DDD #117 – Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Casserole with Cauliflower Rice & Sausage

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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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Photo from The Iron You.

Click the image above to watch the video.

The photo just above is from the wonderful blog – The Iron You.  It is their Eggplant Parm Rice Casserole and it is that recipe that inspired mine here.  There are a few subtle changes but the primary difference is that I used cauliflower rice rather than real rice and I made it vegan.  That way – this dish is very light & nearly guiltless.  Is is very easy to make & comes together in less than 45-60 minutes – 30 of which are in the oven.  It is a surprisingly tasty recipe & chock full of fresh vegetables.

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Eggplant Parmesan Casserole with Cauliflower Rice (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower

2 eggplants – cut into 1/4 inch slices

Olive oil

1 cup basil – chopped

2 large shallots (or 1/2 small onion) – diced

2 cups cherry tomatoes – quartered (reserve a few extra to garnish)

2-3 cups vegan mozzarella – according to your preference (I used 3 cups)

1-2 cups grated vegan Parmesan – according to your preference

S&P

1 TBS oregano

1 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

1 cup vegetable stock

1 1/2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce

3 (or more) vegan sausages – cooked

Parsley or basil – chopped as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

If you have a grill or grill pan, spray some olive oil on the eggplant (or toss them in a light coating of olive oil or dressing) & grill on each side until a bit charred & soft.  Set aside.

If you do not have a grill or grill pan – follow Iron You’s oven method directions:  Preheat oven to 400°F  and place a rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease them with vegetable oil. Set aside.
Fill a large bowl with cold water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir until it dissolves completely.
Add eggplant slices and let them sit for at least 20 minutes to draw out the bitterness.  Fish the eggplant slices out of the water, pat them dry, and arrange them on a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the slices turn deep brown on top.
Remove the slices from the baking sheets and carefully transfer them on a plate to cool.

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Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Cook sausages & chop.

Cut the florets from the cauliflower & either grate them on a box grater or using the grater of your food processor (the FAR neater way to go).  Set aside.

Toss the tomatoes with basil, a pinch or S&P & the oregano & crushed red pepper & set aside.

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Heat a TBS or so of olive oil in a large frying pan (large enough to hold all the cauliflower rice) & saute the shallots or onion until soft.  Add the cauliflower rice & the stock.  Over high heat – saute until the cauliflower is soft & the bulk of the stock has evaporated.  Stir in the tomato & basil mix and the sauce.

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Grease a casserole pan (I used cooking spray) and layer 1/3 of the rice on the bottom.  Top with half the eggplant and 1/3 of the cheese and 1/2 the sausage.  Add another 1/3 of the rice, remaining eggplant and 1/3 of the cheese & the remaining sausage.  Top with a final layer of rice & cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the casserole is heated through.

Let sit for 10 minutes & then serve with parsley or basil & maybe extra diced tomato.

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DDD #114 – Rabbit Hole Foods – Vegan Egg, Tuna & Chicken Salads Reviewed

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8-23-18 (20)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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DDD Ep. #36 – Easy Basic Hummus with Spicy Jalapeno

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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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I have a video from my channel for this recipe.  Click the image below to watch & please subscribe!

I am kind of on a Mediterranean kick & am VERY excited to attempt a vegan gyro later today but for now – I post this hummus.  My mother always made her own & it is really so easy – nobody should ever buy any that is prepackaged.  All this requires is 8 simple ingredients & a blender.  I added jalapeno because I like them but you need not.  Tahini is a sauce that comes bottled & is readily available at most large grocery stores and it has a refrigerated shelf life like peanut butter – FOREVER.  So go ahead & buy some.

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Easy Basic Hummus with Spicy Jalapeno

INGREDIENTS

1 can chick peas – drained

1/4 cup tahini

juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp cumin

1-3 cloves of garlic – to taste

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBS olive oil

1-4 TBS water (depending on how thick you like your hummus)

1/2 – 1 jalapeno – use half for a little spice, all for more spice and use even the seeds for a powerfully spicy hummus – or use none at all

Whip that shit up in a blender or food processor.

Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, paprika, parsley or diced jalapeno.  Serve with naan or pita or veggies!

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DDD #35 – Vegan Butter Chicken & Chickpeas

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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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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 blog is 5 years old today!   And my Youtube channel just hit 1000 subscribers!  I am very happy about both milestones.

I have a video on my Youtube channelwww.VideoVegan.com for this.  Click the photo below to watch & please subscribe!

I have really become obsessed with my slow cooker.  Slow cookers – as I have many.  The one that I can set to cook for 5 hours & then just keep the food warm is the best because I can set it & go to work & come back 10 hours later to a house that smells delicious & a warm meal waiting for me.  If you don’t have a low cooker – I really encourage you to get one.  Easy doesn’t get easier than a recipe like this one.  Just throw everything in & set the timer for 5 hours & that is it.

I used Beyond Meat vegan chicken because it is, hands down, the best fake chicken on the market.  But you could use real chicken or just use chickpeas.  Your call.

I used two kinds of saffron:

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That Golchin liquid stuff is affordable (under $10) and is GENIUS.  If your store doesn’t carry it – buy it on Amazon or something.

The saffron threads are delicate & lovely but very costly.  They were part of a gourmet gift box I was given for my birthday – and not usually on my shopping list.  Either or both of these work – but I suggest trying to use one – because saffron is such a specific & lovely flavor & adds gorgeous color – but it isn’t really critical for this dish to be a success.  So – if you don’t have it, don’t like it, can’t find it – blow it off.

I used dry chickpeas because I am delighted by how cheap they are & I like that they have been processed less & have no added sodium.  But – if you want to use canned ones – go ahead!  This could be made stove-top easily with canned beans – just don’t add the 4 cups of water.

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Vegan Butter Chicken and Chickpeas for the Slow Cooker

Feeds a LOTTA folks – maybe 8-10 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry chickpeas (or 4 cans – but if you use canned chickpeas – eliminate the water here)

3 cups water (4 cups if you are gonna leave it for 10 hours – like I did)

9 ox vegan chicken

2 jalapenos (red or green) – seeded & diced

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS ginger – minced

8 oz tomato sauce (I used a homemade arrabbiata)

6 oz tomato paste

14 oz can lite coconut milk

1/2 tsp crushed saffron threads (optional)

3 TBS saffron liquid (optional)

1 TBS garam masala

1 TBS curry powder

1 tsp chili powder

1 TBS turmeric

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

garnish – cilantro, scallions, yogurt (vegan or otherwise), cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & set on high for 5 hours.

If you are using canned chickpeas – do not add water.  As you see above – this recipe has lots of gravy (the upper picture is before it cooked & the other is how it looked 10 hours later).  If you want  it thicker – whisk some cornstarch (2-3 TBS) into a little water & stir it in.  It should thicken up.  If it is too thick – add water.

Serve over rice & garnish at will.

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DDD #34 – Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

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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.

The video for this recipe is up on the Youtube channel.  Click the image below to watch & please subscribe!

So – flipping around the internet, I came across a recipe from a blog I love.  The blog is Pinch of Yum.  I love the blog because the photographs are mercilessly lush & gorgeous.  About a year ago, she posted her “life-changing 30 minute masala sauceand the photos are so great – I just could not get the recipe out of my mind – so – I made it!  She offers the recipe for a masala paste & then how to make a sauce from the paste.  She served the sauce over her “30-minute vegetarian meatballs.”  I did not have the ingredients for the meatballs so I decided to serve my sauce over Gardein beefless tips & chickpeas.

The paste is SUPER easy.  You just whip it up in a food processor.  The sauce is super easy, too, and she is right!  It is delicious!  You could serve the sauce over any meat or meatless meat or veggie or even rice or pasta you desire.  The paste makes a lot so maybe freeze some.

I did not have onions so I used shallots & scallions.  I used two tomatoes & some tomato paste in place of her suggested 1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth – just because that was all I had.  Worked out great!  I recommend you make this sauce & follow her blog.  It is really wonderful!

Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan beef (or other vegan meat)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas – drained
for the masala paste
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, crushed
3 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
a small pile of of cilantro stems
a fistful of almonds
juice of one lemon
for the masala sauce
1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt (taste and adjust)
GARNISH – cooked rice & cilantro
DIRECTIONS
Pulse all the ingredients for the Masala Paste in a food processor until smooth.  Put it into a container for storage in the fridge or freezer – reserving only 1/4 cup of the paste for this recipe.  The rest is extra!
Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet. Add 1/4 cup masala paste to the skillet and with a little bit of oil and stir around in the pan until fragrant (3-5 minutes).  Add the tomato puree and water and simmer until t’s a rusty-deep-red color – about 5-10 minutes.  Add the beef & chickpeas.  Add the coconut milk; simmer for 10 minutes or so until thick and creamy.  Longer simmer = thicker and better flavor.
Serve over warm rice & garnish with chopped cilantro.

DDD #33 – Vegan Creamy Avocado & Spinach Pesto for Pasta

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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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I have a video on my Youtube channel for this recipe.  Click the image below to watch & please subscribe.

This is a 5 minute recipe so – if you can boil pasta & own a blender – you can make this dish.  I had an avocado that was about a day past its prime & loads of spinach – so this was born.  I used a few serrano peppers for heat but that it totally optional.

*NOTE – I also used fresh basil that I had frozen a few weeks ago.  Worked great – so – if you are ever wanting to preserve fresh herbs so they do not go to waste – they can be frozen & then used in pestos & sauces.

Vegan Pasta with Creamy Avocado & Spinach Pesto

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta – cooked as directed

1 large avocado

2 packed cups of fresh spinach

2 garlic cloves

1/4 packed cup fresh basil *See note above

2 serrano or jalapeno peppers (optional) – seeded

1/2 to 1 cup vegan Parmesan (or nutritional yeast or a combo) – quantity to your taste

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Blend everything except the pasta in a blender or food processor.  Season with S&P & adjust anything else to suit your fancy.

Toss with warm pasta.

See?  EASY!

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DDD Ep. #3 – Vegan Chicken Piccata

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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

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I am sharing this recipe from May 2014 because I have a new episode of my new Youtube show – Delightful Delicious Delovely & Video Vegan to go with it.  Check out the on-camera recipe here (and lease subscribe to my channel):

I always adored chicken piccata.  I love capers, I love lemon and, defiantly, I love parsley!  But, about 25 years ago, I gave up meat from mammals & poultry.  “Meat from mammals” sounds like something they found at Jeffrey Dahmer’s because – well – that IS what they found there.  But I mean I gave up red meat which, sorry folks, includes pork, and I gave up chicken & the like.  I only gave up seafood this year (because of lots of things but Fukushima was the last straw).

I miss the oddest things from the meat & chicken world.  Costco hotdogs.  Big Macs (which I would no longer eat because of pink slime etc – even if I ate meat).  Really, really rare steak.  Any real selection of any ethnic food beyond Indian.  Tacos (fish tacos).  Street cart kinda food.  And chicken piccata.

So – with all this fake meat suddenly deluging the market – I have begun to get quite busy experimenting with it.  In the past, fake meat was seitan or tempeh – which I find have flavors too specific to mask easily and tofu which has always underwhelmed me- and now soy is all GMO & shit & so I try to avoid that, too.  Then there are veggie burgers & veggie dogs – which are reasonable replacements for the real thing but they can’t be turned into chicken piccata.  And the fake breakfast sausage patties they make are great!  A decent fake bacon is still an apparition on the horizon – except for the chemical-burn inducing Bacos – which I have been known to eat, by the jar, with a bottle of red.

Sometimes, I am really gross & pathetic.

Anyway, it seems that overnight – there is a selection of fake meats in even the most mainstream supermarkets and I have been having great success with them!  Look at how delicious a vegan chicken (firecracker chicken) can be!

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Prefer beef?  Behold!

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HERE are some other vegan chicken selections from my recipe book.  And HERE are some vegan beef ones.

 

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OK – so – chicken piccata!  OK – the first time I attempted it this week – I used these cutlet things because they seemed to replicate real chicken piccata visually better.

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So – I whipped them up into a piccata & made myself that garlic baby broccoli, and some lemon-basil baby squash & some jalapeno mashed cauliflower – plated it up & commenced photographing it.  Here are the results:

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While this was all very delicious (though these cutlet-style pieces retain some of the stronger and not altogether awesome flavors of earlier faux meat products) – I did not like the darkness of the “chicken” piccata in these photos.  So – I endeavored to make it again using some chicken strip-style faux meat I had.

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I picked around in this bag & pulled out all the larger strips I could find.  I used about half this bag in the recipe here.  (UPDATE – I would suggest using Beyond Meat – if you can find it near you.)

And look at how convincingly it looks like chicken once it is cooked!  Isn’t that amazing?  I am very excited about this & VERY glad I attempted this recipe a second time.  This brand of fake chicken tastes way better than any of the Gardein products I have tried but Simple Truth products are really Kroger products & this Simple Truth folks were recently exposed as being lying motherfuckers.  Or MISLEADING motherfuckers, at the very least.   Read about the lawsuit HERE.  And PS – I once bought a few cans of Kroger pitted black olives & they tasted SO MUCH like chemicals – I actually returned the unopen cans for a refund.  That marks my ONLY return of a grocery item in my life!  I avoid Kroger now whenever I can (no pun intended!).  🙂  So – I still highly recommend the Trader Joe’s faux beef & chicken products & the Beyond Meat stuff that the coupon above is for.

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Chicken piccata is a dish that allows a bit of wiggle room.  I REALLY like capers & I love lemon – so I go heavy on these.  I will admit, I actually used real butter here but a vegan option is perfectly fine.  There is a shallot in my pictures but I forgot to use it.  Oops!

Say – have you heard?  I wrote a comedy NOVEL!!!!!  Go to http://www.BathingBook.com & find out more – and maybe BUY it!  The reviews on Amazon are pretty awesome!

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Vegan Chicken Piccata

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

About 1/2 lb of vegan chicken (like Beyond Meat)

Flour

2 lemons – one sliced into thin rounds.  One quartered for garnish.

1/2 cup Parsley – chopped

2-3 TBS Vegan (or real – if you ain’t vegan) butter

Olive Oil

3 garlic cloves – minced

1 cup dry white wine (or cooking wine) OR 1 TBS Dijon mixed into a cup of water

Capers (I used 1/2 of a 4 oz jar – but I LOVE capers!)

Vegetable bouillon (I used 1/2 of one of the large ones seen below – enough for 1 cup stock – and I am not certain they are vegan)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Toss the faux chicken in enough flour to lightly coat the pieces.  Add some S&P & toss.

In a large saute pan, heat about 1 TBS olive oil & 1 TBS of whatever kind of butter you are using over med-high heat.  Add the fake chicken.  I pressed the chicken flat in the pan.

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My chicken cooked up nicely but I did have to add another TBS or so of olive oil to keep the pan from becoming too dry.  When the chicken (and this would even apply to real chicken) is heated through & browned, take it from the pan & set aside.

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At this point, I added about another TBS of butter & a dollop of olive oil & the bouillon.   Be very careful NOT to burn your butter.  Once the bouillon dissolved, I added the garlic.  After 30 seconds – THIRTY SECONDS because garlic burns fast – I added the wine.  I increased the heat to high & added HALF the lemon rounds and the capers.  I saved the other half of the rounds to put under the piccata when I served it.

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This came to a boil pretty fast & I let it do its thing there for a minute or two until it thickened just a bit.  If yours doesn’t thicken quickly, a few PINCHES of flour whisked in should help.  Add the chicken & a few pinches of chopped parsley & heat it all through.

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Once it seems hot – serve that shit up!   Plate it over a few fresh lemon rounds & garnish it with LOTS of parsley & maybe more capers & a lemon wedge.  This goes really will over pasta noodles or mashed potatoes.  I used mashed cauliflower & I was VERY pleased with myself!   I nice white wine & a veggie side & you are good to go!  Go & buy my BOOK, that is!  🙂

www.BathingBook.com

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