DDD #28 – Vegan Chicken Shawarma Tacos with Garlic Paste (Toum) & Tzatziki 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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My original post for shawarma (May 30, 2014) only presented the recipe as a traditional pita sandwich.  But – today on my Youtube channel (www.VideoVegan.com) – I offered the idea of making tacos.  They are a revelation!  I recommend them very highly!  Click the image below to watch the video & please subscribe to my channel.

OK!  There are not a lot of foods I really miss since I gave up meat 25 years ago but gyros & shawarma are two things definitely on the “miss list.”

I used Beyond Meat vegan chicken & I recommend it very highly – though you can use another brand.  At any rate – whatever you use – the longer you marinate if for the better – overnight being optimal.

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I made the garlic paste (or a version of it) that they serve at Zankou chicken, here in LA.  It is a bright, white paste that has a bit of a gritty texture & seems to be just mashed garlic.  I was HORRIFIED to discover – it does have a lot of garlic but it has even more OIL!  It is basically an aioli.  Or a mayonnaise.  Damn.  So – it is not a guiltless pleasure but you don’t need tons before you run the risk of setting things ablaze just by breathing your garlic shit storm on them – so do not sweat the calories too much.

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Mmmm!  Tzatziki!

There are a lot of ingredients in the chicken marinade but only the cardamom is remotely exotic & you probably already have most of them in your cabinets – so do not be intimidated.  If you do not have or cannot find ground cardamom – never fear!  Substitutes: equal parts ground nutmeg and cinnamon OR equal parts ground cloves and cinnamon OR nutmeg OR cinnamon

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Garlic Paste (Toum)

This makes quite a bit but it should keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 small potato (I used a Yukon Gold) – boiled until soft & cooled

1 full cup garlic cloves (peel fresh ones & do not use the pre-peeled cloves as they have been frozen & are not as flavorful)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp lemon juice

1 1/2 cups grapeseed oil (or sunflower oil)

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DIRECTIONS

In your food processor, pulse the garlic, potato, lemon juice & salt until they are pureed.  You might need to scrape the sides of the bowl down a few times.  Then, VERY SLOWLY drizzle the oil in as the pureed is being spun about.  Do this in a very slow & steady stream.  Lots of recipes suggested it should take ten minutes.  I got it done in under five but if you add the oil too fast – it will not emulsify properly.  Check it as you go & if it begins to separate – stop adding oil & keep processing it until it comes together again.

That’s it!  You MIGHT want to experiment with an increased quantity of potato & a lesser quantity of oil.   I think I will the next time.

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Tzatziki 

Makes about 1.5 cups

INGREDIENTS

6 oz vegan yogurt

1 TBS lemon juice

1 garlic clove – minced

1/4 – 1/3  cucumber – peeled & diced

pinch of salt

1 tsp or more fresh dill – chopped

DIRECTIONS

Mix that shit up!  Add water if you think it is too thick – but not a lot.

Done!

Tahini Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup water

Pinch of salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

Whisk it together.  Use thick or water down to drizzle on your shawarma.

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Vegan Chicken Shawarma (for Pita or Tacos)

Serves 2 or 3

INGREDIENTS

Flour tortillas (for tacos) or pita bread or wraps or naan

9 oz vegan chicken

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS smoked paprika (or regular)

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS ground cardamom (or substitute from the note above)

1 TBS chili powder

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp pepper

Olive oil

juice & zest of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup yogurt (optional) – but adding the yogurt makes a far more mellow marinade so I recommend using it unless you love heavily spiced food

Garnish ideas: sliced red onion, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, parsley, cucumber slices, radish slices

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DIRECTIONS

Mix the spices in a large glass container with the vinegar, lemon juice & zest, 2 TBS olive oil & yogurt (if using).   This is pretty thick stuff.  Feel free to thin it with water if you like.  Add the chicken & marinate it for at least an hour or overnight.  Try not to use a plastic container as it could get stained or left stinky from the spices.

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When you are ready to eat – heat a little olive oil in a pan & heat the chicken.  Allow the marinade to come away as you likely won’t want as much in the actual sandwich.  When it is warm, assemble the tacos or wraps.  Slather some garlic paste on the bread or tortillas & layer the ingredients on top.  Add some tzatziki or tahini sauce or hummus & chow the fuck down!

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DDD Ep. #21 – Vegan Spicy Thai Red Curry & Coconut Cauliflower Rice

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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 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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Reposting this now here because there is a video to accompany it.   Please consider following me on my channel there.

I have posted several variations of cauliflower rice over the years – most of which can be found HERE.  This one is likely the richest of the lot due to the added lite coconut milk.  Still – if you consider that it isn’t really rice but, rather just grated cauliflower, that added decadence of the coconut milk & curry paste are not that bad.

Cauliflower rice is easiest if you have a food processor with a grating blade.  If not – you can grate the cauliflower with a box grater or other grater – but raw cauliflower tends to pop all over the place & can get rather messy.

I’m not sure if some of my earlier cauliflower rice recipes had the added step of steaming the cauliflower & squeezing out the water – but – that is a step not necessary for cauliflower rice.  I think that step only matters if you are going to make cauliflower pizza dough or cauliflower tortillas – as seen below.

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This dish is quick & easy & very tasty.  And good for you!

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Vegan Spicy Thai Red Curry & Coconut Cauliflower Rice

Serves 4 or more as a side

INGREDIENTS

1 large head cauliflower – grated in with a food processor or a manual grater

Coconut or other cooking oil

1 red bell pepper – diced

1 onion diced

1-3 jalapenos – minced (use more or less according to your taste for heat)

1-6 cloves of garlic – chopped (use more or less according to your taste for garlic)

1 cup lite coconut milk

1 TBS red curry paste

1 TBS Bragg’s liquid amino acids (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Garnish – cilantro, lime wedges

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DIRECTIONS

In a very large saute pan, heat about 1 TBS oil & add the cauliflower.  Saute on high for 5-7 minutes or until it just begins to brown.  Transfer to a bowl  & set aside.

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In the same pan, add about another TBS of oil & saute the red bell pepper, onion & jalapeno until they get soft – maybe 5 minutes.  Add the garlic & stir for a minute & then add the curry paste & coconut milk & amino acid (or soy sauce) & agave.  Incorporate & then add the cauliflower rice.  Stir in some cilantro & combine.  Garnish with additional cilantro & lime wedges & serve.

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DDD Ep. #20 – Vegan Chicken Satay with Peanut Coconut 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 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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Reposting this recipe because I have a video to accompany it.  Please – subscribe to my channel on Youtube.  Www.VideoVegan.com.

This is another super-duper easy one.  The recipe for the Spicy Thai Red Curry & Coconut Cauliflower Rice (seen just above) is HERE.

I used a 12oz package of Beyond Meat chicken strips – because they are the best on the market.  If you cannot find them – use the brand available to you – preferably not breaded.

This recipe is really just for a marinade (not totally necessary) & for the peanut & coconut sauce.  You can whisk each together in bowls & heat the chicken in any pan on the stove.  So easy & REALLY delicious!

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Vegan Chicken Satay with Peanut & Coconut Sauce

Depends on the amount of “chicken” you use & appetites – but 1 or 2

INGREDIENTS

for the chicken satay

Beyond Meat chicken strips (or other vegan chicken) – in the quantity you require

Cooking oil or cooking spray

for the marinade (an optional step – you can skip the marinade if you want to but it does ratchet up the flavors)

2 garlic cloves – minced

2 shallots – minced

1-2 serrano or jalapeno peppers – minced (seed them for less heat)

2 TBS Bragg’s liquid amino acids (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 TBS agave nectar (or sugar)

juice of one lime

for the peanut-coconut sauce

1 cup lite coconut milk

1/4 cup peanut butter (more – if you want a thicker sauce)

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1-3 serrano or jalapeno peppers – diced (seed them for less heat)

2 shallots – minced

2 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

2 TBS Bragg’s liquid amino acids (or soy sauce or tamari)

juice of one lime

GARNISH – lime wedges & cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

for the marinade

Whisk ingredients together & put the chicken in it.  Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes – or overnight.  I did this in a Ziplock bag.

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for the peanut-coconut sauce

Whisk everything together.  Adjust the peanut butter to coconut ratio to suit your tastes.  I put mine in an old pickle jar so I could give it a good shake before using it.

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for the chicken satay

Heat some oil or cooking spray & dump the chicken & marinade into a pan.  Heat through.

Plate the chicken & drizzle with a light bit of the peanut-coconut sauce (reserve some because there is a lot of sauce).

Serve with rice & garnish with extra sauce, cilantro & lime wedges.

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DDD Ep. #19 – Vegan Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

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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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Reposting this recipe because I have a video to accompany it. Please – subscribe to my channel on Youtube. Www.VideoVegan.com.

This is yet another SUPER easy one – even if you make the enchilada sauce yourself – and can be made in a slow cooker or stove top.  The benefit of the slow cooker is that the flavors get to meld better but – if you are in a hurry or don’t own a slow cooker – this can be done on the stove.

I made the red enchilada sauce myself & I recommend it very highly because 1) it was easy 2) less processed food it better for you & 3) self-satisfaction.  So – I really recommend you try to make it – though jarred or canned enchilada sauce will do.

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I included a picture of taco seasoning in that image above but I was so pleased with my homemade enchilada sauce – I could not bring myself to add this MSG chemical powder to my soup – so ignore it.  As I was cooking the soup I added an additional can of black beans – not shown there.

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Also – I thawed & shredded the Beyond Meat chicken.  Look how convincing it looks (above)!

This makes a lot of soup but – it is so hearty & delicious – I ate almost half of it myself, last night – without any garnish of any kind.  Just naked outta the pot.  But – why not?  There is no added fat in this (except a little olive oil in the enchilada sauce) – just proteins & produce & spices – so feel free to eat it like you are competing in a grudge match with Takeru Kobayashi.  I did – and I feel no shame.  Zero fucks were given.

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Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Makes just over 2 cups

INGREDIENTS

2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS flour

6 oz. tomato paste

4 TBS chili powder (NOT cayenne pepper)

1 TBS dry parsley

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dry oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cumin

2 cups vegetable stock

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil over high heat & whisk in the flour.  When it thickens, add the stock in increments, letting it thicken each time before adding more.  When the stock is incorporated, add the spices & tomato paste & whisk to combine.  Cook until it has the thickness of tomato sauce.  Add water if it gets too thick.  Set aside.

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Vegan Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

Serves 4 as a main course – more as an appetizer

INGREDIENTS

2 cups red enchilada sauce (recipe above RECOMMENDED or store bought)

9-12 oz vegan chicken (I always use Beyond Meat – which comes in 9 and 12 ounce packages)

1 (14 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes

2 (15 oz) cans black beans ( I used 1 can of black beans & 1 can of mixed beans) – not drained

10 oz corn (I used organic frozen)

1 (7 oz) can green chilies (I used mild)

2 cups vegetable stock

2 garlic cloves (minced)

1 red (or other) onion – diced

1 bell pepper – seeded & chopped

1-2 jalapenos – seeds & diced (optional – omit if you do not like spice)

2 TBS chia seeds (1000% optional but they are good for you & I had some so…)

GARNISH OPTIONS: vegan sour cream, avocado, cilantro, chopped tomato, lime wedges, hot sauce, grated vegan cheese or tortilla strips (Recipe: Heat your oven to 350.  Spread the thinly sliced corn tortilla strips in a single layer on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking oil.  Bake the strips 10-15 minutes until they are crispy.  Try not to overcook them (they should not be browned).  Remove from oven & set aside. OR – buy some.)

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DIRECTIONS

Make the enchilada sauce – if you are doing that.

Dump everything in either a slow cooker & leave it on high for about 5 hours OR stick it all in a large stock pot & heat until the veggies soften & the soup thickens a bit (30-60 minutes).  In either case – if it gets too thick – add some water.  If it is too thin – cook it down a bit more.  See?  Crazy fucking easy!

Now – serve it up & garnish as you desire!

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DDD Ep. #14 – Cool Vegan Cashew & Cranberry Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado

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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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Hey, everybody! DDD #14 is up!

My Cool Vegan Cashew & Cranberry Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado!

And I offer my rebuttal to the slut shaming I experienced Wednesday for referencing my #BOOBS. Apparently, the word #boob is tasteless & inappropriate & I am a vulgar hussy. My thoughts on this & more. Plus a blooper!

Enjoy!! Click the link for the video & please subscribe. Happy Cinco de Vegan Mayo!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4JNPkWrwS0&feature=youtu.be

 

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OK – I am not sure what the weather is like where you are but here in LA – it is hot as a muthafuckah!   It is pushing 100 degrees!  Just brutal.  I don’t have AC & cooking is just impossible in this weather.  So – I whipped up these cool & vegan bad boys!  They are kind of like a taco-wrap hybrid.  I used these little flour tortillas – right from their home in the cool of my fridge.  I am not positive they are vegan – so if you are vegan – use a tortilla you know suits your diet.

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BYMT_MicroMarketing_FreeCoupon

And I used that Beyond Meat vegan chicken.  The coupon above is good until the end of May 2014 – so print a few out & go get some of this awesome stuff!  If you let it sit on the counter a few minutes – it will defrost enough so that you can cube it up & by the time this all comes together – the chicken is thawed completely but still CHILLED!  Perfect!

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Cool Vegan Cashew & Cranberry Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado

Feeds two very well

INGREDIENTS

1 9 oz package of faux chicken – thawed

1 avocado – peeled & seeded & cubed

Fresh lime juice

1/3 cup vegan mayo

1/4 cup (or more) cashews

2 celery stalks – diced

1/2 small cucumber – diced

2 mini sweet peppers (or half a bell pepper) – seeded & diced

1/4 cup purple cabbage – chopped

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins or other dried fruit)

1/2 tsp cumin

Pinch of salt

Pepper to taste

Flour tortillas or other wrap (even lettuce)

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DIRECTIONS

Prep the avocado & squeeze lime juice all over it.

Now – just mix everything up in a big bowl.  Season to taste.  Eat with lettuce cups or as wraps or as little flour tortilla tacos.

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DDD Ep. #13 – Healthy and Cheesy Vegan Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

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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 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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OK – kiddies! DDD #13 is UP!

Like boobs? Like mac & cheese? Who doesn’t? I am really proud of this episode (and my cans – it seems) as it makes the best of a disaster & really showcases (boobs) how mac & cheese can be delightfully vegan (boobs). But – if (boobs) mac & cheese is not your bag – my rack is very prominently on display here & really tries hard to distract viewers from the recipe in progress so – feel free to just focus on that. Watch my blunders, my fun bags or learn a great recipe – I don’t care. Just watch! I even have a post-credits blooper! Oh – and I think I say “fuck” about 20x in this. So – enjoy!!! Please share & please SUBSCRIBE!! Did I mention boobs? BOOBS!

Click the link for my Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower recipe & please subscribe!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFiPBGYVT0s

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So – I wanted to make a healthier mac & cheese – less cheese (even less vegan cheese) and less pasta.  I looked in the fridge & my pantry & found these potential ingredients.

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As it turned out – I used all but the vegan cream cheese & the Daiya cheddar shreds.    So – the only actual cheese (vegan cheese) in this recipe is the Field Roast Chao Tomato-Cayenne slices.  If you can’t find these or do not like them (I think the 3 Chao cheeses are the best grocery store vegan cheeses on the market so far) – then use Daiya or any other kind of vegan cheese – or even real cheese (if you are not vegan).

This is a very easy dish to make – though it does have a few steps.  The only special tool you need is a blender (or a food processor).  No need to soak cashews overnight.  And – most importantly – it is VERY convincing!  None of the over-powering flavor of nutritional yeast yet all the wet, creaminess of real mac & cheese.  I swear – non-vegans will not identify this as vegan.  It has the additional benefit of using two full heads of cauliflower – but they blend in and become virtually undetectable – so your veggie hating kiddies will likely eat this with little argument (though you might want to reduce the spiciness for tender palates).

My primary excitement about this recipe is the green enchilada roux.  Traditional roux is made with butter, flour & milk.  I definitely wanted to use the green enchilada sauce but I did not want the dish to be swimming in liquid – as I feared it might be if I made a roux with milk and also added the enchilada sauce.  Happy news!  The enchilada sauce blended & thickened with the butter & flour as easily as milk would have but added SO much more flavor.

Again – while there are a few steps (mainly, boiling & draining to heads of cauliflower & the pasta) – none are difficult & the resulting dish is supremely gratifying!   I hope you try it!

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Healthy and Cheesy Vegan Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

Serves at least 6

INGREDIENTS

2 heads cauliflower (I used one white & one yellow)

for the roux

4 TBS vegan butter

4 TBS flour

16 oz green enchilada sauce

7 oz vegan cheddar (sliced up or grated)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (SUPER optional – I just had a little left over that I wanted to use up)

for the mac & cheese

1-2 jalapenos – one seeded & diced and one seeded & sliced (optional – depending on your taste for spice)

1 4oz can diced green chilies (I used hot but you could use mild)

2 ears corn – kernels cut from the cob (or about one 14 oz can of corn or 1 cup frozen corn)

1 lb pasta (shape of your choice)

1-2 cups breadcrumbs (I used panko)

Cooking spray

GARNISH: cilantro, avocado, diced tomato, hot sauces, additional fresh jalapeno or canned chilies

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Treat a 9×13 casserole pan with cooking spray.

Cook the pasta according to directions (maybe 1 minute less than suggested) – drain & set aside.

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If you are using 2 different colors of cauliflower – you might want to cut each into florets & then boil & drain them each separately.  Or not.  It doesn’t matter much but the yellow cauliflower purees & looks like a cheesier sauce than white cauliflower will.  Still – some cheddar cheeses are white – so – don’t sweat it, whatever you decide.  If you are just using 2 heads of the same color – boil until just tender (5-7 minutes) – drain & set aside.

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If you used one head of yellow cauliflower – put it (with about 1 cup of hot water) into a blender & puree until very smooth.  Only add just as much water as you need to accomplish this – which could be more or less than a cup of water – depending on the size of the head you used.

If you used to heads of the same color – just puree one head worth as described above.  Set aside.

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Melt the butter in a sauce pan & whisk in the flour.  It should thicken & brown a bit very quickly – maybe a minute.  Add the enchilada sauce incrementally – letting it thicken before adding more – until it is all incorporated & rater thick.

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Add the cheese & stir until it melts.

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Add the pureed cauliflower & nutritional yeast (if using), salt & pepper to taste, and then one diced jalapeno, canned chilies & the corn.

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Combine & adjust S&P – if necessary.

Put the sauce in a large bowl & then add the pasta and the remaining cauliflower florets.  Combine.

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Pour the mac & cheese into the casserole dish & top with breadcrumbs & maybe some sliced jalapeno.  Spray with cooking spray – as this helps the breadcrumbs brown (because vegan cheese does not have the animal fat of real cheese – which is what browns in traditional mac & cheese).

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Bake at 400 for about 30-45 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are browned a bit & the cheese sauce is bubbly.

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Let rest for about ten minutes & then serve.  Garnish with avocado, cilantro, diced tomatoes and/or anything else you like.

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DDD Ep. #10 – Vegan Punjabi Baingan Bharta – A Spicy Roasted Eggplant Dish from India with Basmati Rice

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I started this blog in July 2012 & this was one of the very first recipes I posted.  I ADORE this smoky & creamy Indian eggplant dish.  I am reposting the original post here because I just added this recipe to my new Youtube cooking show – Video Vegan.  Check out the video and, please,  subscribe to my channel.


From July 26, 2012:

I started experimenting with Indian food over twenty years ago – when I gave up eating meat.  I had more misses than hits & found out a few things the hard way – like finding out the Krishna’s do not use onion or garlic (essential ingredients – in my opinion) after spending $30 on a Krishna cookbook (this one – AVOID it – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lord-Krishnas-Cuisine-Vegetarian-Cooking/dp/0896470202).   Krishnas avoid onion & garlic for many surprising reasons – among them that garlic may “lead to lewd indulgences.”  (http://kurma.net/essays/e19.html)  This – alone – is reason enough to eat garlic all the time.   Anyway – I made Indian food every day for weeks on end.  I invited people over frequently – to sample my results.  Soon – they became reticent and later – exhibited outright defiance – and would only agree to come over & be fed on the condition I did NOT serve Indian food.  Not because it was always bad (though it often was) – but more because it just got to be kinda ridiculous.  We were all walking around reeking of curry.  Sad times.

Thankfully, I tell you those days are long gone.  I have broadened my vegetarian menu extensively and it is more likely to be pizza my guests object to having – yes, again – than Indian food.  This eggplant dish is always my favorite & my go-to item on any Indian menu.  If you hate eggplant – do not be alarmed.  This dish transforms eggplant into an unrecognizable mush that is so heavily seasoned – few could identify the primary ingredient without having been told.  Likewise – if you are among the unfortunate among us that loathe cilantro – and I know you are out there – the cilantro here, while important, gets lost in the blend of other flavors.  If you hate cilantro – it is not your fault.  Here is an article outlining why: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/dining/14curious.html.  Cilantro haters are in a similar category to those among us that know the agonies of “asparagus pee.”  Apparently – we ALL produce the smelly stuff – but only 22% can detect the scent…at least according to this article: http://bodyodd.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/06/29/12463697-psst-asparagus-pee-are-you-in-the-club?lite.  I also found this tidbit – which explains it a different way:

Mark Leyner and Dr. Billy Goldberg explained asparagus pee in their book,“Why Do Men Have Nipples?”.

“Asparagus contains a sulfur compound called mercaptan. It is also found in onions, garlic, rotten eggs, and in the secretions of skunks,” they wrote. “The signature smell occurs when this substance is broken down in your digestive system. Not all people have the gene for the enzyme that breaks down mercaptan, so some of you can eat all the asparagus you want without stinking up the place. One study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that only 46 percent of British people tested produced the odor while 100 percent of French people tested did.”

Anyway – use the damned cilantro.  It adds MUCH needed color to this dish & you will not be offended by its taste.  At least use a little.  OK?  Please?

This dish is spicy.  Genuinely so.  Lessen the quantity of serrano/jalapeno if spice irks you.  Add more if you are a spice freak.  Also know – I use WAY more of the other spices listed than most any other version of this recipe you will find.  This is a powerfully flavored version.  Also know – it is an AMAZING dieter’s dish because the only thing in it with any calorie count work mentioning is the 2 tablespoons of olive oil – and this recipe makes an ENORMOUS amount of this stuff.  I bet it could feed 6 or 8 folks – what with the rice addition and all.  A cup of eggplant has 20 calories.  2 TBS of olive oil have – GREAT CRIPES – I just looked it up!!  2 TBS of olive oil is 240 calories!  Jeez.  That explains a LOT about my ass & thighs.   Ok -still – Let’s call this 6 cups of eggplant & 2 TBS of olive oil – for a total of 360 calories for the ENTIRE RECIPE.  And it is delicious!

Again – this will make a LOT of this dish.  Be prepared for yummy leftovers.

One final note – broiling the eggplant the day before or way in advance (so they can cool) is very helpful, but not necessary.

PRINT THIS RECIPE

Vegan Punjabi Baingan Bharta – A Spicy Roasted Eggplant Dish from India with Basmati Rice

INGREDIENTS

5 medium eggplant

2 medium onions – diced

3 inch cube of fresh ginger – or 4 TBS jarred, minced ginger (fresh is better)

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS cumin SEEDS (not ground cumin)

1 large jalapeno – seeded & diced

2 large serrano chiles – seeded & diced

4 garlic cloves – crushed

4 medium tomatoes – diced

2 TBS garam masala (recipe here – if you cannot find it made: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-garam-masala/)

1 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp salt

1 bunch fresh cilantro

Extra tomato or red bell pepper (pictured above) – diced very fine for garnish.  Garnish is important with this dish because it is really little more than a dark mush.  It needs prettifying more than your average bear.  Extra cilantro – chopped fine – can also be nice – instead or in addition.

DIRECTIONS

Prick your eggplants all over with a fork.  Line a cookie sheet with foil & place the eggplant on it & into the oven.  Broil the eggplant about 5 inches from the flame – turning OFTEN – until they are bursting & blackened on all sides.  DO NOT FORGET TO PRICK THE EGGPLANTS or they WILL explode inside your oven & that will be one crime scene you will not want to clean up.

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They will look like this when they are done.  It might take 20-30 minutes – depending on the size of your eggplant & your broiler.  You kinda can’t OVER do this – though you can under do it.  Err on the side of charring.  It adds flavor & makes removing the skin WAY easier!

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Let the eggplant cool until they are safe to handle.  HOURS of cooling is best – unless you have Grandma hands & you are impervious to scalding hot eggplant juice.

Cut the green cap end off the eggplant & remove all the flesh from the charred skin (sounds gross).  The result should look kind of like this (looks gross):

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Roughly chop this eggplant up & set it aside.

Heat the olive oil up in a pan.  When it is hot – add the cumin seeds.  Beware – they will sizzle & pop & some will jump out of the pan at you.  Ouch.

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Once these are fragrant  – about a minute – add the chopped onion & fry until they are translucent & soften.  Add the garlic & ginger & serrano/jalapenos.

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Saute this for another minute or two.

Add the chopped tomatoes.

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Stir this a minute then add the garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric & salt.

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Add the chopped eggplant.  Stir.  Chop the cilantro & add it to the mix & blend well.  Remove from heat.

Using a food processor or a blender – puree the entire mixture.  Return the puree to the pan to keep it warm on very low heat.  The pureeing isn’t essential but I think it delivers a more pleasing result and more completely fuses the flavors.  If you are unable to puree or choose not to – simply be sure to chop all the ingredients very finely before adding them to the recipe – especially the eggplant.  Hunks of soft eggplant can bum some people out.

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BASMATI RICE

INGREDIENTS

2 cups basmati rice – rinsed several times in a colander

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp salt

20 green cardamom pods (if you can get them)

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a pan.  Once hot – add the cumin seeds & the cardamom pods – again being wary of their popping & spitting.  I used 20 cardamom pods because mine were a bit old.  You might want to use fewer if yours are fresh & really pungent.  After a minute – add the rice & stir until it is all covered in oil & the spices are well blended.  Add 4 cups of water (or whatever ratio of rice to water your package suggests) & bring to a boil.  Use less water for firmer rice.  Once boiling – reduce heat to low & simmer, covered, for however long the rice package instructs you.  Remove from heat.  Fluff with a fork.

Serve the rice on individual plates.  Top with the Baingan Bharta & garnish with either finely diced tomato, red bell pepper – or extra cilantro.