I've tried three recipes already, all of which have turned out pretty well. Of course I do my usual substitutions and omission, lazy chef that I am, but these recipes all provided ample quantities of hearty food that lasted me for days.
Here's what I made:
1. Cajun Red Beans and Rice for Super Bowl Sunday
This was a super-simple concotion of brown rice, canned kidney beans and vegan sausage. I use vegan chipotle chorizo from Field Harvest, and I also substituted one chopped poblano pepper for the green bell pepper called for. Finally, the recipe includes a mini-recipe for your own cajun seasoning, which would have made enough to save some for later. Instead I just took the ingredients I had on hand for that cajun seasoning (cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, chili powder, and ground mustard) and tossed a bit of each into the pot. I thought the combo came out really spicy and awesome, but all that spice, the poblano, the chipotle sausage, plus the onion and garlic that get sauteed up to kick off the recipe did result in a little too much heat for some. I did have a couple of family members that it just too spicy for.
The recipe takes almost an hour start-to-finish, but that's mostly because of the 40 minutes of simmering after you've combined all the ingredients, including the brown rice.
I'm always happy when I can use my cute little Le Creuset round casserole, and this looked pretty cute in it, but you get a picture of a hearty bowlful:
2. Peanut Pumpkin Soup
This soup is rich, but perhaps a little bland. And yes, that's likely because I only used red pepper flakes of all the spices and herbs the recipe called for. I rejected putting bay leaves, thyme and sage in it, since those are not my favorite flavors, but didn't compensate with enough curry powder, salt and garlic powder. I will say that the soup was better on days two and three.
This is also a very simple recipe. There's a bit of chopping (onion, celery and carrots) and a lengthy simmer period (30 minutes) but if you've got a leftover can of pumpkin puree in the pantry that you never used in the Fall, then you're probably able to whip this up pretty easily.
After sauteeing the aforementioned chopped vegetables, you add a can of white beans (I used cannellini), peanut butter that's been blended with hot or boiling water to create a smooth liquid (I used hot water...too lazy to even boil some up!), a can of pumpkin puree, some white wine, some cubed yellow potatoes, all those spices, and vegetable stock or water.
And then you just let it simmer.
I also have this habit of *never* using vegetable stock in the quantities called for. I always replace at least half with plain water. I don't make my own vegetable stock, and even the highest quality organic super-special store-bought stock comes with a strong flavor that turns me off. So when I say this soup was a tad blander than I would have liked, I fully acknowledge that is entirely of my own doing.
It looked beauitful, was very rich and creamy, and I shared it with a co-worker 3 days later, and it was proclaimed to be excellent soup :)
3. Finally, last night, I made Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Pecans.
Only for me it was: Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Nuts, and Baked Tofu
I will try most Brussels Sprouts recipes, because I love them and try to always have some on hand. This dish was a definite hit. My S.O. gobbles up anything I make with pretty consistent fervor, but doesn't talk about the dishes much. This one elicited three separate compliments.
Left to my own devices I always start a dish by sauteeing in olive oil, sometimes avocado oil. This dish started by sauteeing in Earth Balance vegan butter, which lends it a bit of richness. After sauteeing up a bunch of shredded Sprouts and salt, you add in one tart apple (I used Granny Smith), garlic cloves and maple syrup...another key ingredient for this combo.
While you're doing all this sauteeing, you can simultaneously be toasting your nuts. I'm not a big pecan fan, and never have them on hand, so I used a combo of slivered almonds and pine nuts. Using one of the other probably would have suited just as well, but I got wild and crazy and mixed my nuts.
The recipe ends as simply as it begun...toss in the nuts, some salt and pepper, and the juice of a lemon and toss it all together. Patrick Goudreau says the lemon is option, but I think it's pretty important. She also suggests adding tofu to take this dish from a side dish to a main dish. I had some store-bought baked tofu on hand (from Costco!) and tossed that in, and it did make this a full dinner. I cna also easily see using seitan, which I'm much more likely to always have on hand.)
Speaking of Costco...I went for only the second time ever (the last time being over a decade ago) and it totally freaked me out. But they did actually have some vegan stuff there that I tried, like this baked tofu.
Given the S.O. clearly enthusiastic response, and the ease of this dish, It's going to become one of my staples!
There you have it: My week in #VegCookbookClub cooking!