Deconstructed Vegan Shepherd’s Pie or Broccoli & Mashed Potato Casserole

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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This dish takes a few steps but all are easy.   I adapted this recipe from One Green Planet’s MASHED POTATO CASSEROLE WITH BROCCOLI AND A CAULIFLOWER GRAVY.  I already had gravy in the freezer – leftover from my effort at poutine – seen just below.  It was a leek & sage brown gravy & the recipe is HERE.  When I end up with more of something than I need for a recipe – I often freeze the extra in Ziplock bags that I store flat – so they take up very little space in my freezer – as seen just below the poutine here.  Just squeeze the air out & place it on top of a frozen pizza or some other flat item (a cookie sheet) until it freezes.  It thawed quickly in the bag when placed under hot running water.  You can use this gravy recipe or your own favorite one or the easiest one ever – HERE.

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I wanted to use one of the vegan cheeses I recently bought from Soledad Goat Sanctuary…seen just above.  It is creamy & has a tang sort of like sour cream & I thought it would add a nice layer of flavor & some richness to the potato level.  You can use any soft cheese you like (cream cheese or whatever) or eliminate that ingredient with no real negative impact on this dish.

The nice thing about this dish is that it combines potato, broccoli & gravy in one decadent dish & it is easy to transport to a family or friend’s house as your vegan contribution to an otherwise potentially non-vegan meal.  Meat eaters will love it & vegans could really get away with eating only this & not feeling too ripped off.

I used fresh broccoli but frozen will do – if you prefer it.

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Deconstructed Vegan Shepherd’s Pie or Broccoli & Mashed Potato Casserole

INGREDIENTS

2 large heads of broccoli – cut into florets

10 small red potatoes – cut into large chunks (I left skins on)

1 (14 oz) can of white beans – drained & rinsed

2 cups gravy of choice (two recipes are linked above)

4 oz soft vegan cheese (optional) OR 2-4 TBS vegan butter (or both if you are feeling decadent!)

2 garlic cloves

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1/4 cup parsley

1 large rosemary sprig – leaves removed

small handful of fresh oregano

few sprigs of fresh thyme

2 TBS olive oil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make your gravy.  Set aside.

Prepare the broccoli (try very hard not to overcook it).   Steam or boil it for 2-3 minutes & drain it under cold water   When cool enough to handle – chop it pretty small.  (I take the steamed stalks & blend them into wet food for my dogs.)  Chop the thyme & oregano & toss with the broccoli & 1 or 2 TBS olive oil.  Season with S&P.  Set aside.

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Puree the beans and 1/2 cup almond milk in a high power (or regular) blender until smooth.  (I REALLY love my Magic Bullet that I recently bought at Bed Bath & Beyond for $30 & I recommend them.)  Add the rosemary & parsley & puree them into the bean mixture.  Set aside.

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Boil the potatoes and the garlic cloves until the potatoes are very soft.  Drain.  Return to the pan.  Add the bean puree, soft cheese or butter (or both) & blend with a hand mixer or immersion blender.  Add as much additional milk as you need to make them thick but creamy.  Season with S&P.

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I sprayed my casserole pan with cooking spray but that probably is not necessary.

Spread the potatoes on the bottom.  Top with as much gravy as you like (I used about 2 cups – which was A LOT (though not too much for ME) – so add as much as feels right to you) & then the broccoli.

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Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.  Let it rest a few minutes & serve!

If you have extra gravy, either put it on the table or freeze it.

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Vegan Crab Cake Po’ Boy with Avocado, Purple Coleslaw on a Homemade Pistolette Roll

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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See that gorgeous slaw?   My recipe for it is HERE.  It takes ten minutes & can be made even a day or two in advance.  I used just a hint of Just Mayo in it.  If you are curious about vegan mayonnaise – there is a great article about how the various brands fared against each other & against egg mayo – HERE.

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Because I am trying to spend as little money as possible on groceries & I needed a roll for my Po’ Boy – I had to make my own bread!  I used Deep South Dish’s recipe found HERE for Pistolette Sandwich Rolls.  There were several steps but none were difficult.  Plus – the whole house smelled like freshly baked bread – a WONDERFUL thing anytime but especially in colder weather.  Here are some photos of my process:

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I put a little dish of water in the oven while they baked & they came out golden & crusty on the outside & soft in the middle.  They would make amazing dinner rolls or as an accompaniment to cheese like – maybe – my Vegan Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Cashew Nut Cheese – seen just above.  That is a raw cheese and can be made in minutes.

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Vegan Crab Cake Po’ Boy with Avocado

Serves one

INGREDIENTS

As many Gardein Crabless Cakes as you desire – fried or baked (I fried mine in a little olive oil)

The roll of your choice

Avocado slices

Lettuce

Coleslaw

Sliced radishes (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Assemble your Po’ Boy!  It is just that simple.  Some bread, a bit of lettuce, a few avocado and/or radish slices, your crabless cakes & some slaw!  BOOM!  Enjoy!

I initially assembled the sandwich with the crab cakes whole but mashing them up made the Po’ Boy easier to eat & more appetizing to look at.  It looks like crab!

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Vegan Spicy & Sweet Purple Cabbage Slaw

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is super easy.  I used purple cabbage, carrots & radishes but just cabbage would be fine.

Vegan Spicy & Sweet Purple Cabbage Slaw

INGREDIENTS

1 cup purple (or other) cabbage – shredded

3 radishes – chopped

1/2 cup carrots – grated or cut into matchsticks

1-2 jaleno peppers – diced (seeded for less heat)

1/4 cup vegan mayo

2 TBS relish

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Mix everything up & season with S&P.  Add more relish for more sweetness or more mayo for a wetter slaw.

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Vegan Tomato Basil Bisque and a Grilled Cheese & Chiles Sandwich

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This soup was just a way for me to use up some vegetables & create a creamy, warming bisque – with tomatoes out of season.  Fresh tomatoes would be better but I did not have any & I am attempting to eat only what I have on hand – without spending any money on groceries.  I call it “the pantry challenge.”  I have done it a few times in the past with very strict rules.  This time – I have allowed a few cheats but I am still saving a ton of money.  I have so many leftovers frozen away & so many canned & dry goods – I could literally last months.  The only problem is that produce gets scarce – so – I have allowed a twice-monthly delivery from Farm Fresh to You.  Anyway – I a rambling.

This soup is easy & customizable.   You could sub out or lose a few of the veggie ingredients to suit your fancy.

For the sandwich – I used my homemade Vegan Basil Mozzarella Cheese for Grating & Melting – seen below.

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You can use any cheese you prefer.  I also topped it with some hot green chiles of the ilk seen above.  You can use whatever level of heat suits you.

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Grilled Cheese & Chiles Sandwich

INGREDIENTS

Bread of choice

cheese of choice

vegan butter or cooking spray

Chiles of choice

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DIRECTIONS

Treat a pan with cooking spray or melted butter.  Butter one side of each slice of bread & spray with cooking spray.  Over medium heat, place the UNBUTTERED side of each slice down for a few seconds to warm them.  Then flip one slice, top with cheese & chiles & the other slice of bread – buttered side up.  Grill, flipping a few times & pressing with a spatula until the cheese gets soft and/or the bread id grilled to your taste.

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 Vegan Tomato Basil Bisque

Makes a lot – enough for 4 to eat as a meal or for more people as a side

INGREDIENTS

2 TBS olive oil

1 leek – sliced (or a small onion)

1 red bell pepper – seeded & chopped

3 garlic cloves

5 carrots – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced (optional)

52 ounces of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes (6-7 cups)

1/4 cup or more fresh basil

1/4 cup vegan cream cheese

1/4 cup vegan milk or cream

S&P

Garnish – fresh basil & maybe vegan cream or sour cream

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large stock pot.  Add the veggies (carrots, leek, bell pepper, jalapeno) & saute a few minutes – until the leek (or onion) is soft.  Add tomato sauce & garlic.    Bring to a boil.  When the carrots & other vegetables are soft, add the cream cheese, milk & basil.  Combine.  Now – in batches – blend with an immersion blender or a regular blender.  Season with salt & pepper.

Serve with fresh cracked pepper & basil leaves.  Swirl in some cream or sour cream, if you desire.

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Vegan Basil Mozzarella Cheese for Grating & Melting

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is simply a variation of the The Best Fast & Easy Vegan Mozzarella – for Melting & Grating that I posted almost exactly a year ago (seen just above).  This mozzarella has a very subtle flavor of basil & a faint green hue.  I topped it with some basil & olive oil caviar for these photos.  If you are unaware of flavored “caviars” – you are missing out!  They are very pretty!

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Anyway – this cheese is for grating & melting on – say – pizzas or grilled cheese sandwiches.  The flavor is a too mild to eat naked though it does taste good.  I used soft tofu & Daiya cream cheese in this.   In the future I will use Tofutti cream cheese (because I prefer it A LOT) and silken tofu – so that is what I will recommend in the recipe.  The images below are of the plain mozzarella – to illustrate its melting properties.

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Vegan Basil Mozzarella Cheese for Grating & Melting

INGREDIENTS

1 package silken tofu – drained

1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh basil

3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

1/4 cup vegan cream cheese

1 garlic clove

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp salt

4 tsp agar powder

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DIRECTIONS

Blend until smooth the tofu, cream cheese, milk, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic, fresh basil and vinegar. Transfer to a small sauce pan and stir in the agar powder and water. Bring to a boil on medium, stirring frequently until the agar dissolves & the cheese thickens a bit.

I tried to get fancy with some whole basil leaves to top the cheese but they got mixed in with the cheese when I poured it in my pan to set.  The whole leaves looked pretty when I sliced into the cheese so – if you like that look – stir in a few leaves before pouring into the pan to set.

Spray a loaf pan or small casserole dish or – really – any glass container with cooking spray.   Pour cheese in and place in fridge until completely cooled.

When cooled – it just dropped right out of the inverted pan & was ready to devour.

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Vegan Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Cashew Nut Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK – so – I have really been trying to wean myself completely off cheese.  Very few of the vegan cheeses available are very good (in my opinion).  I am especially not fond of the Daiya products.  Daiya has a very distinct flavor that I find distasteful.  I prefer Parmela Creamery & Field Roast’s Chao cheeses.   I have experimented a bit making vegan cheese myself, the most successful being this mozzarella (seen below).

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I recently ordered some vegan cheeses from Soledad Goat Sanctuary.  They used to make real goat cheese but they went vegan in the past year or so.  I bought the ones you see below.

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While they are all pretty tasty – especially the Chevre-styles – they are textured more like a dip – like hummus.  The cheddar & American styles are a bit more firm – like a spreadable cheese & the chevres are almost runny – like a creamy dip.  I would use the chevre ones in cream sauces.  The other two might make good queso or cheese-based dip – but they will not work for baked things – like lasagna – or pizza.  They would all make a great spread on a sandwich.  The 4 little packages cost $45 with shipping.  So – I think I will wait to find them at the farmers market & taste before I buy & not have that shipping expense.

My cheese here is also quite soft – very like a hummus.  It has some kick and tastes pretty good but – like the Soledad cheeses – won’t work in any recipe where you need grated or sliced cheese.  Still – it is very easy to make.  Adding a bit of salsa to it might turn it into a decent vegan queso.  It was especially easy to make with my new $30 Magic Bullet blender – which I am in love with.  A well-spent $30 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

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Vegan Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Cashew Nut Cheese

INGREDIENTS

1.5 cups cashews (soaked in water for 2-3 hours if you do not have a high speed blender. I did not soak mine.)

3 jalapeno peppers (mix of red & green – if you have access to both) – diced & seeded for less heat

handful of cilantro (& few leaves saved for garnish)

2 TBS lemon

2 TBS nutritional yeast

2 garlic cloves

S&P

1/2 cup (more or less) water

Course ground pepper – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Reserve a few bits of the diced jalapenos & a few cilantro leaves.

Puree the rest of the ingredients in a high speed blender until very smooth  – only adding as much water as you need to accomplish this.

I used a large ramekin to shape the cheese.  Any small-ish bowl will do.

Line the bowl with plastic wrap & spray with cooking spray.

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Place the cilantro leaves on the bottom & add the reserved, diced jalapeno & a handful of coarse ground pepper.  Spoon the cheese in & fold the wrap over it.  Chill until ready to use.  Open the wrap, put a serving plate on top of your bowl & flip it.  Lift the bowl off & remove the plastic wrap.  Serve!

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Vegan Protein Salad Bowl – Chickpeas & Roasted Beets, Ancient Grains (Quinoa, Amaranth & Millet) with Orange Tahini Dressing & Chia Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

images (1)download (1)

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is a really easy salad – especially if you buy already roasted beets or, like me, roasted them ahead & had them all ready.  I used this ancient grains mix (above) but any grain you prefer could be used – like the quinoa below.

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I made the dressing but you could use any dressing you prefer.  I had the gorgeous bottle of blood orange olive oil from my friend, Alyse, but regular olive oil is fine.

How to roast beets:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash beets well.  Coat with a thin layer of olive oil & wrap in foil.  Cook, undisturbed, for at least 45 minutes (it could take much longer for big ones), until a knife pierces one with little resistance. They may cook at different rates.  Remove the skin on each when they are done by just pushing it off under running water.

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Vegan Protein Salad Bowl – Chickpeas & Roasted Beets, Ancient Grains (Quinoa, Amaranth & Millet) with Orange Tahini Dressing & Chia Seeds

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

4 beets – roasted (as outlined above), peeled & sliced

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas – drained

1 cup of dry grains – cooked as per directions

1/4 cup parsley – chopped

Chia seeds (quantity up to you)

for the Orange Tahini Dressing (makes more than you will need for these two servings)

3 TBS tahini

3 TBS fresh orange juice

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 TBS maple syrup or agave nectar

1 TBS olive oil (infused with orange if you have it but not necessary)

1 tsp orange zest

1 garlic clove – minced

1/2 tsp dry mustard

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Plate the bowls by putting some grains, sliced beets, chickpeas & parsley in each bowl.  Drizzle with dressing to taste.  It does not need much.  Sprinkle with Chia seeds.  Toss.

Devour!

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