10-Minute Vegan Avocado, Lemon & Caper Pasta

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Another quick & easy one.  I used salted capers soaked in water for a few minutes but I think, when I make this again, I will use the more sharply-flavored traditional capers in brine.   This dish takes only as long as it takes to cook your pasta.

10-Minute Vegan Avocado, Lemon & Caper Pasta

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb dry pasta of your choice

2 avocados – cubed

Zest & juice of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves – minced

2 or more TBS capers (depending on your taste for them)

olive oil

Basil – chopped

Parsley – chopped

S&P

Crushed red pepper – optional

Lemon wedges as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta.

While it cooks – heat a TBS or 2 of olive oil in a small pan.  Add the garlic, capers & 1 of the cubed avocados.  Stir & heat for 1 minute & add the lemon zest & maybe a squeeze of lemon juice.  Set aside.

Drain the pasta and toss with the warm avocado, caper & olive oil mixture & some S&P.  Add crushed red pepper for a little kick.  Garnish with the second cubed avocado & the parsley & basil and lemon wedges.

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Marinated Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Portobello mushrooms are a great meat substitute.  You can eat them hot or room temperature – in a salad or on a bun.  I sliced mine up & tossed them with the extra marinade & some heirloom cherry tomatoes, arugula & a few scallions.  It was like a vegan steak salad!  Mmmmmm!

Marinated Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 large portobello mushrooms

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup nice balsamic vinegar

1 TBS sambal oelek or sriracha

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

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DIRECTIONS

Cut the stems from the mushrooms & scrape the fine ribs from the bottom – as they can get bitter.

Mix the marinade ingredients & toss the mushrooms in it & let them sit at least an hour.

Heat your grill or dry grill pan until it is very hot.  The mushrooms should sizzle upon contact.  Cook 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve whole or sliced – any way you prefer.  You can drizzle the extra marinade on them – if you like.  Eat’m up!

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Spicy Vegan 24-hour Maple Rye Whiskey & Sriracha BBQ Beef & Beans

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I have found that great northern beans take a lot longer to get tender than other beans, like black beans or black-eyed peas – so I like to cook them for days.  Literally.  That is not a necessity but long cooking times have their rewards.  My Vegetarian (Vegan) Crock Pot Spicy Barbecue Baked Beans for the Slow Cooker with Bourbon cooked for four days & still were more al dente than my boyfriend would tolerate.  But – he is a finicky eater & likes his things the way he likes them.  I found the beans to be perfect.

This recipe cooked for about 30 hours & I found the beans perfectly cooked.  Another important result of the long cooking time is is gives the beans a chance to absorb that rich brown color we have come to expect for barbecue beans.  Also – your house smells delicious.  You can used canned beans & do this stove-top (using far less of the fluid elements) but I really recommend giving this recipe a shot – using dry beans & cooking the bejesus outta them.

 I added Beyond Meat beefy crumbles to give the dish a more chili-like result and I like how it turned out.   I used beer & whiskey – you can leave these out if they do not appeal to you.  I used this Stubbs spicy BBQ but any brand you prefer will work.

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Spicy Vegan 24-hour Maple Rye Whiskey & Sriracha BBQ Beef & Beans

feeds 10+ as a side dish

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry white beans (soaked in water overnight or quick-soaked)

9 oz vegan beef crumbles

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

3 jalapeno peppers – sliced (seeded to reduce heat) (less to reduce heat)

1/2 cup maple rye whiskey

1/4 cup sriracha (less to reduce heat)

1 12 oz bottle dark beer

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup BBQ sauce

3 TBS Dijon mustard

3/4 cup brown sugar

6 cups of vegetable stock (this might be more or less than you need – depending how long you cook your beans so add it in increments)

3 TBS Worcestershire Sauce (vegan version) – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high all day.  Leave it on WARM overnight & then crank it up again.  If it gets too thick – add water or veggie stock.  If it is too thin, take the lid off the cooker & let it boil down.

It is really that easy.  If you are using canned beans or do not intend to cook the beans 24+ hours – start with less stock & add incrementally, as you need it.  Easy peasy!

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Vegan Tuscan Two White Bean Soup with Turnip Greens for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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OK – another easy & delicious one.  Makes a boat load so get ready to freeze some.  I made this by basically throwing every bit of produce I had in my house into a crock pot & going to work.  And – as I love to do – returned many hours later to a home that smelled like somebody that loved me had been here cooking for me all day.  The ingredients are flexible so do not worry if you are missing a few or want to add others.

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Vegan Tuscan Two White Bean Soup with Turnip Greens for the Slow Cooker

Makes a shitload so use a large slow cooker

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry large lima beans (or other white bean – but these get so creamy – I really suggest them)

1 cup dry cannellini or great northern beans (or other white bean)

1 large onion – diced

1 bunch turnip greens – chopped

1 red bell pepper – seeded & chopped

4 carrots – sliced

4 celery stalks – chopped

4 sprigs fresh oregano

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 cup parsley – chopped

1/4 cup basil – chopped

4 bay leaves

2 tsp dry sage

2 tsp dry thyme

12 cups vegetable stock

S&P

Garnish – more parsley or basil or grated Parmesan (vegan or otherwise)

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high for 8 hours.  Alternatively – you can wait until it is about 30 minutes from being done before you add the fresh basil, parsley & the chopped turnip greens.  This will allow them to keep their color & flavor a bit more.

Garnish & slurp it up!

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Vegan Beef Dan Dan Noodles (Redux) with Homemade Chili Oil

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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The other day, I posted my Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles – seen above – in the top photo under the one of me.  Today – I revisit Dan Dan – and, this time, I made it with Beyond Meat’s Feisty Beef-Free Crumbles – seen below.

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I changed the ingredients up a bit & I used a homemade chili oil.  Both Dan Dans were yummy – and the “meat” element could be interchanged.  I again used the Chinese pickled radish (where ya cai is called for  – or other Chinese preserved vegetables) – but, though this adds “authenticity,” I don’t think you need this ingredient – not really.  So lose it (if it is hard for you to find) – and make this comforting & yummy dish.

I used chow mein noodles this time but linguine or ramen or any pasta will do.

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Homemade Chili Oil

INGREDIENTS

1 cup oil (I used half grapeseed oil & half olive oil but any lightly flavored oil will do)

1/4 cup crushed red pepper

2 star anise

1 inch cinnamon stick

2 TBS whole Szechuan peppercorns

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DIRECTIONS

Combine in a pan & heat until it boils – and turn off heat.  Let it sit until it cools.  With a slotted spoon, remove the star anise & the cinnamon.  Put in a jar & chill.

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Vegan Beef Dan Dan Noodles (Redux)

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb noodles (cooked as per directions)

2 heads Bok choy (optional)

for the meat

9 oz vegan beef crumbles

3-4 oz mushrooms – sliced

1 TBS sesame oil

2 tsp tahini

1 TBS chili bean sauce

2 tsp Shaoxing rice cooking wine (not vinegar)

1 tsp dark soy sauce (or regular or tamari)

1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice

1/3 cup ya cai or other preserved Chinese vegetables (optional)

4 garlic cloves – minced

for the sauce

2 TBS tahini

3 TBS soy sauce (or tamari)

2 tsp sugar

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced

1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice

1/2 tsp ground anise or Szechuan peppercorns (I ground mine with a mortar & pestle)

2 TBS chili oil (recipe above) – more if you like spice & are not worried about the dish being more oily

2 garlic cloves – mined

1 cup vegetable stock or pasta water or water

GARNISH – red or green diced jalapeno, cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

for the meat

Heat the sesame oil in a saute pan & add all the other ingredients.  Heat through & set aside on the lowest heat.

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for the sauce

Heat all the ingredients together & bring to a boil.  Set aside on lowest heat.

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Cook the noodles – adding the bok choy (if you are using it) to the final minute of the cooking pasta.

Drain & assemble the Dan Dan.

Ladle sauce into two bowls.  Top with noodles & bok choy & the meat mix.  Garnish.  Eat.  Rejoice

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Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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OK – I had never heard of Dan Dan noodles but they are, it seems, a Chinese staple & even on the menu at P.F. Chang’s.  I began researching recipes & they seem to vary a lot – going from a pho-like soup to a drier noodle dish.  Spices varied a lot but they all seemed to have a preserved vegetable thing in them.  I went on Amazon looking for “ya cai” (preserved mustard greens) or “tianjin” (preserved cabbage).  I thought I bought some of one or the other but this is what showed up.

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So – fuck it.  That is what I used.  I used light & dark soy sauces but regular would likely be fine.

You really should use Szechuan pepper (anise) and dried red chilies for the heat & flavor factors.

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And I used this chili oil – which is not the right kind.  I will be making my own chili oil today so I can try a new version of Dan Dan tomorrow!

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I used these fresh egg noodles – but any noodle would work.  If you are vegan, obviously, egg noodles are NG.  Use fettuccine or ramen or chow mein noodles – or whatever you prefer.

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The revelation here is the jackfruit – above.  I had seen it used online in recipes for pulled chicken & pork but I had no idea where to find it.  Then, at my favorite Thai market, Bangluck, I spied an entire shelf of the stuff.  That can cost about $1.40.

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Wikipedia says, “The jackfruit, also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family. It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day Goa, Kerala, coastal Karnataka, and Maharashtra. The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much as 35 kg (80 lb) in weight, 90 cm (35 in) in length, and 50 cm (20 in) in diameter.[9]

The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Jackfruit is also found across Africa (e.g., in Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, São Tomé and Príncipe, Ethiopia, and Mauritius), as well as throughout Brazil, west-central Mexico, and in Caribbean nations such as Jamaica. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh.

Because unripe jackfruit has a meat-like taste, it is used in curry dishes with spices, in Bihar, Jharkhand, Sri Lankan, Andhran, eastern Indian (Bengali) and (Odisha) and Keralan cuisines. The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first, then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving. Young jackfruit has a mild flavor and distinctive meat-like texture and is compared to poultry. Meatless sandwiches have been suggested and are popular with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian populations.”

(these two images below of the jackfruit tree & the split fruit were stolen from Google)

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jack-fruit

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So – excited – I bought a can.  I was planning on making a Dan Dan recipe with Beyond Meat beefy crumbles but I HAD to try this jackfruit immediately – so – I made Jackfruit Dan Dan.  I opened the can & it looks like that above.  But, it is thready & breaks down the way chicken & other meats do.  Look at these images of cooked jackfruit.  Convincing – no?

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(above from the Chow Vegan)

BBQ_Pulled_Jackfruit_-_Brooke_Letterle (1)

(above from Food 52)

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Jackfruit is the greatest Goddamn thing ever!  Look HERE to see the health benefits – including glowing skin & hair growth – low in calories & zero fat!  Genius!

*Here is a little tip I read today about fresh noodles: if you are using fresh noodles (even fresh spaghetti or whatever) – steam it for 5 minutes & then boil it.  The steaming gives the noodles a chewier texture – more like ramen.  I tried it.  It worked.

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Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb noodles of choice (if using fresh noodles – see the *tip above)

Bok choy

for the “meat”

1 (10 oz) can of jackfruit (in water or brine – NOT syrup)

2 tsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced

3 dry red chilies – cut the top off & shake the seeds out & discard the seeds

1/2 tsp whole Szechuan pepper corns

2 TBS preserved vegetable (ya cai or tianjin, ideally, or the preserved radish I used and I used all 3.5 ounces in the packet)

2 TBS light soy sauce (or low sodium or regular or tamari)

for the sauce

1 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns (I crushed mine with a mortar & pestle)

4 tsp tahini sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 TBS dark soy sauce (or low sodium or regular or tamari)

1 TBS light soy sauce (or low sodium or regular or tamari)

1 TBS chili oil

2 garlic cloves – mined

1/2 cup water (reserved pasta water is best)

for the garnish

chopped scallions, crushed peanuts, Thai basil or cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

For the sauce – mix the sauce ingredients – except the water.  Add the water from the pasta pan after you cook the pasta.  Or – just use hot tap water & make it all at once & set aside.

For the meat – heat the oil in a pan & add the Szechuan & red chili peppers for one minute.  Then add everything else & heat it through.  Smash the jackfruit up until it looks like pulled chicken or pork.  Set on the lowest heat & set aside.

If using fresh noodles – steam them for 5 minutes then put them in boiling water – adding the bok choy – and cook for about a minute or until it is done.  If you were waiting to add pasta water to the sauce – do that now & drain the rest.

If using dry noodles – cook according to instructions – adding the bok choy when the pasta is about one minute from being ready.   If you were waiting to add pasta water to the sauce – do that now & drain the rest.

Ladle some sauce into two bowls, add noodles & top with the jackfruit.

Garnish & eat it all up.

And look back here soon – because I will make another version of this presently.

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Pasta alla Crudaiola with Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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This is the easiest recipe EVER!  The only cooking involved is boiling the pasta.  This is a delicious dish & can be made vegan by simply omitting the burrata – because it doesn’t really need it – but if you are a cheese lover – burrata is a creamy, decadent delight!  I used heirloom tomatoes (actually 2 heirloom & 1 regular) but any tomatoes will do.  Fresh & light & easy.  Yum!

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Pasta alla Crudaiola with Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta (I used orrecchiette)

3 tomatoes – halved – at room temperature (never refrigerate tomatoes)

1-2 TBS olive oil

garlic to taste – minced (I used 2 cloves)

2 balls burrata (more or less – your call) – at room temperature

Basil – torn by hand (quantity – your call)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Halve the tomatoes & poke or squeeze the majority of the seeds out.  Dice the tomatoes.

Mince the garlic.  Put the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, some shredded basil & S&P in a bowl & let the flavors combine – at room temperature – for an hour.

Cook your pasta.  Drain & toss with the tomatoes.  Plate it & add the burrata.  Bust into the burrata & blend for a fresh & creamy sensation!  Garnish with extra basil & lots of freshly cracked pepper.

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