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 #91 – Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef with Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

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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 above to watch the video.  I had a head of purple cabbage in my fridge that was the size of a basketball.   I decided to add half of it to some leftover rice to accomplish two things: not waste all the cabbage & to extend the quantity of rice with some guiltless & vibrant cabbage.  I am very happy with the result both in color & the crunch the cabbage adds to the texture.  I recommend it very highly.

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Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS

(I used a tad more cabbage than rice but the ratio is up to you.)

2 cups cooked rice

2 cups chopped purple cabbage

1/2 onion – diced

1 cup grated or slivered carrots

1-5 cloves garlic – chopped

2 or more TBS fresh minced ginger

1 TBS sesame (or other) oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan.  Add the onions, & cabbage & saute until they begin to soften.  Add the carrots, rice & ginger & stir to combine & warm through.  Add the garlic and saute another minute or two.  Serve.

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Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef

Serves 2 very well (this is HALF the recipe I made in the video)

INGREDIENTS

2 or 3 stalks of lemongrass – cut into 3″ lengths & smashed with the handle of a knife (to bruise them & release the flavor.  The cooked lemongrass is inedible so pick around it in the finished dish.) . Or – use the juice of 1/2 lemon.

8+ ounces seitan (or other meat replacement like – Beyond Meat Chicken or Gardein beef or pork products)

3 dry red chilies (optional – they are quite spicy) – crumbled a bit

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 or more cups of fresh green beans – trimmed

1 TBS sambal oelek or garlic chili paste (more for extra heat)

3 TBS vegan mushroom or oyster-favored sauce

2 TBS minced ginger

1 TBS ground anise or szechuan pepper

2 TBS dark soy sauce (it gives the seitan that dark & beefy color)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 TBS shao xing rice wine

2 TBS brown sugar

Potential garnished: sliced red or green jalapeno peppers, basil or mint or cilantro leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a wok or large pan & add the dry red chilies – if using.  Add the lemongrass & saute a minute or two.  Add the green beans & saute on high heat until they begin to sear a bit.

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Add the remaining ingredients.  Add about 1/4 cup water to aid in steaming the beans a bit & create some sauce.  Heat through – until the sauce thickens.  Serve with rice.

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DDD #74 – Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew to Detox & Cleanse (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

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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 above to watch the video.

My friend, Katie, turned me on to kitchari.  Apparently, you can eat it – JUST IT – for 1-7 days straight & it calms your digestive tract & detoxes you system but with the added benefit of feeling like decadent comfort food.  Also – mung beans are dirt cheap. (Articles on the subject are linked at the bottom of this post).  This recipe makes about 7 quarts which is a fuckton so – unless you are feeding a lot of people or want to freeze some – consider reducing the recipe.

I used an Instant Pot to make mine but this can be done in a slow cooker or stove top.  I really recommend Instant Pots, though, because they steam, pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, cook cakes, saute, cook eggs & clean windows.  I got my huge one HERE for just over $100 & I am VERY happy with it.  I can now get rid of several other appliances.

***NOTE – I soaked my beans on the counter overnight & in the fridge a second night but this is not necessary.  If you want to move more quickly – boil some water, add your beans & let them soak for an hour.

Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew

Caters a party so be ready for a lot

INGREDIENTS

3 cups mung beans (I used half whole green & half split green – as seen above) – soaked (see ***NOTE above)

1-2 TBS coconut oil or olive oil

1 onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS (or more – to taste) salt (I used pink Himalayan)

1 TBS ground mustard

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS ground pepper

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 (15 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

6 TBS minced ginger

1 cup cilantro

Vegetables are optional.  Use any you prefer but I added:

5 small turnips – diced

5 small golden beets – diced

1 large sweet potato – diced

5 oz baby kale

1 tomato – diced

6 cups water

2 cups basmati (or other long grain white rice)

(If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add a tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.)

GARNISH – coconut butter, cilantro, crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS

Quick soak your beans (see note above) if you did not soak them overnight or for 2 days, as I did.)

Traditionally, the rice is cooked in the same pot with everything else.  My Instant Pot was not large enough so I cooked it separately.  This is your call – or maybe your pot size will determine your choice but it does not matter much either way.

Rinse the rice.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large pot (or your Instant Pot – my pot is 8 Quarts) and soften.  Add the garlic & spices & stir to combine.

If you are using a slow cooker, transfer the onions & spices to it.  Everything else is the same no matter whether you are slow cooking, Instant Pot cooking or going stove top.  Only the cooking time will vary.

Now, add everything else to the pot.  If your pot is easily deep enough to hold the rice, too, add that.  If you are cooking the rice in the same pot – add 4 additional cups of water to the 6 cups used if you are cooking the rice separately (assuming your rice directions ask for 2 cups water per 1 cup rice.  Adjust accordingly if your rice has different directions).  Or – just cook the rice separately as the package directs.  If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add 1 tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.

Slow cooker – cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Stove top – bring to a boil uncovered for 5 minutes.  Reduced heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or more or until everything is tender.

Instant Pot – seal & cook manually for 10 minutes.

If it is to thick, thin it with extra water.  If it is too thin, let is simmer, uncovered, for a while longer.

Serve with rice (if you cooked it separately) and garnish with coconut butter (burns fat & lowers cholesterol) and lots of cilantro & maybe some crushed red pepper.

Here are some articles for more info on kitchari & using it to detox:

What is kitchari? – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/blog-the-banyan-insight/details/what-is-kitchari-why-we-eat-it-for-cleansing

3-Day Cleanse – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/cleansing/a-very-simple-three-day-cleanse/

How to do a kitchari cleanse – http://www.krissyruddy.com/how-to-do-a-kitchari-cleanse/

DDD #65 – Vegan “Tree of Life” Cabbage Cake or Stuffed Cabbage Tower

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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.

I had cabbage & I had a desire for some old school comfort food.  I was Googling around looking for inspiration & saw this thing of beauty by Proud Italian Cook:

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Both my friend, Rose, and I were blown away & both swore to make it immediately.  And we both did.  I think she stuck with the original recipe but I had to make it vegan & make it before work – including going to the store to buy a different kind of cabbage – Savoy cabbage – so I could get that pretty lace effect – so I had quite a task ahead.  My cabbage, ultimately, was not quite as vascular as the one Proud Italian Cook used & my oven heats unevenly – so I did not get quite the forest effect they did & I browned one side.  No matter!  This was easy to make & is really delicious & quite the show stopper!

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I would have just used two bags of the Beyond Meat rather than add tofu but I only had one bag.  I used frozen tofu that I thawed & then squeezed the water out.  It gives the tofu a spongy-texture that resembles ground beef more than raw tofu does.  It also has the added benefit of removing lots of the moisture.

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I also added maitake mushrooms (seen above) and 2 grilled zucchini – simply because I had them.  You could fill your cake with whatever traditional filling you would use for cabbage rolls or use this recipe or tweak this recipe.  I used Rao’s sauce for ease & because it is the best jarred sauce on the market.  You can use your own favorite – homemade or from a jar.  Whatever you decide – I promise you will be delighted with this unexpected & regal reinvention of the humble stuffed cabbage roll.

Vegan “Tree of Life” Cabbage Cake (Stuffed Cabbage Tower)

Serves 4-6 (depending on appetites)

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of Savoy (or other green) cabbage

2+ TBS olive oil

9 oz vegan beef crumbles (or 18 oz or more and skip the tofu below)

1 lb tofu – frozen, thawed, water squeezed out & crumbled

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 celery stalk – chopped

1/2 to 1 lb mushrooms – chopped (optional)

1/4 cup parsley – chopped

1-3 tsp fresh thyme (or oregano) – less if you use dried

1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used brown basmati)

S&P to taste

24 oz of your favorite red sauce

1 cup or so of Grated vegan Parmesan – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Core the bottom of the cabbage (leaving it in tact) & place in a deep pot cored-side down.  Add 2-3 inches of water & bring to a boil – covered – for 5 minutes.  Plunge into cold water & when it is cool enough to handle – carefully peel the leaves away & place on paper towels to dry.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan & then cook the onions, celery and mushrooms (if using) until soft (my photos do not reflect the proper order & it doesn’t really matter).  Add the beef, tofu, and garlic, thyme, parsley rice & 1 cup marinara.  Blend well.  Season with S&P.

Grease a deep, round casserole or souffle-type dish & then arrange the prettiest and largest leaf on the bottom. Place another leaf on top of that and up the sides of the dish all around.  Layer in some beef mixture (maybe 1/2 inch) & top with another layer of cabbage.  Repeat until you reach the top or run out of filling.  Finish with cabbage on top making sure to tuck it in the dish all around.  Drizzle the top with olive oil and a sprinkling of about half your cheese (if you are using vegan or real cheese) all over.  The cheese can be eliminated completely with little impact on this recipe.

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Bake for about 40 minutes.  Let it rest then invert a serving plate over the casserole dish, then carefully flip it over.  Top with more warmed marinara & some of your cheese.  Cut into slices and serve with additional warmed marinara and more grated cheese.

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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 #49 – Spicy Vegan Red Beans & 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 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 below for a video of this recipe.  In it there is an easy & inexpensive recipe, a peek at all my dogs & look at my trip to Chicago to see 90210 The Musical! Complete with a clip from the show! #EmilyValentine


OK – I decided I had to make these for two reasons.  1) Sir Mix-a-lot & his Baby Got Back song.  Is there EVER a time when this song doesn’t sound great?  For a novelty-sounding song – it really holds up over time.  Anyway – one line is “Red beans & rice didn’t miss her.”   While that makes it sound like red beans & rice give you a huge ass – this recipe is clean & healthy.  I hear this song at the gym rather frequently & it always makes me crave red beans & rice.

2) It has been hot as FUCK this week and these can be made stove-top (or in a crock pot) – minimizing the heat added to my already sweltering kitchen.

I am sitting at my desk in my un-air-conditioned office (the hottest room in my house) – I will simply show what it was like outside before 10AM today:

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Yes.  That says 100 degrees at 9:58 am.  UGH!!!!!!!!

So – I will keep this brief & slink down to my kitchen – the coolest room in my house – for the remainder of the day.

One note – I used two kinds of veggie sausage here but I am not 100% certain either is vegan (though I think they are).  Just check the brand you use to be sure – assuming you are vegan.

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Also – I browned the two Field Roast links you see there before adding the other ingredients & that was sort of a waste of time because they just got sort of soggy after the stock was added.  So – I browned additional sausage:

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and set it aside & just added it at the end – sort of like a garnish.  That way, it retained it seared qualities.  You can do this – or not – your call.  Combined – the two varieties of sausage made this a “meatier” dish than it need be but those fake sausages are yummy – so fuck it.  I did add a couple of zucchinis to lighten the beans up a bit.

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QUICK SOAK METHOD

Presoaking beans overnight not only cuts down on cooking time by up to 25 percent, it also helps the beans cook evenly without splitting. It’s easy, too (if you remember to do it). Still, we prefer the “power soak” method. Not only is it faster than soaking beans overnight, it also breaks down more of the complex sugars that can make beans hard to digest. The process is simple: Place beans in a pot and cover with water by three inches. Bring to a boil and simmer briskly for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. Drain. Your beans will be ready to use in your favorite recipes.–Kay Chun

Healthy Spicy Vegan Red Beans and Rice

Feeds a lot – 6 or more

INGREDIENTS

Cooked rice ( I used brown basmati)

1 lb dry small red beans (soaked overnight or quick-soaked as outlined above) – try to use small red but kidney will do in a pinch

Olive oil

4 celery stalks – chopped

1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo (I used 3 & these beans were SPICY!) – minced

1/2 large onion – diced

2 zucchinis – cubed (optional)

1-2 jalapeno peppers – seeded & diced (I used two)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 bell pepper – diced (traditional in the dish – but I didn’t have one & I didn’t miss it)

2 tsp dry thyme

3 bay leaves

1 TBS dry rub (I used that Road Kill stuff above but any rub you like will do)

1-3 tsp Creole seasoning (I used Zatarain’s)

Vegan sausage (I ended up using 6!) – in a quantity you feel suits your taste – sliced

5+ cups vegetable stock

Scallions for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Quick-soak the beans if you did not soak them overnight (instructions are above).  The soaking helps to stop the gas beans are famous for giving us.

As I explained above, you might want to brown your sausage & set it aside – and add it at the very end – so it retains its texture better.  If texture doesn’t matter to you – just add it with the onions.  Or – divvy it up & do a little of both – as I ended up doing.

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Cook your rice.

Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil in a LARGE stock pot & saute the sausage until browned & either set it aside or just continue.   Some vegan sausage is pretty dry & you might need more olive oil.  Add onions, celery, bell pepper (if using), jalapeno & saute til softened a bit.  Again – add more olive oil if you think it is getting too dry.  Add chipotle, zucchini, dry rub, thyme, Creole seasoning, bay leaves & garlic & stir to incorporate & then add the red beans & 5 cups of stock.

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Then bring this all to a boil.  Lower the heat & cover & simmer for 2 hours or so – or until the beans are tender.  Stir every once in a while & add water if it gets too thick.  I added 1-2 cups of water by the time it was all said & done.  At some point – when the beans are soft – smash a cup or two with a wooden spoon against the pot – or (as I did) – drop an immersion blender in there & mash a cup or two – so there is a thick broth.

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When you are ready to serve, put some rice on each plate, add the red beans & garnish with sausage (if you set some aside) & chopped scallions.  A cold beer or two – and you are good to go!

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DDD #43 – Vegan Fish Tempura Sushi Rolls

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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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When I went to Dallas in 2015 to MC an event for the Humane League there – everyone kept talking about how awesome these vegan fish sticks are.  So – I bought some as soon as I got home.  My first effort with them was these vegan fish tacos.

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They were delicious!   The fish sticks are triangle-shaped and almost as large as the palm of my hand – and they have 90 calories each.  I am a huge fan.

So – I got it in my head that I wanted sushi.  My first thought was to make tempura chicken with Beyond Meat chicken & tempura batter but I discovered that I had no tempura batter & then I decided I didn’t want to fry anything, anyway.  Then these guys jumped into my mind!  So – while these are not fish & not in tempura batter – they are breaded & they made an excellent substitute.

I buy my nori at Bangluch Market because it costs about $1.25 for a package where Gelson’s charges almost $5 – so I recommend looking in ethnic stores for ethnic supplies.  I bought the fresh ginger & wasabi at Gelson’s.

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Sushi Rice

2 cups sushi rice

2 cups water

2 TBS sugar

2 TBS rice vinegar

1 TBS salt

Put the rice & water in a pan.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low & cover.  Cook for 25 minutes.

Let the rice cool & then mix in the other ingredients.

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Vegan “Fish Tempura” Sushi Rolls

INGREDIENTS

Gardein fishless fillets (or other brand) – cooked according to package instructions

Carrots – cut into sticks

Daikon – cut into sticks

Cucumber – cut into sticks (I forgot to use mine)

Avocado – sliced

Nori sheets

Sesame seeds – white & black

Wasabi, ginger & soy sauce for dipping.

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DIRECTIONS

Get all your ingredients ready.  Press some rice onto the nori – leaving about an inch on one end uncovered.  Layer the ingredients & roll tightly.  Wet the naked end of the nori with water on your fingertips.  roll until the seam side is down & rub the roll back & forth on the counter a few times to better seal the seam.  Cut with a sharp wet knife.

Serve with ginger & wasabi & soy sauce & a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

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