I love indulging in extra food during the holidays.
It’s easier to indulge without guilt when you’re balancing your meals with lots of vegetables. Although fall and winter produces less vegetables than the summer, there is still a plethora of winter vegetables to explore. Root vegetables like roasted beets are a winter favorite for me. Celeriac too, because it adds so much oompf to soups, ginger for my colds and sore throats, sweet potato because it’s far superior than pumpkin in pies, and of course, carrots.
Carrots are one vegetable that I can remember eating from my earliest days. I am sure we all ate pureed carrots as a baby, working at a juice bar as a teen, I had carrot juice in many cold-pressed drinks and now as a (semi)mature adult, I’ve come to love roasted carrots.
These Honey Roasted Carrots are a healthy side dish to any winter meal because the ingredients are minimal and the carrots are not cooked in loads of butter and sugar.
I read something on twitter recently that really resonated with me. It said, “just like you season your meat, season your veggies! Couldn’t agree more: your vegetables aren’t boring, you just need some spice in your life.
If beef stew had a vegan counterpart it would be my Lentil Stew recipe! Packed with veggies in a savory broth. Meat eaters who are skeptical about vegan dishes will love this lentil stew recipe.
I hated lentils for the longest time. The first time I ate them, they weren’t cooked completely. I was like “..do people really enjoy eating this grainy bean?” I never tried them again, until recently. My favorite Ethiopian restaurant has a lunch buffet for $9 and they serve the most delicious and filling lentils.
On the days when we go vegan, I usually default to simpler dishes with mushrooms or cauliflower but even those take some time. Some days I just don’t want to be in the kitchen, especially after working all day. I want something I can just put on the stove and walk away from for a little. Like a stew. I usually only make beef stews when hosting gatherings because eating leftover beef stew day after day is pretty heavy. But the only dish I could think of that was “like a stew,” for last weeks dinner, was lentils. So I used ingredients I usually add to my beef stew, substituted the beef for lentils and voilà! A hearty lentil stew was created.
Place pot over medium heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, add garlic and onions. Mix until the onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add in carrots and potatoes, stir for 3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, minced ginger, cardamom, and cumin to pot. Stir until the spices are evenly coated around the vegetables.
Pour in the vegetable broth and the crushed tomatoes. Then add in lentils – stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low and let the stew simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until the lentils are cooked through), stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
During the last ten minutes, add the kale to the pot.
Serve immediately. Store in fridge for up to 7 days.
Holiday season is here! And what better way to start the holidays than by sharing 5 recipes that I look forward to every year. Every day of this week (11/18) I will be sharing one recipe a day, of my favorite savory holiday side dishes. Our first savory recipe is non other than ‘Cornbread: A Classic Recipe.’
This light and fluffy, classic cornbread recipe is such a versatile dish. You can use it to soak up chili, eat it alongside your turkey and gravy or serve it with some honey as a dessert.
You know what you shouldn’t do with cornbread though? Add corn to it. I will never forget the night I went out to dinner in Manhattan with some friends to a BBQ restaurant. I ordered some cornbread and baked beans because I was vegan at the time and those were the only dishes I could indulge in. The cornbread looked fine when it came out.. But then I bit into it and tasted literal fresh corn kernels. Needless to say I was appalled.
Cornbread is called cornbread because it’s made of fine cornmeal. This might upset a few people but there should not be actual corn in cornbread
If you want to try something other than biscuits at the table this Thanksgiving, this is the recipe for you.
“Cornbread is called cornbread because it’s made of fine cornmeal. This might upset a few people but there should not be actual corn in cornbread.”
Whisk together apple cider vinegar, almond milk and olive oil until well combined; about 2 minutes
In a separate bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar together
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, little by little, and whisk until well combined. There should not be many lumps in the mixture
Pour the cornbread batter into pan and place in oven for 35 minutes, or until golden. You can poke the center of the cornbread with a fork or a toothpick to make sure it is cooked through. When the fork or toothpick comes out clean, your cornbread is done.
*Cornbread is supposed to work with savory main dishes or it can be used as a dessert. If using as dessert, add honey on top when serving or serve with maple butter.
Fruit in pastries: some people hate it, some people love it. Myself, I am in the latter group.
One of the many ‘odd jobs’ I had in college was working at a bakery on a farm. We did everything from scratch there: picked and washed the fruit, made the dough, baked the pies – everything. Some days, we’d make up to a hundred pies. There was no assembly line, no big factory, just me and three women in a tiny farm kitchen. This was my first baking job and those women showed me just how easy it is to perfect a pie. But that was 3 years ago (yikes) and sadly, I just don’t have the patience for pie anymore. Galettes are more my style. They’re supposed to look rustic and there’s room from error, which is something I appreciate in a recipe because sometimes I find myself doing waaaay too much in the kitchen.
I don’t enjoy pastries filled with just sugar and jelly because I want to feel like I’m getting at least SOME nutritional value out of the food. Sometimes the fruit in pastry’s gets overpowered by all the added sugar so I like my pies sweet but tart.
My Apple Cranberry Galette will give you just that. There’s some sweet and then you bite into the cranberry for the tart – a perfect bite.
FOR THE DOUGH
Learn how to make a galette! My go-to recipe has an instructional video here *
Sweet and tart: exactly how a pie filled with fruit should be!
Keyword: Apple, Galette, Holiday Treats, Pies
Author: Laressa A.
3MediumGranny Smith Apples
1/4 CupLight Brown Sugar
1TbspTapioca Starch (or cornstarch)
1TbspUnsalted Butter, Cold
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When dough is chilled and rolled out, wrap the dough around your rolling pin and place it on your parchment lined baking show (this is demonstrated in the video)
Mix the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugars, and tapioca starch together. Toss in apples and cranberries. Then place the mixed ingredients into the circle indent of your galette. Begin to fold over the sides of the dough. Cut the butter into tiny pieces and place on top of your filling (shown in the photo below).
Bake your galette for 40-50 mins. Serve hot or at room temp.
Store bought pesto is always a mistake and pine nuts are just too expensive. Save your taste-buds and your wallet by trying this quick and easy walnut based basil pesto recipe for your next pasta night.
3TbspGo Veggie Parmesan Ⓥ alternatively, you could use regular grated Parmesan
1/4tspGround Black Pepper
1/2CupExtra Virgin Olive Oil
18Oz.Cheese Tortellini (I used this Wegmans brand)OPTIONAL
In a blender or food processor, place all the ingredients except for olive oil. Start the blender and through the small opening of the machine, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, little by little. Once the pesto is at your desired consistency, place in a jar and store in fridge for up to a week.*
If you’re adding the tortellini, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the container. Drain the pasta and place in a skillet. Over low heat, spoon pesto on top of the tortellini, careful not to break the pasta and not letting the pasta stick to the pan. Remove from heat.
For some protein, I roasted Italian sausage and added that to the dish also. Chicken or shrimp may also be a good protein to add.*I have read of methods of freezing pesto for later use, but I personally have not tried it.
I still remember the first time I tried to make cookies. I was like 8, I bought a pack of M&M’s from Walmart and I was like alright, cool, I just need to add flour water and baking soda and I’ll have M&M chocolate chip cookies.
Fast forward to me baking those monstrosities and hyping them up to my siblings in the process. I remember they came into the kitchen expecting these amazing cookies. I shielded the cookies from my siblings but they saw them and they roasted me. “EWwww what are those?” “Those look nasty!” I was heartbroken and vowed to continue practicing until I found the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Well, I think I’ve found it. If you like your cookies crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, then this easy mini chocolate chip cookie recipe is for you. Using dark chocolate chips in this recipe because I don’t love the taste of semi-sweet chocolate but you can use whatever chip you prefer.
Combine flour, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl with a hand mixer, cream butter and both sugars until creamy, about 3 minutes.
Next, combine eggs, butter and vanilla into sugar mix. Gradually add the flour mix in, about a half a cup at a time. Using a wooden spoon or a rubber baking spatula, fold in the chocolate chip and walnuts. Refrigerate for 1-24hrs.*
Remove cookie dough from refrigerator to let it sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Then preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop tablespoon portions of dough onto baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes.
When cookies are cooled, store in glass cookie jar for up to 5 days (or in an airtight container).To maintain freshness, after two days, I recommend adding in a ripped up slice of bread to whatever container the cookies are stored in.
*I refrigerate my dough for 24hrs – if you’re not cooking the cookies within 24hrs, freeze the dough in an airtight container. Make sure to let dough sit at room temperature, for at least 30 minutes or until you’re able to easily scoop it after removing it from freezer.
Za’atar (zah-tar) is an Arabic blend of spices used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Let me give you a little back story on how these Za’atar Roasted Sweet Potatoes came to be. I had a roommate from Tunisia in college. This girl cooked the most aromatic dishes and they also tasted amazing. One thing she made often was this frittata like dish with tuna and eggs. I don’t remember what it was called, but this is the closest recipe I could find to compare.
One time for holiday, her parents sent an entire box of Tunisian sweets. She made me try every one of them. They were amazing! There were pastries with nuts, jams, honey and my favorite was homemade pistachio halva stuffed into dates. Needless to say, this girl was hands down the best roommate I ever had because we shared a love of food and both enjoyed trying new dishes.
Through her, was my introduction to za’atar. Her version of za’atar was from Tunisia but I use McCormick Organic Za’atar Spice to make my Za’atar Roasted Sweet Potatoes with creamy garlic sauce. Mixing Za’atar with sweet potatoes adds the perfect balance to make this a yummy side dish or main. Za’atar Roasted Sweet Potatoes with creamy garlic sauce
2tspZa’atar Spice (can be found at Wegmans or local Halal Market)
1/2 tspGarlic, minced
Creamy Garlic Sauce
1/2tspApple Cider Vinegar
Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel potatoes and chop them into cubes. Toss with olive oil , salt, garlic and za’atar seasoning. Place potatoes on sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and place in oven for 35-45 minutes (or until potatoes are tender and cooked through).
While potatoes roast, make the creamy garlic sauce. Mix all ingredients together and set aside. Once the potatoes cool, drizzle the creamy garlic sauce over and serve immediately.*
*Only drizzle the creamy garlic sauce over the potatoes if you are ready to eat them. Store the sauce and potatoes separately to avoid the potatoes getting soggy. This dish goes great with fish or chicken.
Texas Cavier is the most refreshing 10 minute dinner you’ll come across (and it truly takes about 10 minutes to make!).
During part of college I lived with my childhood best friend. I was a full-on vegan, she had no dietary restrictions. So, as you can imagine we both were always trying to get the other to eat different foods. I never tried any of her food but one day she whipped up this. I always pegged her for a meat and potatoes girl, like I rarely saw her eat a vegetable. But then one night, she whipped up this. So many veggies and the protein from the beans – it was exactly my kind of dish. So I’ve created my own Texas Cavier!
Sometimes I eat this by itself, sometimes I eat it with chips but either way, you will leave the table full after this dish.
FOR THE SIMPLE SYRUP
2 Tbsp of sugar
½ cup of water
FOR THE “CAVIAR”
15.5 oz. can black eyed peas
15.5 oz can black beans
½-1 can (or whole can) of corn
Half a large purple onion, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
Half yellow pepper, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds removed (optional)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp lime juice
Parsely, for garish
In a saucepan over medium heat add water and sugar. Stir until dissolved and remove from heat. Set aside
Drain your canned beans and rinse in a strainer, THOROUGHLY. Set aside.
Mix beans, corn, onions and peppers in a large bowl. Pour simple syrup over the mix. Add salt, chili powder, garlic powder, lemon and lime juice to mix and toss until well combined.
Use as side dish or main dish! Store in fridge for up to two days.