5-inch cake or pie round pan (or a loaf pan that fits in your air fryer), or line it with parchment paper to keep it completely oil-free.
Place the pan in the fryer basket. Cook for 20 minutes. If the middle is not well set or a knife doesn’t come out clean when stuck in the middle cook for 5 minutes more and repeat as needed. The time may vary depending on the size pan and your particular air fryer.
Recipe by Kathy Hester. Reprinted by permission of Page Street Publishing
So here it is today, Valentine’s Day, the day that celebrates love and, well, just look at these gorgeous Peppermint Bark Meltaways from cookbook author and photographer Hannah Kaminsky’s newest book Real Food, Really Fast. As I wrote in last week’s blog post, I often prefer relatively quick and easy homemade desserts for Valentine’s Day, and today it’s my pleasure to share with you, dear readers, Hannah’s recipe for these special heart shaped (or any shaped) treats, the Peppermint Bark Meltaways from Hannah’s new book, Real Food, Really Fast.
Hannah’s practical and photo-rich book, (with lovely photos by Hannah of course) is quite new and yet it is already just about sold out! To make sure you get your copy, call your bookstore ASAP and order one, or more, or preorder the reprint from Amazon now.
Alice Leung of Soy Cafe at the Love Parade
Speaking of love, yesterday in Philadelphia the Love sculpture, designed by Robert Indiana, returned to Love Park after a repainting, with a parade no less. You have seen this iconic sculpture, if not in Philadelphia, at least on a postage stamp. Pictured here in front of the sculpture is my dear friend, a former student, Alice Leung, the owner of one of the best restaurants in Philly, the Soy Cafe on 2nd Street in Northern Liberties. Check it out. I’ll be there tonight for her special 5-course Valentine’s Dinner.
Fran at Fantes
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, earlier this week I did two chocolate–centric events. On Sunday I had a really fun Vegan Chocolate book signing at the most well-stocked kitchenware shop I’ve ever seen – the 100+-year-old Fantes in the 9th Street Italian Market, with special thanks to my hosts, owners Mariella and Lianna. I brought some gold dusted Gluten Free Brownie Bites for sampling, and after the demo, I got myself some Valentine’s gifts: a new Microplane zester, an unusual but very comfortable paring knife made in Italy, a decorative culinary wooden slotted spoon, and a gorgeous new bundt pan.
Fran with chopped chocolate for ganache at Williams Sonoma Demo
Monday found me at Williams Sonoma at the Bellevue, Philadelphia, demonstrating how to make Chocolate Ganache for the Chocolate Crostini. I sprinkled pomegranate seeds on some of the crostini – you know, red for Valentines Day. Guests also sampled Chocolate Orange Sesame Truffles. I found it interesting, but not surprising really, that some of the customers who’d come in to shop not knowing about the demo wanted information about vegan desserts! I left happy, and with a packet of red Valentine doilies and very pretty mini cupcake liners for spring—should it ever come.
Vegan Chocolate Crostini from Vegan Chocolate Cookbook
Vegan Chocolate Orange Sesame Truffles from the Vegan Chocolate Cookbook
After all of that chocolate making, I’ll be taking it easy for Valentine’s Day today, and and making a delicious meal from Hannah’s book Real Food, Really Fast. All of the recipes in this gorgeous and useful book are ready in 10 minutes or less! Here, fast food doesn’t mean that quality is compromised. Hannah takes inexpensive staples and reimagines them with innovative flavor pairings, clever cooking techniques, and fun presentations. The resulting dishes are absolutely delicious.
I’m trying to decide which recipe to cook today, and that’s a tough choice since Hannah’s recipes are all appealing. I think it’s between Smoky Chipotle Creamed Kale, Artichoke Barbacoa, or Sweet Potato Cacio e Pepe. One thing’s for sure, these Peppermint Bark Meltaways will be served!
Peppermint Bark Meltaways
Imagine the richest, densest square of dark chocolate fudge, melting luxuriously the moment it hits your tongue, and you’d come close to the sheer decadence that is the chocolate meltaway. Adding coconut oil to pure chocolate lowers the melting point well below body temperature, creating a veritable ideal wave of liquid cacao with every bite. Best of all, it’s far easier than the laborious stirring required to make traditional fudge; just eat, stir, and set. You’ll be in chocolate heaven in minutes. Peppermint extract and crushed candy canes give my twist on the concept a refreshingly bold blast of peppermint, much like you’d get with peppermint bark. They’re perfect for holiday gifts, but can be a sweet breath of fresh air during the sweltering heat of summer, too.
2 ounces crushed candy canes or peppermint hard candies (about ½ cup)
Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe container and heat for 30-90 seconds, stirring at every 30-second interval, until completely melted and smooth. Mix in the peppermint extract and salt.
Pour the liquid chocolate into silicon ice cube or candy molds of any shape your heart desires (literally, as pictured!) or alternatively, use an 8×4-inch loaf pan lined with aluminum foil and lightly greased. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes or peppermint candies liberally over the top. Pop the candy into the coldest part of your freezer and let sit, undisturbed, for 8-9 minutes until set. Unmold or slice into small squares and enjoy!
Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or in the fridge if your kitchen is warmer than 65°F.
Maybe you are thinking about changing the way you eat, whether it’s because you want to lose weight, or because your doctor diagnosed you with high cholesterol or diabetes, or maybe you just want to feel better! This no-cost plant-based lifestyle summit offers you the opportunity to get expert advice.
Shelly has brought together 21 experts in healthy eating, healthy living (myself included Fran Costigan, to share their best advice for transitioning to a healthier, plant-based lifestyle.
When you go to the link above and sign up to claim your complimentary spot on this series of powerful conversations, you’ll hear expert advice from doctors, bloggers, researchers, chefs, and coaches.
Specifically, you learn:
Where to start when transitioning to a plant-based diet, and how to make the transition as smoothly as possible so it feels like a natural progression rather than a sudden change or an exercise in deprivation.
How to deal with emotional eating and food cravings so you can stay on track for optimal health.
The truth about what you should and shouldn’t eat, so you’re never confused or stuck wondering what’s “okay,” and what isn’t.
Delicious, nutritious substitutions for your favorite foods so you don’t feel deprived as you strive for better health.
Tips for socializing, dining out, and traveling while successfully living a plant-based lifestyle so you can go out and enjoy yourself without getting derailed.
Nope, you don’t need to spend lots of time in the kitchen on February 14th making a special vegan Valentine’s Day dessert—and that means not having to clean up very much either! For me, overly rich food and dessert do not a romantic evening make.
Personally, I often prefer my own home-cooked meal and dessert, and I definitely don’t want to feel tired or stressed from a lot of fussing for February 14th, aka, the love holiday. Instead, why not dazzle your date – or yourself – with a delicious, homemade-but-super-fast-and-easy dessert?
Here are my 10 top picks for quick and easy vegan Valentine’s Day treats from breakfast through nightcap. I’d love to know what you think.
Photo by Hannah Kaminsky
10 Easy Chocolate Recipes for a Vegan Valentine’s Day
For the “I want chocolate for breakfast” crowd
Photo by Charity Burggraaf for the Theo Chocolate Cookbook
A small portion of this of this rich-tasting No-Cook Vegan Chocolate Pudding will satisfy your chocolate cravings. This recipe is from my Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival dessert demo.
Three Sisters Soup at the Heard Museum
I was delighted to be invited back to do a dessert demo at the Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival by the founders, Sarah Feoli and Nira Palidowa, of US Veg Corp. This time I added time to visit the Heard Museum, one of the preeminent museums for the presentation, interpretation and advancement of American Indian art. My sister-in-law Linda, a department chair at ASU, said lunch at the museum’s outdoor cafe was a must, and it was. The setting is heavenly, and many vegan options made choosing a dish difficult. I opted for the Three Sisters Soup, but the Dreamcatcher Salad, Roots and Shoots, and Market Plates were very appealing. We sat in the bright sun on Thursday, as evidenced by the shadow on my soup.
Sculpture at the Heard Museum
Sculpture at the Heard Museum
Friday night my generous Arizona Veg Fest assistant, and friend, Noemi Garcia got me to the 24 Carrots Café in Tempe. Chef-owner Sasha had invited me and Victoria Moran to speak about our vegan journeys. This was super enjoyable in the company of new and longtime friends, and a current Essential Vegan Desserts student, David, and his wife. This was so much fun that I stayed longer than intended, given my early call at Good Morning Arizona on Saturday.
Fran with Victoria Moran and chef Sasha at 24 Carrots
Saturday morning Noemi met me at the studio and we set up for my segment in record time. It was really fun and I especially loved it when the delightful host, Lina de Florias tasted a Brownie Bite and said, “Wow, you’d never know what’s not in them!” Another myth busted with the help of chocolate—yes, vegan food tastes good! We talked about the Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival, and after Noemi and I packed up and loaded her car with props, she took me to the Phoenix Farmers Market. I bought Anasazi beans, one of the best breads I’ve tasted and a vegan pepperjack cheese. These cauliflowers were irresistible and the purple one became dinner! I went back to Linda’s home to gather my gear for the fest.
Fran with Good Morning Arizona anchor Lina de Florias
Filming Good Morning Arizona
Noemi Garcia, VLC at the Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival
As it happens sometimes at classes and demos, a recipe has to be changed on the fly and that’s just what I did this time. I made a number of changes to the vegan chocolate pudding recipe as I was making it, and the attendees loved the result. I promised to post the recipe in a blog post, which is what I am doing today. Noemi tasted along the way—it’s safe when no eggs are involved—and we tweaked until the pudding was right. Then we compared notes about what I’d done.
Why’d I change the recipe to make a brand new vegan chocolate pudding? Well, as I teach attendees of Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan Academy in my presentation How to Produce a Vegan Cooking Demo For Everyone, you’ve got to gather detailed information about your venue before you can plan the menu. Here, I decided it would be better for me to make a high-speed blender vegan Chocolate Pudding instead of one that would need cooking. Using the Vitamix in the tent made quantity samples easier to make than the food processor I used to recreate the pudding at home.
I suggest you try this vegan chocolate pudding recipe as written here the first time around, but feel free to change up the spices, add sweetener, use coffee instead of plant milk, and so on. If you swap peanut butter for the almond butter—well, hello chocolate peanut butter cup pudding. Get creative with add-ins and-ons: chopped nuts, cacao nibs or grated chocolate, fruit, cookie, cake crumbs, granola will all work.
At the demo, the Vanilla Pastry Cream I started to make became a chocolate cream with the spontaneous addition of cocoa powder and a bit of organic sugar. The Vanilla Cream recipe can be found here.
Fran’s Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival No-Cook Vegan Chocolate Pudding
6 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder, or use raw
3 tablespoons coconut sugar or maple sugar
1 1/2 tbsp tamari or shoyu
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract scraped
6 to 8 tablespoons almond or soymilk, more as needed to adjust consistency
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
pinch sea salt
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut butter, optional
Puree the almond butter, date paste, cocoa powder, sugar, tamari, vanilla and almond extracts in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add 6 tablespoons of the plant milk, the chili powder, cinnamon and salt, and blend or process until creamy.
Taste the pudding and add more spice and / or more sweetener. If you want a still richer pudding, add the coconut butter.
Before removing the pudding from the food processor, spoon a small amount into a small cup. Refrigerate for 15 minutes in order to judge the final consistency. If the pudding is too thick, add more plant milk.
Chill for about an hour before serving in small bowls, with any of the following toppings, or your own choice: vegan cream, cacao nibs, grated chocolate, chopped nuts, sliced dates, cherries or berries
This week, I am over the moon with excitement to introduce (or reintroduce you) to one of the most enthusiastic, vibrant, energetic, and fresh voices in the whole foods plant-based scene – the lovely and lively Jane Esselstyn, RN. I met Jane for the first time at the Esselstyn family’s New York home when I was delivering wedding cakes for her brother, Rip’s wedding. (Can you just imagine how excited I was!) I was immediately drawn to Jane, a friendly and charismatic woman with an infectious smile, never-ending energy, who happens to have super impressive –and incredibly eclectic credentials. Jane brings her perspective and passion as a nurse, researcher, mother, and teacher to the forefront of the plant-based movement. Jane’s wildly popular conference Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Autoimmune Disease for Women focuses on the power of a plant-based approach to eliminate this #1 killer of women as well as other preventable, lifestyle-related diseases. Jane claims, “Prevention is the New Cure!” — and the most powerful, relevant, and protective medicine we have is a plant-based diet. I am sure you will enjoy reading about Jane and her journey today. Do sign up for Jane’s newsletter and stay up to date with her events. I hear she may be coming to the Philly area and you know, I’ll try to snag a seat! Thank you so much, Jane, for taking the time to be my January Fabulous Women in Vegan Food guest blogger.
This whole cookbook author part of life hit me totally out of the blue. At least from my perspective. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology of religion from The University of Michigan, a massage therapy degree from New Mexico Academy of Massage Therapy and Advance Healing Arts, a Rolfing certification from the Rolf Institute, and a BSN and RN degree from Kent State University. What says ‘you will write cookbooks’ amongst those degrees? Nothing. But somehow my path lead me to do just that.
Growing up we ate a healthier version of the Standard American Diet; whole wheat bread, Grape-Nuts, bean sprouts, natural peanut butter, skim milk, Yoplait yogurt, cheese soufflés, pineapple chicken, muenster cheese sandwiches, ribs, and cheesecake. As a kid, I never liked meat. I recall my mom nudging me to finish my hot dog; we both cringe at the thought of that now! My brothers and I were all nationally ranked swimmers, so when I went out to Mission Viejo, CA to train for the summer in 1981, I lived with a family who introduced me to beans: bean burritos, refried beans, and hummus. I loved it all. Soon thereafter, because of my father’s research – not because of my new love for beans, we started eating a plant-based diet.
It was a rough start out of the gate: my mom was a miracle worker at figuring it all out pre-internet and pre-Whole Foods Market type stores. At times, it was slim pickin’s being a vegetarian, athletic teen in college. I remember discovering a life-saving option at Pizza Bob’s on State Street. They made an extraordinarily large, spacious Chapatti puff of bread. I recall it being a hollow orb about 10 inches wide and 6 inches high and stuffed with chopped lettuce. I adorned it with their famous marinara which I recall the taste of as I sit here typing. I ate that lettuce filled puff innumerable times in my four years in Ann Arbor.
Each meal, day, month, year, and decade we continue to eat plant-based, the better we get at creating delicious, winning recipes. Nonetheless, it was a shock and honor when my brother Rip ask me, a mom, middle school sex ed teacher, and nurse to help him with the recipe section of Plant-Strong. It was to be the second Engine 2 book, so without hesitating, I jumped at the chance. Our kids were little and whenever a recipe won their approval I knew it was going in the book, see: Bettermilk Biscuits! Rip and I had a blast with the book and were thrilled when Plant-Strong became a NY Times #1 Bestseller.
By this time, my mother Ann and I were in the habit of writing down recipes, and, as mentioned earlier, the longer we cook this way the better we get. Thus, it was time to follow up my father’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, with a beautiful, photo-filled cookbook. What a riot to work on The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook book with my mom. I live next door to my parents – just a wee pine-needled path between our houses. Oh, the number of times we ran back and forth to try, taste, and share recipes. A favorite from this book is hard to choose: see Matt’s Sofrito Black Beans.
Anne and Jane Esselstyn have fun presenting and it’s infectious!
Riding high on girl power, I decided to create a conference called Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease for Women with my great friend and publicist Char Nolan. So many events in the plant-based world seemed to curate men as the speakers and women doing the cooking demo. Enough. There are herds of women out there with compelling voices, research, and experience. Time for them to be featured. We are in the third year of hosting this informative, warm, conference featuring raffles, dancing, grocery-filled goodie bags, tons of food and current evidence-based presentations. This year we have added Autoimmune Disease to the title: see Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Autoimmune Disease for Women.
Meanwhile, Engine 2 keeps powering forward with events, books, and products exclusive to Whole Foods Market. Based on the stunning biometric results seen in our week-long Engine 2 Immersion programs, Rip and I did another book with a lean focus: The Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue. We honestly rewrote this book 3 times. After the invaluable help of conducting 3 pilot studies we shaped it into the fine-tuned, user-friendly guide it is today. A favorite from this is hard to pinpoint as we encourage everyone to build-a-bowl that suits you: see Empower Bowl.
As an RN, I do not work in the clinical setting, but I have been invited to do research with the Cleveland Clinic on two studies involving obese children with high cholesterol. Our first study was a month long and we divided the group in two: one group followed the American Heart Association Diet and the other followed a Plant-Based Diet. What a blast it was to design and instruct the classroom and kitchen curriculum for the plant-based diet. They were champs in the kitchen whipping up hummus, veggie burgers, mango-bean salad, and chocolate (tofu) pudding. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Pediatrics in February 2015. Our most recent study was similar but longer and larger. It lasted for one year and we divided the group into three groups: American Heart Association Diet, Plant-Based Diet, and Mediterranean Diet. This study is yet to be published – so keep your eyes peeled!
What crazy combination of your talents has inspired a favorite recipe?
Jane Esselstyn RN is a fresh, charismatic voice who brings her perspective and passion as a nurse, researcher, mother, and teacher to the forefront of the plant-based movement. She presents her work, research, and high energy demos all over the country. Her annual conference, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Autoimmune Disease for Women, focuses on the power of a plant-based approach to eliminate this #1 killer of women and other preventable, lifestyle-related diseases. Jane claims, “Prevention is the New Cure!” — and the most powerful, relevant, and protective medicine we have is a plant-based diet.
She and her husband Brian Hart live in Cleveland Ohio with their 3 plant-based children. Jane graduated from the University of Michigan, where she competed as an All-American swimmer and varsity rower. Visit www.JaneEsselstyn.com for more info.
Jane has a copy of The Engine 2 Cookbook for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S. residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on January 30th. Good luck!
I met Dustin Harder years ago when I was teaching at New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute and he was a student in the Pro Chef Program. His enthusiasm and sense of humor were simply contagious. In short, this was a guy everyone wanted to hang with. If you haven’t met Dustin in person, you may know him via The Vegan Roadie show. I had too much fun one afternoon filming an early episode of the show with Dustin. I remember his jokes and my learning to say KALED IT!! Dustin’s travels with The Vegan Roadie was the inspiration for his inaugural cookbook, The Simply Vegan Cookbook. One lucky winner will win a copy, so be sure to enter the giveway at the end of this post.
This is not one of the vegan cookbooks that require specialty ingredients that leaves you thinking meh. The Simply Vegan Cookbook takes vegan cooking to a super tasty level with easy, delicious and fun to make recipes. With The Vegan Roadie, Dustin has traveled over 110,000 miles, and visited nearly every grocery store along the way, in his quest to discover which vegan foods are (and which are not) easily accessible. He took this into account when planning the book. His mission – to provide healthful, balanced vegan meals using easy-to-find and affordable vegan ingredients – has been met!
From greens and beans to grains and mains, The Simply Vegan Cookbook is a very comprehensive vegan cookbook.
The book offers:
150 recipes, each with two variations,resulting in a total of 450 recipes
No more than 30 minutes of active time prep time is needed per recipe
Cooking tutorials will improve your skills as you learn to make vegan staples
The Simply Vegan Cookbook gives home cooks vegan recipes that save time, money, and as Dustin says, your sanity.
Vegan Zucchini Cornbread Muffins
I love zucchini bread because it is so moist and fluffy and delicious. I also love cornbread because it’s salty and light. What a sweet partnership these two little lovebirds could have—and now they do. I created these muffins so you can bake them up and take them to a potluck or picnic. Or keep them all for yourself.
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup ground yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
3 cups grated green zucchini
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray, or place liners in the muffin tin instead.
In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vinegar.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, our, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the milk mixture and canola oil to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold the zucchini into the batter.
Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the muffins rise and turn golden on top.
Tip: Grate the zucchini in a food processor with a grater attachment, or use the large holes on a hand or box grater.
This recipe for Red Quinoa and Mango Pudding is my version of the build a burger I encountered earlier this week. Well, sort of. I tasted an Impossible Burger for the first time on Monday. Actually, I shared one with Alice Leung, the chef-owner of Soy Café. We ordered what the menu calls Build A Burger. Add cheese, sauce (the special is not vegan so of course, we picked a different one), and other options, and pay an upcharge for each item. The burger looked and tasted very much like the rare burgers I ate when I was a kid – well, those were not rare, but Impossible comes only ‘rare’.
I think of quinoa as the tofu of whole grains. Use it to make tasty side dishes and as the base of the main course. Cultivated in the Andes for over 5,000 years, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has been called “the mother grain” and “the gold of the Incas.” Technically speaking, quinoa is not a grain, rather is it a seed, but it is used in virtually all the same ways as other whole grains.
In nature, saponins discourage birds from eating the seeds, as they’re bitter and slightly toxic. Manufacturers generally remove the saponins by rinsing, before packaging but some residues may remain. So, rinse the tiny seeds in a fine mesh strainer before you cook them.
Most recipes for quinoa call for cooking the grain, in a 1:2 ration, quinoa to liquid, until it all or most of the liquid is absorbed. I learned a different method, 20 years ago from my dear friend the late chef Shirley King, who learned to cook quinoa from the great chef Felipe Rojas-Lombardi of the Ballroom in New York City. Quinoa was part of his culture, and when he said, “cook it like pasta,” I listened. I save the nutrient-rich cooking liquid to use in soups.
Another big plus to quinoa, aside from how fast it cooks, and it’s neutral flavor, are the excellent nutritional benefits. Quinoa is a complete protein, providing all nine essential amino acids and it is naturally gluten-free.
One cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked or 6 (1/2-cup) servings. Quinoa expands in liquid, so keep this in mind if you plan to add it to a soup, least your broth disappears. I cooked 1 full cup for this recipe, more than I needed since I wanted to have extra for grain bowls later in the week.
Think of this Red Quinoa and Mango Pudding recipe as a basic template. I’ve made suggestions for additions and variations to the simple, creamy, no-or-low-sugar, whole grain dessert too. It’s comfort food, and this week in Philadelphia, with minus 1 temps and my head cold, I needed a big dose of comfort. For the New Year, lighter desserts make sense, but this one could be breakfast or snack treat, too. A small amount of uncooked oats thicken the pudding, a skinny work around, instead of using canned coconut milk or cashew cream.
I used red quinoa for this recipe. You could use brown, but the dish will look bland.
Use scissors to cut the mango. The pieces don’t have to be perfectly even.
The lime juice – please use fresh – perks up the flavor as citrus does, making this pudding taste sweeter.
FYI, I used mango from Trader Joe and Brandless. Both were great.
To cook the quinoa:
Rinse the quinoa in a strainer.
Cook like pasta in abundant boiling water until tender, about 6-7 minutes.
Strain, saving the liquid to add to soups and stocks.
To prepare the mango:
Cut 3 1/2 ounces dried unsweetened mango into 1- to 2-inch pieces, roughly.
Pour enough boiling water over the mango to cover by a scant inch, and soak until the fruit is very soft. The time needed depends on the relative dryness of the fruit. You can do this overnight if it’s more convenient.
When ready to cook, drain and save the liquid.
Red Quinoa and Mango Pudding
With this recipe, I have given you a basic template and then made suggestions for additions and variations to the simple, creamy, no-or-low-sugar, whole grain dessert. This recipe calls for date paste, which I talk about in my Chocolate Ganache Torte blog post.
1 cup cooked red quinoa.
1 cup almond or soy milk
All but 1/2 cup of the hydrated mango ((the remaining 1/2 cup will be garnish))
1/4 cup date paste
3 tablespoons mango soaking water
2 tablespoons oat flakes (oatmeal)
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder, more to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut or cane sugar, optional
Make the Pudding
Combine all of the ingredients except for the lime juice and optional sweetener in a medium saucepan and cook to a low boil over medium heat. Watch out, as the pudding may spatter.
Reduce the heat to low, set a cover on the pot askew and simmer 6 to 8 minutes, stirring a few times.
Much of the liquid will have been absorbed but the quinoa will be still soupy, not dry.
Remove from the heat. Keep the saucepan covered for 10 minutes.
Uncover the saucepan and taste. Add the lime juice, starting with the smaller amount, unless you like the pudding straight from the pot. Add the sugar if you want a sweeter pudding.
Serve the Pudding
The soft pudding benefits from crunch so make it healthy. You can add coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or cacao nibs.
Try something else: replace the mango with pitted, chopped dates or diced sweet potato.
I hope you’ll join me for my live Rouxbe event on Thursday, January 11th. I will be discussing the best fresh desserts to start your New Year with. Bring your questions – I’m excited to talk about the sweet ways too start your year off right! This is a free event, but registration is required. To register, visit https://rouxbe.com/live-events/496
David Lee founded Field Roast after he discovered the Asian tradition of using wheat for protein. What we know today as seitan is known as mein ching, or Buddha’s food in Asia, and it has been around for hundreds of years. David was also inspired the European charcuterie tradition. Field Roast products are a blend of the two customs. I met David about 25 years ago, when he offered his training kitchen to the visiting chefs who were going to be teaching vegan cooking classes at what was the Earthsave Seattle. I was among the chefs, and felt such gratitude towards David, not only for the kitchen, but for the daily purpose of the kitchen.
David is a long-time supporter of animal rights causes and organizations working to end farm animal suffering. In 2011, his work culminated in two humanitarian awards: Farm Sanctuary’s Corporate Leader in Compassion Award and the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year Award, given to FareStart and accepted by David on behalf of the organization.
In the late 1980’s, Chef David Lee decided it was time to change his path and do something good for people. He left the fine dining restaurant circuit to establish Seattle-based FareStart (originally named Common Meals), a culinary job training program with the mission of serving and supporting the city’s homeless and disadvantaged populations. His innovative approach involved cooking nutritious, culturally authentic and familiar foods for those in need.
While he grew FareStart into a highly successful nonprofit, David launched FoodCircle, which was the first and longest running online community of professional chefs and cooks from around the world. The world goes round, right?, and so while I hadn’t seen David since the 80’s, when I found myself going back to Seattle a few years ago to present at the Northwest Chocolate Show, David sent me a message asking if I’d like to use the test kitchen at the new Field Roast facility in Seattle. Well, yes I did, and along with my assistant and David’s I made about 500 dessert tastings. I got a tour the Field Roast factory, led by David, and snacked on Field Roast products in the break room. In our goodie bags, we found then top-secret (at the time) Chao cheese.
When you consider the recent sale of Field Roast, remember that David Lee is a compassionate and ethical man, who works to get plant-based foods to everyone. Field Roast being more readily available is a very good thing for the vegan movement.
Today I am featuring the gorgeous new Field Roast cookbook with a recipe from the book and a contest for a chance to win a copy.
Inthe Field Roastcookbook, Chef Tommy McDonald shares fundamental techniques and tips that will enable you to make your own vegan meats at home–for everyday (sandwiches, burgers, meatloaf) to holiday (stuffed roast, anyone?), as well as recipes for using them in every meal from breakfast through dinner. The 100 recipes are flexible: want to make your own plant-based meats? Great! Want to use Field Roast products instead? That will work too. All you need are grains, veggies, and spices–easy-to-find whole food ingredients for authentic, hearty taste. With basics such as cutlets and sausages, along with dishes like Burnt Ends Biscuit Sandwich, Chicken Fried Field Roast and Waffles, Pastrami on Rye, Tuscan Shepherd’s Pie, Curry Katsu, (and even some favorite desserts), Field Roast brings new meaning to plant-based meat.
Pea Soup with Charred Spicy Sausage
Pea soup is something I grew up eating, and it’s one of the first soups I learned to make on my own. It’s the ultimate in fuss-free cooking. I still make a very basic pot of soup, but it doesn’t take too much effort to really dress it up. Black pepper is, hands down, the most underappreciated ingredient in most pea soup recipes, and I don’t shy away from it here. It’s a great zippy contrast to those earthy, creamy peas. Top each bowl with grilled, sliced Field Roast Mexican Chipotle and caramelized leeks for a most grown-up version of this childhood favorite. Simple soul food at its finest.
2 tablespoons safflower oil, plus more for grilling the sausage
1/2 yellow onion, 1/4-inch diced
1 carrot, 1/4-inch diced
2 stalks celery, 1/4-inch diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons sea salt
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 sprigs thyme
1 pound dried split peas, rinsed, any stones or debris removed
8 cups vegan vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small leeks. cleaned and thinly sliced, after trimming the top at about 1 inch from the tender white part of the leek
Leaves from 2 sprigs tarragon, minced
4 links Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausage, sliced
In a stockpot over medium heat, heat the safflower oil and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and1 teaspoon of the salt. Allow the veggies to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the onion has become translucent.
Add the bay leaves, chili powder, and thyme, and stir. When the mixture becomes fragrant with thyme, add the split peas, stock, and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Stir the mixture, increase the heat to medium-high, and cover. Allow the soup to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then lower heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until the peas have lost their shape and the soup is smooth. Season to taste with additional salt.
While the soup is cooking, in a small skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the leeks and 1 tablespoon of salt. Sauté this mixture for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the leeks become visibly soft,then lower the heat to low, add the tarragon, and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the leeks are lightly caramelized. Remove from the heat and set aside.
On a grill over medium-high heat, brush the sausages with safflower oil and place directly on the grill. Turn the sausages after 3 to 4 minutes; they are finished when hot throughout, usually another 2 to 3 minutes. For this dish, cook the sausages for an extra minute per side to increase the char, as it provides a nice smoky flavor and texture contrast.
Serve the soup in bowls. Slice the sausage and top each bowl. Finish by placing some of the leek mixture on top of each.
Recipe from Field Roast by Tommy McDonald. Reprinted with permission.
I have a copy of Field Roast for one lucky winner this week. U.S and Canadian residents only, please. Follow the instructions below to enter. Contest ends at midnight EST on January 9, 2018. Good luck!
I’m sure that many of you, my dear readers, are already acquainted with a woman I am proud to call a very long time friend, the beautiful and compassionate Victoria Moran. Victoria has been vegan for over three decades, and like me is astonished and delighted beyond measure by the positive changes we see today. Still, Victoria works tirelessly on behalf of the health and care of humans and animals and is reaching exponentially more people with her Main Street Vegan Academy. There, vegans are trained to be Vegan Lifestyle Coaches and Educators.
As the faculty member of the Academy, I can vouch for the excellent program. When I go to New York City to the Academy to teach my class, I often go early and stay after in order to listen to the other instructors.
Together with JL Fields, who is also a Main Street Vegan Academy graduate, Victoria has written The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook. (JL Fields is also a friend—we met a Vida Vegan Con and I was drawn her high energy and big smile, and just-do-it attitude.) The Main Vegan Street Academy Cookbook is an excellent cookbook/guidebook, and I’m so please to introduce to you it today.
In The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook, Victoria and JL, along with over a hundred certified vegan lifestyle coaches, join you in the kitchen as you navigate more than 100 of their favorite plant-sourced recipes. Whether you’re new to the diet or a seasoned plant-based eater, vegan or just veg-curious, their tips, tricks, shortcuts, and strategies will transform your cooking, your eating, and your life. I was happy to offer two recipes to the book, and guess what! My recipes are not chocolate ones.
Anchored in compassion, The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook is more than a cookbook; it’s a complete guide to going vegan, from FAQs, troubleshooting, and menu plans to inspiration and innovations for navigating the culinary, nutritional, and social landscape of plant-based eating.
Embrace a healthier, more compassionate you, with Victoria, JL, and the rest of the Main Street Vegan Academy coaches by your side. Be sure to enter the contest after the recipe for a chance to win a copy of The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook.
PB&J Sammie Smoothie
Legumes—beans, dried peas, and soy products such as tofu—are important sources of fiber, protein, minerals, and B-complex vitamins. This recipe is a great way to get a “bean” for breakfast, because peanuts are in fact legumes! Sure you could have peanut butter toast, but how about drinking this protein-packed PB&J instead?
1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk or other vegan milk
1 ripe banana, chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup ice
1 tablespoon agave, optional
1 tablespoon crushed peanuts, for garnish (optional)
Put all the ingredients except the crushed peanuts in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
Pour into glasses over ice. Garnish with crushed peanuts if desired.
I have a copy of The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook for one lucky winner this week. Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S. residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight EST on January 2, 2018. Good luck!