DDD #93 – Vegan Grated Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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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Click the image of me below to watch the sauce recipe WITHOUT the mushroom.  These images here reflect the use of a crazy lobster mushroom I bought when I originally made this recipe.  You need not use the mushroom – in fact – I rather suggest against it because it was very expensive and underwhelming but I include it here, anyway, for the curious & the risk takers.

I went to the farmer’s market for the first time in forever.  Once there, I was reminded of why I no longer go.  IT COSTS A FORTUNE.  Everything seems reasonable until you walk out with fingers screaming from the pain of carrying 400 pounds of produce & $200 poorer.  But it is always fun & there are usually yummy things to sample.  This time there were almond croissants the size of footballs, boxes of mixed mushrooms for $20, some peana & eggphan (I can’t resist misspelled signs).

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There were also golden beets that were larger than a softball and the crazy-looking thing above.  That, my friends, is a lobster mushroom.  It was about the size of a small Russet potato & weighed about 4 ounces.  I asked the mushroom monger what it was & she told me it was a lobster mushroom.  I asked why they were called that & was told that they not only have a reddish color similar to a cooked lobster but also that they have a slight seafood taste.  I had to have one!  I let her pick one out and as she weighed it, I began pulling out ones to pay for it.  I pulled for a while because that fucker there cost me $17!!!  I almost choked at the price but decided it would be a worthy blog post so I paid & walked away – wondering what the fuck I was gonna do with it.

Intimidated by the idea of ruining a $17 mushroom barely larger than my fist, I Googled to see what others had done with them.  I found this gorgeous photo & checked out the recipe at THE COFFEE TABLE COOKBOOK.

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I had the bulk of the ingredients already so I decided to make a vegan version of their FETTUCCINI WITH LOBSTER MUSHROOM AND SCRATCH-MADE HEIRLOOM TOMATO SAUCE.  I simplified the sauce recipe quite a bit but the most interesting thing I learned from their post was the concept of grating tomatoes.  Click that link & see how it is done & how not to grate your flesh into the sauce.  You basically grate the tomatoes on a box grater & it results in a beautiful tomato puree without any skin.  See below.

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I added a lot of crushed red pepper to my sauce which might have been a mistake because the spicy sauce sort of overwhelmed the very delicately flavored lobster mushroom.  The mushroom had only the slightest mushroom flavor & no seafood element at all.   Those photos above are the mushroom cut up.  Looks like chicken or pork – or bread.  It is very light & porous so it reduced to almost nothing in the saute pan.  Overall – I would say there is no reason to pay so much for what amounts to so little.  Regular mushrooms are just as good and far less costly.

I do recommend trying this sauce, however.  I eliminated the dairy from the original recipe & also could not bring myself to add a cup of the precious – a cup of white wine – to the sauce just to cook it off.  I felt the wine would be better used poured down my gullet & I don’t think the sauce suffered and I know I didn’t.

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Vegan Pasta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce & Lobster Mushroom

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

for the sauce

5 large heirloom tomatoes – grated (see here)

1 TBS olive oil

2 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 tsp to 1 TBS crushed red pepper – to taste

10 basil leaves (plus more for garnish)

several sprigs of fresh thyme

S&P

IF USING  – for the mushroom

4 oz lobster mushroom (or 1/2 lb regular mushrooms)

2 TBS olive oil or vegan butter

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 tsp thyme leaves

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DIRECTIONS

for the sauce

Heat the olive oil & add the garlic.  Saute one minutes & then add the other ingredients.  Simmer on med-high until it reduces by about half.  Season to taste.  Remove the thyme sprigs and throw them away.

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for the mushrooms

Heat the olive oil or vegan butter and saute the mushrooms until they are nearly done to your liking.  Add the garlic & thyme & cook another minute or two.  Be sure not to burn the garlic.  Season with S&P.

Cook the pasta as directed & toss with the sauce.  Serve & top with mushrooms & chopped fresh basil.

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DDD #89 – Vegan Spicy Szechuan Lo Mein Noodles with Vegetables

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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 just 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 recipe but truly makes a fuckton.  So, unless you are feeding a large group or intend to eat this for days, consider cutting the recipe down.  The veggies you choose to use are up to you.  This can be made with no veggies at all or with regular pasta.  It is a very forgiving dish.

Click the image above to watch the video.

Vegan Vegetable Spicy Szechuan Lo Mein Noodles

Feeds 10 or more

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 lbs of SOFT (or cooked) lo mein or chow mein noodles or even cooked spaghetti

1/2 lb vegan meat of choice (I used leftover Tofurky ham) – diced (very optional)

for the veggies

2 tsp hot chili oil (or other oil)

2 tsp sesame oil

1 small onion – diced

6 long beans (or other green beans) chopped

1 bell pepper (I used 1/2 red & 1/2 yellow) – diced

1 zucchini – diced

2 dozen snow peas – trimmed & sliced

6 mushrooms – sliced

2 small heads of broccoli – cut into florets

5 or 6 carrots – chopped

1 cup purple (or other) cabbage – chopped

8 oz can sliced water chesnuts – drained

6 bird’s eye chilis – split (optional)

1/2 cup water

for the sauce

2 TBS minced ginger

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice

2 TBS Shaoxing cooking wine or rice vinegar

4 TBS light soy sauce

2 TBS dark soy sauce

1 tsp agave

1 large handful Thai basil (or other basil)

GARNISH – more shredded basil or cilantro, sesame seeds, sliced scallions, lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

In a very large wok, heat the two oils.  Add all the ingredients in the “for the veggies” list.  Heat over high heat for about 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

Add the noodles, faux meat (if using) & everything in the “for the sauce” list.  Combine & heat through.

Serve with your garnishes of choice.

DDD #81 – Vegan Eggplant Timbale with Rigatoni in Vodka Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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Click the image above to watch the video.

A long, long time ago, I had a boyfriend.  And that boyfriend had – egads! – ex-girlfriends.  One of these ex-girlfriends was (and remains) a famous actress.  A beautiful, famous actress.  She had been reaching out to him to “reconnect.”  My boyfriend at the time announced that he would be having dinner with this ex at some point in the future.  I informed him that I would be attending this dinner myself.  He looked at me like I was crazy.  “Nothing’s going on,” he explained.  “She just wants to get together.  We are friends.”  I explained that, as his live-in girlfriend, his friends should be my friends, too, and asked that if everything was so innocent, why couldn’t he just invite her over to our home for dinner.

It took a bit but I won this debate.  The invitation was extended & then the pressure was on.  ME.  On me because I had to cook the damned dinner – a dinner to impress this chick.  I wanted to impress her with both my culinary skills & with the level of our domesticity.  It was a passive-aggressive counter-attack to what I sensed were not entirely innocent intentions on her part.

This was pre-internet and pre-40 million cooking shows – so I had only my trusty collection of cookbooks to consult for ideas.  After hours of deliberating – I ended up making two dishes I had never made before – always very dangerous if making a good impression is your top priority.  I made a two-color soup much like this one (this one here is not my creation):

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Photo borrowed from HERE.

And I made an eggplant timbale as shown here in this blog.  As fate would have it, my dinner was a huge success & the ex-girlfriend was smart & funny & charming & the two of us were quickly gabbing like old friends, nearly cutting my boyfriend from the conversation completely.

And – for the record, ladies (and gents) – this ex-girlfriend never “reached out” to “touch base” again – to either me or my boyfriend.  So – my instincts had been correct.  She had been perhaps interested in rekindling more than just old times.  But – to her credit – once she met me, she was forever respectful and was never again a threat to our domestic bliss.

So – if you ever need to impress someone or scare off some interested interloper from meddling with your love life – serve them this whopper of a dish.  It is far easier to make than folks guess and it tastes delicious – and it is classier than a slap fight & hair pulling.

Also – as an aside, I bought this fucking gigantic can (I know canned tomatoes are bad but sometimes you gotta bend rules) of tomato sauce for $2.69.  That is practically free!  It makes 12 cups of whatever the Hell sauce you are making.  I made arrabbiata (surprise, surprise) and I froze 8 cups of it & used 4 cups of it to make the vodka sauce in this recipe.

Vodka Sauce – large quantity

INGREDIENTS

2 28-ounce cans tomato sauce

1 small onion – diced

1/2 cup vodka (optional)

1/4 cup olive oil

5 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

1 cup chopped basil

1 cup peas – optional

S&P to taste

For a pink sauce (optional) – 1 cup vegan heavy cream or vegan cream cheese

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil & saute the onion until soft.  Add garlic for one minute then add the vodka.  Cook on high a minute & then add the other ingredients, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low & simmer for 30 minutes or more.  For a pink sauce – add 1 cup vegan heavy cream or vegan cream cheese.

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Vegan Eggplant Timbale with Rigatoni & Vodka Sauce

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE TIMBALE:

1 pound rigatoni (or other pasta) – cooked & drained

8 oz vegan mozzarella

4 large eggplants

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/8 cup vegan Parmesan

Chopped tomato or chopped fresh parsley or basil – as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Slice the eggplants into 1/4 inch slices.  You can go the long way or the other way – creating round disks.  (OPTIONAL – Place in colanders or on paper towels & sprinkle with salt on both sides.  Let the eggplants drain for about 30 minutes.  This not only helps remove moisture from the eggplant but also minimizes bitterness. I skipped this step.)

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You can either rub olive oil into your eggplant before grilling or you can dip them in an Italian salad dressing – really just to lubricate them so they do not stick to the grilling surface & tear apart.  Grill (a grill pan works, too) the eggplant until they get nice grill marks on one side, turn them & repeat.  Remove & set aside.

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Cook the rigatoni according to the box directions.  Err on the side of under-cooking – as they will cook more in the oven.  Drain the rigatoni & mix in a bowl with cheeses & 2 or more cups of vodka sauce.  Add more sauce if you like a really wet pasta.  You will have extra vodka sauce that you can use to add as a garnish to the finished slices of timbale or to use in another recipe.  It might be nice to have extra sauce for the timbale when you are in the leftovers phase.

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ASSEMBLY-

Grease a spring form pan & then put some bread crumbs & vegan Parmesan inside.  Swirl the pan to coat all the surfaces.  Throw any unstuck bread crumbs/cheese away.

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Line the inside of the pan with grilled eggplant.  You can either do as I did or, if you have circular disks, fan them on the bottom of the pan & then stick some, overlapping, up on the sides.  However you do it – try to cover every part of the pan with eggplant.  Pour the pasta & vodka sauce & cheese mix in – layering in extra cheese, if you fancy.  Top with any remaining eggplant slices.

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Cover the timbale in foil & place some heavy dishes on top & put in the fridge to compress for about 15 minutes.

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Then – bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.  Let rest, unmolested, for at least 15 minutes and then put a serving dish on top of the timbale, flip the whole thing over & then very carefully – remove the spring form pan.

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Garnish with either grated Parmesan or extra vodka sauce.

DDD #54 – Broccoli & Cauliflower Rice Salad with Rainbow Chard, Basil, Mint, Avocado & Citrus Vinaigrette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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To watch the video – click the image above.

Living alone can make eating all the food I buy difficult.  I buy produce with a thousand inspirations in my head – often forgetting that I have to eat everything I make myself.  That can get difficult – especially with produce like avocados & leafy greens that have a short shelf life.  Yesterday – I made a Spicy Vegan Szechuan Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry (seen above) that used a lot of the veggies I had around – but – it did not use everything.  I also had a lot of leftover basmati rice.  So – I dreamed up this salad.  I used a little (1 cup) of the rice I had.  You could use more – or less – depending on how light you want this to be.  You could also use quinoa or brown rice or some ancient grain of your choice.  Or – as I do in the video – use grated cauliflower in place of rice.  Whatever you decide – this salad is full of nutrients & tastes clean & light & fresh.  If you do not add the avocado – this salad will keep in the fridge for a few days.  Just add the avocado just before serving.

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Vegan “Eat Your Greens” Warm Broccoli Rice Salad with Rainbow Chard, Basil, Mint, Avocado & Citrus Vinaigrette

Serves 2-4 depending on appetite

INGREDIENTS

2 TBS olive oil (or coconut oil)

1 cup cooked rice or other grain (optional) or 1 medium head of cauliflower – grated

1 head broccoli – grated or pulsed in a food processor

1 cucumber – chopped

1 zucchini – chopped

Avocado – amount at your discretion – sliced

2-3 scallions – sliced

1 bunch (6-8 leaves) rainbow chard (or other greens of your choice) – ribs removed & chopped

1/3 cup fresh basil – chopped

1/3 cup fresh mint – chopped

Pepitas (or other nuts) – amount at your discretion

GARNISH: basil, mint, lime wedges

for the dressing

2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS cider vinegar

2 TBS fresh lime (or lemon) juice (or a combination)

1 tsp lemon or lime zest

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1 or 2 TBS agave (I used 2 but might go less next time)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the dressing together & adjust flavors to suit your tastes.

Pulse the broccoli in a food processor or grate it (grating is very messy).  Do the same with the cauliflower – if you are using it n place of rice.

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Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat.  Add the broccoli & cauliflower/rice & toss.  Add the zucchini & chard.  Add a few TBS water & cover the pan & remove from heat.  You just want to warm everything through & get the chard & broccoli & zucchini wilt a bit.

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In 5 minutes or so – put the rice mixture in a large bowl (or in the pan) & toss in the scallions, mint & basil & cucumber & some (not all) the dressing.

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Put some of the warm salad on plates & garnish with avocado slices, pepitas, extra basil and/or mint, lime wedges, additional dressing & freshly cracked pepper.

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DDD #41 – Vegan Vietnamese Fresh Salad Rolls with Homemade Peanut Dipping Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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.

Click the image below to watch the video.

Vegan Vietnamese Fresh Salad Rolls

Ingredients:

FILLING OPTIONS:

  • 1 package vermicelli rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • Tofu or other protein
  • Basil – fresh (Thai sweet or hot basil is nice, too, if you can find it)
  • Mint – fresh
  • Cilantro – fresh
  • Butter lettuce, washed and separated into leaves – ribs removed
  • Carrots, peeled & cut into very thin matchsticks
  • Cucumber, peeled and cut into very thin strips
  • Avocado
  • Purple cabbage
  • Bell pepper strips
  • Asparagus
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Sprouts
  • Micro greens
 Be sure you have the type of wrappers pictured below (or another brand) and not egg roll or wonton wrappers.  Those are an entirely different breed & need cooking.

Directions:

Prepare the noodles & vegetables in advance – being sure they are washed & dried.  Have a large bowl of warm water ready for dipping the spring roll wrappers.
  • 1  Dip a sheet of spring roll wrapper into water very quickly, no longer than a second or two (or they will get too soggy) and lay flat on a work surface.
  • 2  On one edge, lay a small handful of noodles, some basil & mint leaves, some pressed tofu, some cucumber & carrot strips, purple cabbage, avocado & some micro greens (or whatever fillings you are using) – being careful not to overstuff the wrapper.
  • 3  Roll up burrito style, tucking in the sides, then continue to roll up-but not too tightly or the spring roll wrapper will tear.
You will, no doubt, need a few attempts to get one right. Be patient – it gets easier.  Be prepared to throw a bunch away or to settle for some funky shaped rolls!  They should be served fairly quickly after preparing them. Too much time in the fridge after assembly will dry them out. These can be filled with nearly anything so feel free to get creative!

You can BUY a spicy peanut sauce in a jar or can at most Asian markets or online (for example – http://www.lynmarket.com/proddetail.asp?prod=011152198903).  They are usually quite good, but, if you are feeling motivated –

Peanut Sauce Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter – smooth or chunky
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 TBS low sodium soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • cilantro, crushed nuts or a swirl of sriracha for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine
  2. Garnish with a squeeze of sriracha or nuts or cilantro

Of not in the mood to make sauce – many options are available at the store.

Ninety-Second Video Vegan – Zero-Carb & Zero-Calorie Vegan Shirataki Pho

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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 a redux of my March 8, 2013 post.  I repost it because I made a new Video Vegan 90-second video of the process to make it.  This pho only takes as long as it takes to heat the water.  Check it out here:

OK – I fibbed a bit in the title of this post.  This soup actually has less than 5 grams of carbohydrates & 85 calories.  Still – it is a huge 3 cup bowl of spicy, awesome soup that is as close to guilt free as a bunch of celery and way more satisfying.  Look at the shirataki packaging:

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It is ridiculous to suggest (as the package states) that this is a 2.5 serving package.  I ate two of these in my bowl of soup – so – I guess I had 5 servings, hence the 5 grams of carbs.  Still – zero calories!!

The calories came from a 30 calorie vegetarian bouillon cube, a 5 calorie TBS of sriracha & a 30 calorie TBS of vegetarian hoisin.

These noodles are a kind of miracle but be forewarned – they are packaged in a stinky water that smells very funky & fishy.  I drained my noodles, washed them in water & let them soak in clean water while I went to the gym.  I came back & sniffed & found them still rather distasteful in the olfactory department.  I read that boiling them removes the aroma – so – I made this soup. It was done in the time it took the water to warm just to boiling & there were ZERO funkified elements in the completed pho.  Had there been any lingering fishiness, the sriracha & hoisin would have overpowered it.  But, sincerely, there was nothing yucky about the finished product.  I am going to have to learn to get very creative with these because I just cannot pass up the opportunity of 85 calorie meals that feel like they are pasta-based.

Zero-Carb & Zero-Calorie Vegan Shirataki Pho

INGREDIENTS

2  7 oz packages of shirataki noodles (I prefer the tofu ones to the yam ones)

2 cups stock (I used water & a veggie bouillon cube)

1 TBS hoisin sauce (or to taste)

1 TBS sriracha sauce (or to taste)

fresh chopped cilantro (or basil or mint)

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DIRECTIONS

Drain & rinse the shirataki in hot water.  Put all the ingredients in a pot & bring just to a boil – making sure your bouillon is dissolved.  Add more fresh cilantro.  Shove it in your face like a glutton & imagine your ass shrinking until it looks like this

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(image stolen from the internet)

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Vegan Lentil Meatballs in a Spicy Asian Glaze (Appetizer)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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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It has been a lentil-crazy week here, lemme tell you.  The other day, I made about 10 cups of my Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils.  Then, I used some of the bountiful leftovers to make my Leftover Lentils Red Coconut Curry Beef and Bean Meatloaf (Vegan).  Both are seen just above.  Well, I still had FIVE CUPS of prepared lentils leftover.  What to do?  How many times can one person eat lentils in one week?  And, while they would freeze well, my freezer is busting at the seams with leftovers.  So – I decided to make party appetizers.  And these are GOOD!  Very easy & great for a crowd & healthy & yummy & vegan!  Just mix up the ingredients, bake them for 10-15 minutes – drizzle the glaze & serve!  Mmmmmm!

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Vegan Lentil Meatballs in a Spicy Asian Glaze

Makes about 50 meatballs

INGREDIENTS

5 cups prepared lentils in their thick sauce (or about 1/2 of this recipe – Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils)

1 TBS olive oil

1 small onion – diced

10 mushrooms – chopped

3 scallions – chopped

5 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

2 eggs (whatever vegan replacer you use – I used Neategg)

1 cup panko crumbs (more or less – depending on how wet your lentils are)

2 TBD sesame oil

3 TBS vegan hoisin sauce

for the spicy Asian glaze

2/3 cup hoisin sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp ground ginger

GARNISH – sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions

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DIRECTIONS

for the glaze

Combine ingredients in a shaker or whisk in a bowl.  Set aside.

for the meatballs

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the lentils according to my recipe or your own favorite recipe.

In a saute pan, add the olive oil & saute the onion, mushrooms & scallions until soft.

Add the onion mix to the prepared lentils. Add the remaining ingredients for the meatballs.  Make balls that are 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter & place them on a greased cooking sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes -depending on how large & we they are.  When they are getting crusty on the outside – taste one & be sure they are done to your liking.  When they are ready, put them on a plate.  Drizzle with sauce & garnish with sesame seeds & scallion slices.

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