crispy oven-baked french fries

One potato, two potato, three potato, four…  (As in, make as many as you like.)
Tip: You can figure roughly one and a half large potatoes per person, but this doesn’t take into account how addictive French fries are! Might want to add an extra potato or two depending on appetites. 

crispy oven baked french fries

Crispy Oven-Baked French Fries
 
You can figure roughly one and a half large potatoes per person, but this doesn't take into account how addictive French fries are! Might want to add an extra potato or two depending on appetites. Note that three to four large potatoes will take two baking sheets.
Author:
Ingredients
  • Potatoes (russet for traditional fries, though I've used red-skinned potatoes, too)
  • Coconut oil cooking spray
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Optional additions: black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and/or onion powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash/scrub potatoes, pat dry, and cut into long matchsticks (about ½-inch-thick).
  3. Toss fries in a bowl with a drizzle of canola oil and salt to taste. (If you want a nontraditional French fry, lightly shake on any additional herbs and spices at this point.)
  4. Line baking sheets with aluminum foil and coat generously with coconut oil cooking spray. Arrange fries in a single layer so that they are barely touching each other.
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes (depending on how dark/crunchy you like them), flipping them after the first 15 minutes or so.

 

cashew ricotta

It’s thick, it’s creamy, it’s easy to put together. Now go make lasagna.
Note: Makes a little over two cups.
Tip: Want it soy-free? Replace the tofu with one cup of raw cashews. See Notes section of recipe for instructions. 

cashew ricotta cheese

Cashew Ricotta
 
It's thick, it's creamy, it's easy to put together. Want it soy-free? Check the Notes section of this recipe!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 12 ounces firm tofu, drained (but not pressed) and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, blend the cashews, ¼ cup of the crumbled tofu, lemon juice, and garlic until mixture becomes a thick paste.
  2. Add the remaining crumbled tofu to the food processor, in batches if necessary, blending until the mixture is creamy and well combined (you may need to scrape down the sides of the food-processor bowl a couple times).
  3. Blend in the salt. Taste and add more if desired, but keep in mind that a recipe that calls for ricotta -- such as lasagna or stuffed shells -- may also call for adding additional salt; you may want to go easy here.
Notes
You can make your cashew ricotta soy-free by replacing the tofu with 1 cup of raw cashews. Since you won't have the water that's in the tofu to make blending easy, be sure to soak the 2 cups of raw cashews in water for at least an hour or more. Then drain the water and blend everything according to instructions.

 

west african peanut stew

West African peanut stew — also known as Ghanian groundnut stew, nkatenkwan, or maafe — is hearty, delicious, and packed with protein.
Tips: Be creative with your ingredients, garnishes, and the sides you serve it over (pictured here served over black japonica rice; see the recipe for other suggestions). You can make this dish the day before or the morning of — a night (or an afternoon) in the fridge gives the flavors a chance to meld. 

West African Peanut Stew

West African Peanut Stew
 
One dish, so many twists: Be creative with your ingredients, garnishes, and the side dish you serve it over!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut oil or grape seed oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • Black pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (with juices)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (no sugar added)
  • Hot sauce (optional; if you're worried about adding too much heat, omit during cooking and use as a garnish instead)
  • 6 cups chopped sweet potatoes or yams (cut them into bite-sized cubes)
  • 4 packed cups of coarsely chopped kale
  • Possible garnishes (choose your favorites): hot sauce, diced green onions, chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts, sliced tropical fruit, shredded lettuce, shredded coconut, fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a deep saute pan or a large pot. Add chopped onions and saute for five minutes, stirring once or twice so the onions don't stick.
  2. Add the celery, garlic, ginger, one teaspoon of salt, and black pepper (to taste) and cook for another minute or two, stirring to make sure the garlic doesn't burn
  3. Add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes with their juices, coconut milk, tomato paste, peanut butter, and hot sauce (to taste), if using. Use a wooden spoon to gently break up the peanut butter and stir it into the mixture.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes, stir everything together, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Mix in the kale and cook for 10 minutes more. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve alone as a stew, or over couscous, quinoa, millet, farro, or white, black, or wild rice. Top with your favorite garnishes.

 

mushroom cacciatore with campanelle pasta

“Cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian. (You mushroom hunters will be especially excited about this dish.)
Tip: Take five minutes to make a batch of cashew Parmesan cheese (pictured) — delicious sprinkled on top! Serve pasta with a side salad and your favorite rustic bread.

mushroom cacciatore

Mushroom Cacciatore with Campanelle Pasta
 
"Cacciatore" means "hunter" in Italian. (Mushroom hunters will be especially excited about this dish!) Tip: Take five minutes to make a batch of cashew Parmesan cheese (recipe below) -- delicious sprinkled on top! Serve pasta with a side salad and your favorite rustic bread.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 32 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup (packed) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large bay leaf (do not omit this!)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 28-ounce can organic Italian-style peeled whole tomatoes
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 pound campanelle pasta (or pasta of choice -- see Notes)
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil and vegetable broth in a 5- or 6-quart pot. Add mushrooms and stir to coat. Cook mushrooms down for 5 to 7 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, parsley, basil, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) to pot. Stir everything to combine, being careful not to break the bay leaf. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes more.
  3. Pour the Italian-style peeled whole tomatoes into a medium-sized bowl and use your hands (or a potato masher or a wooden spoon) to break them up.
  4. Add the Italian tomatoes, tomato sauce, and red wine to the pot of vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 50 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and vegetables are tender.
  5. Cook pasta following package direction time for al dente pasta. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  6. Remove the bay leave from the mushroom cacciatore, pour over pasta, and toss to coat.
  7. Top with cashew Parmesan cheese and serve with baby arugula with balsamic (or your favorite side salad) and a fresh rustic bread.
Notes
Choose your favorite pasta for this dish, but keep in mind that chunky vegetable sauces like this one tend to go best with short pastas, which have crevices to trap the sauce and veggies!

 

chocolate-dipped italian cornmeal cookies (with or without sea salt!)

It’s like a piece of cornbread married a shortbread cookie and they went skinny dipping together in chocolate.
Recipe adapted with modifications from Once Upon a Chef.

chocolate dipped cornmeal cookies

Chocolate-Dipped Italian Cornmeal Cookies (With or Without Sea Salt!)
 
It's like a piece of cornbread married a shortbread cookie and they went skinny dipping together in chocolate.
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons plant-based butter (I use Earth Balance Soy Free Spread)
  • ½ cup vegan granulated sugar (I used Florida Crystals)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground golden flax seed + 6 tablespoons water)
  • 11/2 cups + 3 level tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil or vegetable oil (note: if you don't want your cookies to have the faint taste of coconut, go for the flavorless vegetable oil)
  • Sea salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, make your flax eggs by combining the ground flax and water. Set aside; the mixture will become goopy like an egg within a few minutes (you may need to stir once or twice).
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the vegan butter and sugar together for several minutes until the mixture becomes pale in color, creamy, and almost fluffy in appearance. Use a spatula to wipe down sides of bowl as necessary.
  4. Add the vanilla and flax eggs, and beat for another minute until everything is combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. (If you don't have a sifter, use a whisk.)
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Beat on a low speed until just combined.
  7. Cover the dough and refrigerate for one hour. (If you leave the dough in the fridge longer than this (or even overnight), make sure to take it out and let it come down a bit in temperature. You want the dough to be cool enough to handle but not so cold that the cookies won't spread in the oven.)
  8. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough, and roll into balls. Place balls on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets and flatten into disks with your hand. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until cookies are pale on top and lightly golden on the bottom. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Line a cold baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. In a double boiler over a medium heat (or in the microwave in 40-second intervals), melt the chocolate chips and your oil of choice together. Dip cookies about halfway into chocolate and transfer to the baking sheet.
  11. Sprinkle cookies with a bit of sea salt (if desired; to please everyone, I like to do half with sea salt, half without), and transfer entire baking sheet to refrigerator so the chocolate will harden and cool quickly.
  12. Store cookies in air-tight container, preferably in the fridge (particularly if it's warm in your home).
Notes
These cookies are extremely versatile. You can add mini vegan chocolate chips to the batter if you prefer that to dipping them after they're baked. If you're not a chocolate fan (gasp!), leave it off and enjoy them plain. You can try dipping the cookie-dough disks into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar before baking for a snickerdoodle-esque twist. Or, try throwing some wild blueberries into the batter. Weeee!

 

soba noodles in peanut sauce

The best part of this dish is that it’s endlessly adaptable: make it sweeter, make it spicier, change the vegetables, add tofu — even serve it hot or cold. 

Soba Noodles In Peanut Sauce

Soba Noodles in Peanut Sauce
 
The best part of this dish is that it's endlessly adaptable: make it sweeter, make it spicier, change the vegetables, add tofu -- even serve it hot or cold.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (1/3 cup reserved)
  • ½ cup all-natural peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (note: this amount will provide only a very slight kick; increase heat as desired)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 1½ cups carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ cups red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2½ cups broccoli (cut into bite-sized florets)
  • 2½ cups cauliflower (cut into bite-sized florets)
  • 10- to 12-ounce package organic soba noodles
  • Crushed roasted peanuts, diced scallions, and chopped fresh cilantro for topping (optional but recommended)
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine ⅔ cup of vegetable broth, peanut butter, ginger, tamari (or soy sauce), sugar, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Whisk until everything is well combined. Taste and adjust sweetness or heat if desired. Set aside.
  2. Cook soba noodles as directed on package. Be sure to rinse noodles in cold water after draining.
  3. In a large pan, heat reserved ⅓ cup vegetable broth. Add carrot, bell pepper, broccoli, and cauliflower to pan, and cook over a medium heat for 7 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender (don't overcook -- unless you have a thing for mushy veggies).
  4. In a large serving bowl, toss together the noodles, cooked vegetables, and sauce. Top with crushed roasted peanuts, diced scallions, and chopped fresh cilantro. Serve immediately. (Alternatively, you can serve this as a cold dish. Before adding toppings, simply cover and refrigerate for an hour or two.)
Notes
This dish will easily serve a family of four (well, depending on everyone's appetites). You can always halve this dish if you prefer, or make the full recipe and have cold soba noodles for lunch the next day!

 

easy cornbread

Takes just minutes to put this fluffy, golden cornbread together.

Cornbread

Easy Cornbread
 
Takes just minutes to put this fluffy, golden cornbread together.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup vegan granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons water)
  • Coconut-oil cooking spray (or other, to prepare pan)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Use a whisk to combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Make the flax egg in a separate small bowl (combine ground flax seed and water; allow to sit for a minute until it gels -- it should be goopy like an egg).
  4. Combine almond milk, oil (or applesauce), and flax egg. Gently fold this wet mixture into the dry mixture only until all ingredients are wet -- do not use a mixer or over-stir. Batter will be thick.
  5. Pour mixture into a prepared 8” x 8” baking pan.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes (toothpick inserted should come out clean).
  7. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and removing from pan.

 

london broil marinated tofu

Tofu, Western style. Pictured with white rice, but makes a classic U-S-A dinner when served with salad, baked potato, and your favorite green veggie. 

London Broil Marinated Tofu

London Broil Marinated Tofu
 
Serve with salad, baked potato, and your favorite green veggie for a classic Western-style dinner.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) organic, non-GMO extra-firm tofu (pressed; see Notes)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup whole grain or Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup agave nectar (or other sweetener of your choice, though you may have to adjust amount)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie's Naturals)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon tamari (or substitute soy sauce, if gluten is not a concern)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Slice tofu into bite-sized cubes and place in a plastic storage container.
  2. Place all of the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk together with a fork. (Tip: If you're unsure of how much salt and pepper to add to the marinade, skip it -- you can shake salt and pepper directly onto the tofu once it's in the pan cooking.)
  3. Pour half of the marinade over the tofu (reserve the other half) and lightly toss to coat all the pieces. Seal the storage container and marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Drain tofu, returning the marinade from the tofu to the reserved marinade.
  5. Add a few spritzes of olive oil to a large pan and place over high heat. Cook tofu a few minutes on each side until golden brown (if you skipped adding salt and pepper to the marinade, now's the time to shake some on the tofu).
  6. Remove pan from heat and allow tofu to rest for 1 minute. Pour reserved marinade over tofu in hot pan, and quickly toss to coat.
  7. Transfer tofu to a serving dish and serve immediately.
Notes
Tofu is made with water and packed in water, so it's crucial that you drain and press it before attempting to cook with it. (I avoid this step by buying vacuum-packed extra-firm tofu whenever possible. Trader Joe's carries it as of the time of this recipe post!) If you can't find vacuum-packed (and don't have a tofu press), simply line a plate with paper towels, place the tofu block on the paper towels, and put another layer of towels on top of the tofu. Put another plate or a cutting board on top of the paper towels. Weigh it down with heavy books or cans. Drain the water that has been pressed out of the tofu every thirty minutes or so.

 

flaky banana and black bean empanadas

A melt-in-your-mouth crust that you can make ahead of time means empanadas any time you want them.

flaky banana and black bean empanadas

Flaky Banana and Black Bean Empanadas
 
A melt-in-your-mouth crust that you can make ahead of time means empanadas any time you want them.
Author:
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening, cold, not room temperature (I use Earth Balance) and cut into cubes
  • ½ cup plant-based milk (I use almond milk)
For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or cooking wine (this adds flavor and keeps ingredients from sticking while avoiding excessive oil; if you don't have wine, you can use water)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (or avoid oil altogether by adding more water or white wine to keep ingredients from sticking)
  • 1½ cups yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups banana, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Instructions
For the dough:
  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour and salt.
  2. Add the shortening cubes to the flour mixture, cutting it in until the dough is crumbly. You can do this with two knives or with your fingertips.
  3. Add the plant-based milk, and with a wooden spoon, gently mix everything together. If necessary, you may add another tablespoon or so of flour -- just enough so that you can form the dough into a ball that's not overly sticky and wet.
  4. With your hands, gather the dough into a ball and knead gently several times so that it holds together.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (see Notes). While the dough is chilling, you can make the empanada filling.
For the filling:
  1. Heat white wine or cooking wine and oil (if using) in a large skillet, then add onions. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
  2. Add beans and garlic, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 3 minutes.
  3. Gently stir in bananas, cayenne pepper, coriander, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook 2 to 3 more minutes. You want the bananas to soften and the spices to become fragrant. Taste mixture and add the additional ½ teaspoon salt (or add to taste) if needed.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
For the empanadas
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Re-wrap one half with plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator.
  3. With a knife, divide the half of the dough ball you're working with into 8 equal pieces.
  4. Quickly roll one of the dough pieces into a ball with your hands. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the ball to a 4½ to 5-inch round. (Be sure your surface and your rolling pin stay lightly floured so the dough doesn't stick; I keep the flour next to me to add a small pinch as I need it.)
  5. Fill the dough round with approximately 2 tablespoons of filling, and brush edges of dough round with water.
  6. Fold dough round in half, press to close, and crimp edges with a floured fork to seal (if your fork gets sticky, dip in flour after each crimp you make). If you're a perfectionist (I'm a perfectionist), use a fluted pastry wheel or sharp knife to cut excess dough from the crimped edge to create a more streamlined curve.
  7. Transfer to the parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining 7 dough balls and filling. Transfer baking sheet of 8 empanadas to the refrigerator and repeat the whole process with the other half of the dough you have wrapped in the refrigerator.
  8. Chill both trays of empanadas on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before baking (they can be chilled overnight if you are making ahead of time, just be sure to cover them). Bake empanadas for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before serving with sriracha, tabasco, or hot sauce of choice, and other favorites (think non-dairy sour cream, avocado slices, quinoa, brown rice, a green salad, etc.).
Notes
This dough will make 16 empanadas, and can be made ahead of time! If you're not using the dough immediately, divide in half, wrap each ball in plastic wrap, place in refrigerator, and use the following day. Alternatively, place dough in freezer bags and store in freezer until ready to use.

 

great aunt mary’s eggplant meatballs

Serve these fellows piled on top of spaghetti, or smother them in homemade marinara and make a classic ‘meatball’ sub.
Tip: Do a little extra prep work for a really special dinner: Make a quick batch of cashew Parmesan cheese (super easy, and needed for this recipe anyway!), prepare a classic marinara, and/or bake a loaf of rustic bread.

eggplant meatballs2

Great Aunt Mary's Eggplant Meatballs
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds eggplant, cubed (skin left on)
  • Olive oil (a few spritzes to lightly coat eggplant)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup panko (plus ½ cup more if needed)
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh basil)
  • 2 tablespoons cashew Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, spritz eggplant cubes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to fully coat.
  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread eggplant cubes on baking sheets. Roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through to ensure even cooking. When the eggplant are tender, remove from oven, transfer to a large bowl (do not discard parchment paper), and allow to cool for five minutes or so. Mash the eggplant with a potato masher or pulse a few times in a food processor.
  4. Add diced onion and minced garlic to the eggplant mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon. Stir in 1 cup of panko, Italian seasoning, basil, and cashew Parmesan cheese. Taste mixture and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Mixture should be moist enough to roll into a ball but not overly wet -- if it's too wet, add some or all of the remaining ½ cup panko.
  5. Scoop out 2 tablespoons or so of the mixture into your hand and shape into ball (slightly smaller than a golf ball). Place on the same parchment-paper-lined baking sheet you used for the eggplant cubes. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, turning at the halfway point so that sides are evenly browned.
  7. Remove eggplant meatballs from oven and let set for 5 minutes before serving over pasta with marinara or in an eggplant meatball sandwich.
Notes
Once baked, your eggplant meatballs will get firmer as they cool. I recommend making ahead of time and reheating them in marinara in a saucepan over the stove when you're ready to serve. Makes around 24.

 

easy tahini-free rosemary hummus

Foregoing the tahini called for in many hummus recipes means dropping lots of fat without sacrificing the creamy texture or rich flavor.

hummus

Easy Tahini-Free Rosemary Hummus
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained (liquid reserved) and peeled (see Notes below!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • Paprika or smoked paprika for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and rosemary to a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as many times as necessary until everything is well blended. If needed, add some of the reserved chickpea water one tablespoon at a time and/or the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and continue blending until hummus reaches your desired consistency.
  2. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle with paprika or smoked paprika before serving (if desired).
Notes
Using peeled chickpeas means pinching the skins off each bean by hand, and it takes some time! Don't bother if you want the extra fiber from the skins (or don't mind a more rustic hummus), but know that removing them will make the hummus much creamier. Personally, I put on some music and just get in the peeling zone...

 

gingersnap cookies

The classic (and perfect) holiday cookie to serve with coffee or tea.

gingersnaps

Gingersnap Cookies
 
One of the best holiday cookies to pair with coffee or tea.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I use certified-vegan Florida Crystals Organic Brown Sugar)
  • ¾ cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I used Earth Balance Vegan Shortening)
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons of water; mix and let stand a few minutes until goopy like an egg)
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar (I used certified-vegan Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar)
Instructions
  1. Beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses, and flax egg in a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer on medium speed (this can be done by hand with a spoon but is much easier with a mixer). Make sure ingredients are thoroughly creamed; as they are beaten, the mixture will turn lighter in color.
  2. Stir in all remaining ingredients except granulated sugar until mixture is completely blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Heat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease baking sheet.
  4. Shape 1 to 2 teaspoons of cookie dough (1 teaspoon for an adorable bite-sized cookie, 2 teaspoons for a larger cookie) into balls. Dip the tops and sides into granulated sugar, leaving only the bottoms uncoated.
  5. Place cookie-dough balls, sugared sides up, about 3 inches apart on baking sheet.
  6. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or just until cookies set. (It's important not to overbake cookies; they may seem very soft when you take them out of the oven, but they'll continue to harden as they cool.) Transfer baking sheet from oven to wire rack for 3 minutes or so to allow cookies to firm up, then transfer cookies from baking sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
Notes
As a rule, it's best to place cookie dough onto a cold baking sheet. I suggest turning your baking sheets upside down and running cold water on the undersides of them in between their trips into the oven so that each batch of cookies comes out perfectly. This recipe will make 40-50 cookies, depending on the size ball your roll.

 

veggie pot pies

Possibly the ultimate in comfort food. 

veggie pot pies

Veggie Pot Pies
 
Possibly the ultimate in comfort food.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 batch of vegan biscuits (here's my super-easy perfect biscuit recipe)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup red or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (+ 2 tablespoons of water)
  • 1 cup red-skinned potato (skin left on), diced
  • 1 tablespoon cooking wine or white wine
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, green beans, whatever you like) or substitute 1 cup of fresh mixed vegetables (diced) of your choice
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons non-dairy butter (I use Earth Balance)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Start by mixing up one batch of perfect biscuits. Cut the biscuits out and set them aside, leaving them unbaked.
  3. In a medium pan, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. While the onions and garlic are cooking, in a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until it's smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside.
  4. Add potatoes and wine to the onion pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the vegetable broth, almond milk, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, and cornstarch + water mixture to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. After the sauce has thickened, add the frozen mixed vegetables (or fresh vegetables) to the pan. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste (I recommend starting with ¼ teaspoon of salt and a few shakes of pepper, tasting, and adding more as necessary; make sure to season well so that your sauce is not bland). Cook the entire mixture on a low heat for another 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and discard the 2 bay leaves.
  7. Set 6 ramekins on top of an aluminum-foil-covered baking sheet (this will catch any overflow). Divide the mixture evenly between the 6 ramekins. (If you prefer, you can skip the individual ramekins and pour the mixture into an 8" x 8" baking dish.)
  8. Top with biscuits and brush each biscuit with melted vegan butter.
  9. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes (until biscuits are golden and you see the filling bubbling up). Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
Notes
Ramekins are small, and really only provide a few bites. I suggest doubling this recipe (and using a baking dish if you don't have 10-12 ramekins) if you're feeding more than two or three people or you want leftovers!

 

perfect biscuits

Light, fluffy, easy, perfect. (Adapted from Alton Brown’s Southern Biscuits recipe.)

biscuits

Perfect Biscuits
 
Light, fluffy, easy, perfect. (Adapted from Alton Brown's Southern Biscuit recipe.)
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold vegan butter (I use Earth Balance), plus a bit more for brushing on top (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cold vegan shortening (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 cup plant-based buttermilk, chilled (1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar + just under 1 cup of almond milk; directions follow!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Begin by making the plant-based buttermilk: Place 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add plain almond milk up to the 1-cup mark. Stir and chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Using your fingertips (not your palms), cut vegan butter and vegan shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (Move quickly -- you don't want the fats to melt.)
  5. Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled plant-based buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together -- do not overstir! The dough will be very sticky.
  6. Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour, and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press down into a 1-inch thick round.
  7. Cut out biscuits with a 3-inch cutter, making sure to push straight down through the dough. Reform any scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting biscuits until you have 6 (the more you work the dough, the less light and fluffy the biscuits will be, so try to get as many biscuits as possible out of the first cut).
  8. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Brush each biscuit with melted vegan butter (optional). Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, around 15 to 20 minutes.

 

date-caramel chocolate turtles

Decadent, chewy, chocolate caramel candy with health benefits? Yep. Dates are a whole food — they’re rich in fiber, packed with vitamins, and a great source of potassium and calcium.
Note: You or someone you know doesn’t like dates? I have yet to meet a date-hater who didn’t love these! This recipe will make around 15 turtles — my bet is you’ll want to double it!

turtles

Date-Caramel Chocolate Turtles
 
Decadent, chewy, chocolate caramel candy with health benefits? Yep. Dates are a whole food -- they're rich in fiber, packed with vitamins, and a great source of potassium and calcium.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound or about 1 cup, packed) soft Medjool dates, pitted (be sure your dates are sticky and moist)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for topping
  • Heaping ¾ cup of non-dairy semisweet or dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips)
  • 1½ teaspoons coconut oil or vegetable oil (coconut oil will, predictably, give them a faint coconut taste, so go with vegetable oil if you don't want that)
  • 1 cup pecan halves
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, blend the pitted dates until a sticky ball starts to form (patience -- this could take a few minutes and several times scraping down the sides of the food-processor bowl with a spoon to keep things moving)! If your dates are sticky and moist, you should have no problem, but if necessary, add a ½ to 1 teaspoon of warm water while pulsing.
  2. Once you have a paste starting to form, add the ¼ teaspoon of salt and continue to pulse until everything is well combined (it's okay if it's not perfectly blended and creamy). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a double boiler over a medium heat (or in the microwave in 40-second intervals), melt the chocolate and your oil of choice together.
  4. On a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, arrange pecan halves in groups of four (these are your turtle's four legs -- you can add additional pecan pieces if you're a stickler for anatomical accuracy and want to represent the head and tail, but I find four work best).
  5. Scoop a heaping teaspoon of date caramel into a mound in the middle of the pecans to make the body of the turtle. Push down on the date-caramel mound so that it holds the pecans in place.
  6. Using a spoon, coat the whole fellow in melted chocolate, leaving the ends of the pecans uncovered.
  7. Top turtles with a sprinkle of sea salt. I don't recommend skipping this step -- it's the salty/sweet contrast that makes these so decadent.
  8. Transfer baking sheet to refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow turtles to set up. Serve turtles taken directly from fridge, or let them come to room temperature if preferred. Store in container in freezer or fridge.

 

creamy tomato soup

Tomato soup fans, rejoice! This is about to become your favorite recipe.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Creamy Tomato Soup
 
Tomato soup fans, rejoice! This is about to become your favorite recipe.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least an hour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white or cooking wine (optional but recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1½ cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • Cracked pepper, to taste
Instructions
For the cashew cream:
  1. Soak raw cashews (do not used roasted cashews!) for at least an hour.
  2. Drain and rinse cashews, place in high-speed blender (such as a Nutribullet or Vitamix), and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
For the soup:
  1. In a large soup pot, heat wine (if using) and olive oil. Lower heat to medium, and add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Pour vegetable broth and tomatoes (with their liquid) into the soup pot. With a wooden spoon, gently break tomatoes up into chunks. Add the basil, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove bay leaf and discard. Optional: Reserve ¼ cup of the cashew cream for drizzling on individual servings. Pour the remaining cashew cream into soup pot (or use all of it if you're not reserving any for presentation), and stir. Working in batches, transfer mixture to a high-speed blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
  4. Serve with a drizzle of the reserved cashew cream and a basil leaf.

 

mom’s pie crust recipe

Credit where credit is due:  My mom’s got skills!
Note: This makes three pie crusts. If you only need one, you can freeze the rest of the dough for later — because soon you’ll want more pie. 

pie crust

Mom's Pie Crust Recipe
 
This recipe makes three pie crusts. If you only need one, you can freeze the rest for later!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a few tablespoons more as needed
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening, cold -- not room temperature (I use Earth Balance)
  • ½ cup almond milk
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour and salt.
  2. Add the shortening to the flour mixture in chunks, cutting it in until the dough is crumbly. You can do this with two knives or with your fingertips.
  3. Add the almond milk, and with a wooden spoon, gently mix everything together. If necessary, you may add another tablespoon or so of flour -- just enough so that you can form the dough into a ball that's not sticky and wet.
  4. With your hands, gather the dough into a ball and knead gently several times so that it holds together.
  5. Sprinkle a clean work surface and your rolling pin with flour.
  6. Divide the dough into three equal portions
  7. Roll one portion of the dough into a 11- to 12-inch circle, about 1/16-inch thick.
  8. So that the pie crust is easier to pick up and doesn't tear, carefully bring the top half of the pie crust over the bottom half. Then, gently pick up the pie crust and place it into the lower half of a 9-inch pie pan. Flip the top half back over the other side of the pan.
  9. Gently ease the pie crust in to fit the form of the pan. Using the palms of your hands, gently press the pie crust around the edge of the pan to trim off the excess dough. Add this excess dough to one of your remaining two chunks of dough.
  10. Use your thumb and forefinger to go around the circumference of the pie crust to make a decorative edge (or press the edge with the tines of a fork).
  11. You'll have two pie crusts remaining. If you're making a pudding, pumpkin, or other type of custard pie, you won't need a pie crust for the top. If you're making a fruit pie, however, and want a top crust, simply roll out one of the remaining chunks of dough to place over your fruit filling.
Notes
Pie crusts can be made ahead of time! If you're not using the dough immediately, stop at Step 6. Wrap the three chunks of dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator, or place in freezer bags and store in freezer until ready to use.

creamy roasted cauliflower soup

Cauliflower needs a public relations manager — it is anything but bland and boring.
Tip: This soup is warm and savory; for contrast, serve it alongside a crisp, bright salad with apple chunks and a spritz of lemon.

creamy roasted cauliflower soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
 
This soup is warm and savory; for contrast, serve it alongside a crisp, bright salad with apple chunks and a spritz of lemon.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped into large florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 shallot, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • drizzle or a few spritzes olive oil
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets, garlic cloves, and shallot chunks in a bowl and lightly toss or spritz with olive oil. Transfer the mixture to a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a cast iron pot or large saucepan, combine vegetable broth, coconut milk, rosemary, marjoram, salt, and bay leaf.
  4. Transfer roasted cauliflower mixture to the pot or saucepan and submerge the ingredients in the liquid (the liquid will probably not cover the cauliflower -- that's okay). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove bay leaf and transfer mixture to a high-speed blender (you may have to do this in batches). Puree until smooth and creamy, and season with additional salt if necessary.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil or truffle oil and cracked pepper.

 

 

drawing, sketching, painting

Hello, and thanks for stopping by!

If you’re wondering about the drawings and sketches you’re seeing on APB: Eats, please click on Art in the menu for more info. If you’d like to see some of my paintings, they live at www.lisacaccioppoli.com — they’d love to have you visit (and so would I).

Today, Kasia Kay Art Projects (KKAP), which represents my paintings in Chicago, posted some of my newest work. I invite you to visit KKAP’s site and have a look around!

KKAP announcment

old-fashioned apple dumplings

A little package of apple love.
Note: Nutrition goes off the rails here. You might want to save this one for a holiday or a special occasion. Just sayin’…

apple dumplings

Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings
 
Little packages of apple love.
Author:
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
For the sauce:
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons Earth Balance spread
  • ⅔ cup plant-based milk (almond, coconut, soy -- whatever you like)
  • 1 cup vegan-certified granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
Other ingredients:
  • 2-3 large apples (such as Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, or Granny Smith)
  • Cinnamon, to taste
Instructions
For the dough:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, gently whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add the ½ cup of Earth Balance spread to the flour mixture. Toss the flour over the Earth Balance spread to fully coat it. Use your fingertips (not your palms) to quickly and lightly cut in the Earth Balance. (You don’t want to do this for too long, nor do you want to use the palms of your hands; the goal is to keep the fat from melting.) Do this until the Earth Balance is evenly distributed; the mixture should be crumbly.
  3. Add the plant-based milk to the mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon. With floured hands, form a ball with the dough, making sure to get a light coating of flour onto the dough.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the ball of dough for at least 30 minutes. (Note: This dough can be made days in advance and kept in the fridge until you're ready to make the dumplings.)
For the sauce:
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, water, and 3 tablespoons of Earth Balance spread to a boil so that sugar and Earth Balance melt.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside. This will be your sauce; it will thicken as it bakes.
For the dumplings:
  1. Peel and core 2 apples to start (I don't always need a third apple -- it depends on their size).
  2. Slice into ¼-inch-thick pieces and place apple pieces in a mixing bowl. Coat with cinnamon (go as heavy as you like -- I coat them heavily!).
  3. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle (roughly 24 inches x 16 inches). Cut the dough into 6 squares.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Place a pile of cinnamon-coated apple pieces on each square of dough. With slightly wet fingertips, bring one corner of a square up to the top of the apple pile, then bring the opposite corner up and pinch together. Bring up the remaining two corners and seal. Make sure the apples are sealed in tightly by pinching up all sides -- they don't have to look perfect! Repeat with the remaining five squares.
  6. Place the dumplings into a prepared 13" x 9" baking dish. Carefully pour the sauce over the dumplings. (They'll appear to be swimming in liquid, but magic will happen in the oven.)
  7. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes (until tops are golden).
  8. To serve, place one dumpling in a bowl and spoon some of the sauce on top (and don't forget the coconut-milk (or other dairy-free) vanilla ice cream)!