Tag Archives: vegan

Red Curry Vegetable Soup

The first drive home after the switch to non-daylight savings time is always rough. You leave work in twilight, arrive home in total darkness, and feel like crawling directly into bed. Although today was relatively warm (71 degrees!) for early November, a quick and tasty soup still felt appropriate. Here’s a quickie made with leftover coconut milk from the very successful African Peanut Soup we had last week. (Which disappeared almost instantly.)

Red Curry Vegetable Soup

1 cup coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (or yellow, or whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup thinly-sliced carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas

Saute onions over medium heat in a bit of water until slightly soft. Add garlic and remaining vegetables. Stir in curry paste and cook briefly. Add vegetable broth and simmer until vegetables reach desired doneness. (I like mine a little crispy.)

Add coconut milk and heat through for about 5 minutes. Makes about 2 generous servings.

Cilantro Haters: Not for You.

I love cilantro. Everyone in my house loves it too. We can’t get enough of the stuff. But I know it’s a very polarizing herb, and there are a large number of (unfortunate) people who think it tastes like soap. Whatever. That means more for me!

Lately I have taken to buying more than one bunch at a time. If it starts to go bad, I make Cilantro Lime Rice. Just chop up some cilantro and toss it into some rice that you’ve cooked with salt and lime juice. (Do not use the ironically-named “RealLime” stuff – only fresh-squeezed juice, or Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice will do.) This rice is fantastic in burritos, especially with Chipotle Black Beans.

I also puree the cilantro with onions, garlic, other herbs, etc. and freeze it in plastic bags or ice cube trays for a near-instant sofrito.

Like most other fresh herbs, cilantro likes to stay dry. I can keep it for about twice as long if I remove it from the produce bag when I get home, pat it dry, and place it in a plastic container lined with a paper towel. A leftover plastic salad container works well for this.

The most recent recipe I tried, Ginger-Cilantro Rice with Green Onion and Sesame from Kalyn’s Kitchen, was a crowd-pleaser. I should have doubled it because it is great the next day – hot or cold. The sesame oil adds a rich flavor that I always like, and the cilantro is refreshing, as always. I used basmati rice, and veggie broth (of course). I think next time I would add more chopped ginger near the end, to get that spicy sensation of biting into an occasional ginger bit.

I’m Roasting Everything in Sight

It’s the season, you know?

I started the week with roasted yellow and red potatoes seasoned with sage. Then I roasted a large quantity of red peppers (on sale 10 for $10, 11th free, at Meijer). Mmm.

Tonight I roasted some root vegetables: parsnips, sweet potatoes, red beets, and a miscellaneous red and white striped beet – the last of the CSA produce (*sniff*). Seasoned simply, with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mmm.

roasted root vegetables

Next up: butternut squash.

Seitan Chorizo

I can barely live without having these in my refrigerator at all times. They are seriously tasty. The texture and flavor is just right. I think they might even fool a meat-eating chorizo lover if you tucked them into a breakfast burrito with some black beans and rice.

I’ve varied the recipe from mild to extra spicy. I like to use smoked paprika, and add a little extra. One thing is always the same: I have to put it away promptly or I’ll end up eating it all, right out of the pan. It sounds like I’m not the only person with this problem. I recommend doubling your batch.

Seitan Chorizo Crumbles

Thank you, Celine Steen at “have cake, will travel“. You rock.

Spicy Indian Cauliflower

I love this Spicy Indian Cauliflower.

spicy indian cauliflower

It’s so delicious, I could eat the whole recipe. I would probably regret that later. I use less oil than the recipe calls for, about 1/2 tsp just to make the mustard seeds pop. Then I add a bit of water to help distribute the spices. I would serve this with basmati rice, or as a side dish to Crockpot Channa Masala. It would also be good stuffed into some naan or pita bread for lunch.

Chipotle Black Beans

Put some beans in a large bowl (or big pan) of water before you go to bed. Cook them up for breakfast or dinner (takes about an hour) the next day.

CAUTION: The chipotle-scented steam will make your house smell fantastic, but DO NOT inhale it from directly over the pot! I speak from experience.

1 lb dried black beans
1 dried chipotle pepper, broken into chunks
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Soak, drain, and rinse beans as directed on package. Add beans, chipotle, garlic, cumin, and bay leaf to cooking water in a large pot. Cook beans as directed, about 1 hour. Add salt after cooking.

Remove pepper chunks after cooking, or smash and blend into the beans for extra spice. These are even better the next day.

SNAP Hunger Awareness Challenge: Day 2

I woke up hungry, and early. But I had gone to bed earlier the night before, primarily because I really wanted to eat something and I knew I could not. Since it was only about 7am, I decided to hold off as long as I could to eat breakfast. I love oatmeal. This was an especially good-tasting bowl.

  • oatmeal, 1/2 cup: .08
  • applesauce, 1/4 cup: .08
  • raisins, 1/8 cup: .08
  • vanilla soy milk, 1/4 cup: .12
  • breakfast total: .36

A cheap, healthy, and filling breakfast. (I think I’ll be eating oatmeal all week, not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Lunch was a lucky find. I don’t use many processed foods, but at the going-out-of-business sale at Jerry’s IGA (SAD!), we picked up two Taste of Thai noodle kits (noodles + sauce) for $1.99 each (30% off). One box is two servings, and although I ate less than half of the box, I counted the whole serving toward the total. I think it probably compensated for the tiny bit of oil I added to the wok for stir-frying.

You might have noticed by now that I’m not eating meat. Or eggs. Or dairy. I was mostly vegetarian before this week, but today I am also beginning the first week of PCRM‘s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. I had thought it would be a bad idea to do both at once, but as I planned my SNAP menus, I noticed a distinct lack of products like cheese. It’s expensive, not very healthy, and I would like to learn to eat less of it, especially since reading The China Study. So expect more plant-based meals all week.

For this pad thai, I stir-fried an egg and some chicken for the non-veg people in my house, and added it back in after I’d taken my portion.

  • pad thai kit, 1/2 box: .99
  • bean sprouts: .33
  • whole wheat & honey fig bars (clearance at IGA): .66
  • crushed peanuts: .08
  • cucumber & onion salad: .55
  • lunch total: $2.28

Confession: the pad thai plus cucumber salad (cucumber slices + pickled onions from the refrigerator pickle jar) did not fill me up. While cleaning up lunch, I ate 4 whole wheat and honey fig bars, which are normally more expensive – but I had obtained them on clearance from a store that was going out of business. Were it not for luck, I probably would have walked away hungry.

In the afternoon, I grabbed a few pretzels from a large bag for .32.

Dinner was disappointing. I had cooked up some brown rice, and half of a bag of fresh spinach that was about to go bad. I’m trying to get better at using produce before it goes bad, and someone on SNAP would certainly not want to waste food… so I steamed the spinach. I added this to a cup of brown rice, along with some curry powder. Although quite nutritious, the taste and texture were not good. I left about 1/4 cup behind, but counted the full serving toward my total. A person on SNAP would not have the option to throw it out and eat something else.

Thankfully, I was able to eat the ear of sweet corn that my son didn’t want, and it fit into my budget. Still, I went to bed hungry, but probably because I walked for more than an hour after dinner.

  • 1 cup brown rice: .18
  • 1 cup cooked spinach (12 oz bag): 1.29
  • corn on the cob: .25
  • dinner total: 1.72

I usually run at least 3 times a week, but I did not have the energy. My calorie intake for the day was approximately 1260. On day 1, it was even lower, at 1060 – far below my Basal Metabolic Rate. I know I could have easily chosen cheaper, more calorie-dense foods, but I’m trying to eat as healthfully as I can on this budget. I don’t see how anyone who has a physically demanding job or leads an active lifestyle can sustain this level of calories.

Day 2 total: $4.68 (+ $.01 for the week, with leftover cents from yesterday)
Fruit/vegetable servings: about 6 (a lot of spinach)

Crock Pot Channa Masala

PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart begins tomorrow. I’m going to give it a try. I don’t feel like I’m “giving up” all the things I can’t have (or more accurately, that I choose not to have). I see it as an opportunity – for better health, to reduce my footprint on the world, and to discover new tastes. Many of the dishes I already love are vegan. Like this one, a family-favorite Indian dish. It’s easy to prepare in a slow cooker, and the chickpeas turn out perfectly.

If your slow cooker has a removable stoneware crock like mine does, you can even assemble it the night before and store the crock in the fridge, then pull it out in the morning and plug it in. Dinner will be waiting for you, and your house will smell amazing.

Crock Pot Channa Masala

1 29 oz (large) can chickpeas, undrained
1 28 oz (large) can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 black cardamom pods
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
2 tbsp garam masala
few dashes cayenne (or more to taste)

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on low for 8 hours, with the lid off for the last hour so it can thicken. Serve with hot cooked basmati rice or naan, and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.