Here, a warming bowl of fall veggies and black beans, with just a hint of the tropics via coconut oil and fresh lime juice. I love it with quinoa but it would also be tasty over rice.
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half if large
2 tbsp coconut oil, divided
½ small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, trimmed of tough stems and chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
juice from ½ lime (~1 Tb)
salt and black pepper
- Place sweet potato in a pot and cover with cold water by about an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat and let cook for about 10-15 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork but not mushy. Drain. When cool enough to handle, dice into small pieces.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 Tb of coconut oil in a large lidded pan or wok over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring now and then. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then stir in the kale, pour in the vegetable broth, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally and adding splashes of water if the kale starts to feel dry, until nicely cooked. This may take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how tough the kale is.
- Remove lid from pan and push the kale to the side. In the empty space, pour the remaining 1 Tb coconut oil and then the diced sweet potato. Leave the sweet potato untouched for at least a minute, just to brown it a little, then flip and let brown on the other side. (The kale will also brown a bit, too, in a lightly charred, delicious way.) Lower heat and stir in the black beans, then season with lime juice, salt, and pepper.
Yield: About 4 servings
Garlicky pasta with peas is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s easy, relatively cheap, and really hits the spot after a long day. This is another recipe I learned from my mom, who was inspired by a local pizzeria dish.
1 12oz package of pasta
4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
dash of red pepper flakes, or to taste
1½ to 2 cups frozen peas, preferably petite
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Set a timer for the cooking time.
- Meanwhile, in a small pan, cook garlic in just enough oil to cover over low heat, keeping a close watch and agitating frequently. When garlic starts to brown, turn off the heat.
- When you reach the last minute or two of cooking time for the pasta, add the peas to the boiling pasta. When time is up, drain pasta and peas together.
- Add garlic and oil to pasta and peas, and season with salt to taste.
Yield: About 4 servings
Tomato season is winding down, but local gems are still to be found in the Northeast. Little orange tomatoes are particularly delectable (and less acidic than their red cousins), and spicy pickled jalapeños compliment their sweetness deliciously.
4-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pint orange cherry tomatoes, chopped
2-3 pickled jalapeño slices, seeded and finely chopped
handful fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste
- Drizzle some olive oil into a small pot and add garlic. Cook over medium heat for just a few minutes, watching very closely and agitating frequently, until garlic is fragrant and a little golden.
- Add tomatoes and jalapeño slices, turn down heat slightly and let simmer for just a few minutes more, letting the tomatoes “melt.”
- Season with salt and a tiny bit of black pepper (just a pinch) and tear in some fresh basil.
There are about a zillion vegan tofu scramble recipes out there; here’s mine. It’s simple and straightforward, as good comfort food should be. (Please excuse the mediocre night-lit photo. September is not an easy month and I’m struggling to keep up with Vegan Mofo. Scroll down for a cute photo. XO.)
1/4 block of firm tofu, patted with a towel and gently squeezed, but not pressed
1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and black pepper
squeeze of fresh lemon (~1/4 small lemon should do it)
generous handful of arugula
toast for serving, optional
Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and crumble in the tofu with your hands. Season with nutritional yeast and a bit of salt, and stir to mix. Heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, just until lightly browned. Stir in arugula and lemon juice, then turn off heat. Season with pepper and a bit more salt (if needed) and serve topped with tomatoes, on toast if desired.
Yield: 1 serving
AKA plops, though my mom will deny ever giving them such a name. (In all fairness it was probably one of my sisters.) We grew up eating these no-bake wonders as well as helping our mom make them. She originally got the recipe from the mother of her childhood best friend, passing the recipe along to my sisters and me, and my sisters to their kids. If there’s any cookie that’s dear to our hearts, it’s plops. This is the veganized, slightly more healthful version, which calls for natural peanut butter and unsweetened coconut.
*If your peanut butter is unsalted, add a pinch of salt.
½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
½ cup non-hydrogenated margarine, preferably Earth Balance
2 cups sugar (I use organic cane)
3 cups oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
3 tbsp cocoa
2/3 cup unsweetened natural peanut butter
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Line a couple of baking sheets, cutting boards, or other flat surface with waxed paper.
- In a saucepan, mix the milk, margarine, and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring to melt all the margarine, until mixture comes to a rolling boil, then cook for 1 more minute
- Remove from heat and add oats, cocoa, peanut butter, coconut, and vanilla. Stir to mix.
- Drop by spoonfuls (each roughly a heaping tablespoon) onto waxed paper and let cool. If your kitchen is hot you can speed up this process by putting them in the freezer.
Yield: Around 40 cookies