Ratatouille & Quinoa – Gluten-Free & Vegan

It has been snowing for the last 24 hours and it’s really accumulating out there (already about 8 inches). I needed something hearty and warm for when the shovelers came inside. My answer was a large pot of colorful, aromatic French vegetable stew over hearty quinoa. I make my Ratatouille in one pot on the stove and it is naturally gluten-free and vegan. For bread eaters, this might pair really well with some crusty French bread.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

1 EGGPLANT, peeled and cut into bitesize cubes
1 tablespoon EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 large ONION, diced
4 cloves GARLIC, minced
1/4 cup dry RED WINE
28 ounce can diced TOMATOES, with juice
1/2 cup WATER
1 BAY LEAF
1 teaspoon dried BASIL
1/2 teaspoon dried THYME
1/2 teaspoon dried OREGANO
1/2 teaspoon crushed RED PEPPER FLAKES
1/4 teaspoon ROSEMARY, ground
1 teaspoon SEA SALT, divided
1/2 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER, ground
2 medium ZUCCHINI, peeled and cut bitesize
1 YELLOW SQUASH, peeled and cut bitesize
1 RED BELL PEPPER, cut bitesize
1 YELLOW BELL PEPPER, cut bitesize
2 cups QUINOA, rinsed (plus 4 cups water to cook)
Pinch of PARSLEY

Directions

  • PREPARE EGGPLANT
    • PEEL eggplant
    • CUT off both ends and CUT the eggplant into bitesize cubes
    • PLACE the eggplant cubes into a colander and TOSS with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to express excess water. SET ASIDE for about 20 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
    • RINSE before using
  • PREPARE QUINOA
    • RINSE 2 cups of quinoa in a mesh strainer under cold water
    • ADD rinsed quinoa to 4 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
    • REDUCE heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until there is no more water
    • Fluff before serving
  • HEAT olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat
  • SAUTE onion and garlic until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes
  • ADD red wine, can of tomatoes with all its juice, and the bay leaf. STIR until well blended.
  • ADD the basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and eggplant. MIX well and COVER tightly for 10 minutes over medium-low heat until eggplant is tender.
  • ADD zucchini, squash, bell peppers and STIR well. COVER again and simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Having a tight cover on your saucepan allows the liquid to recirculate back into the stew instead of getting lost through evaporation.
  • REDUCE HEAT and cook until vegetables are fork-tender. SEASON with additional salt to taste and STIR occasionally
    • The flavor will improve over time so you can REMOVE it from heat and let it sit for up to 3 hours on the counter
  • SERVE over quinoa with a pinch of parsley
  • STORE in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months

Butternut Squash Vegetable Soup

When it is cold outside there is nothing as comforting as a hot bowl of vegetable soup. Around here we just love soups of all kinds. I try to make soup on the weekends to carry us through a few chilly nights during the week. This hearty soup is full of seasonal goodness from kale and squash and packed with protein from chickpeas to make it a complete dinner. Try it alone or with a nice gluten-free/dairy-free grilled cheese sandwich.       

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 35 – 45 minutes

Servings: 8 as a main course 

Ingredients

4 tablespoons OLIVE OIL
2 large ONIONS, diced
6 CARROTS, diced
6 PARSNIPS, diced
4 stalks CELERY, diced (optional)
4 cloves GARLIC, minced
4 cups (1 whole) peeled BUTTERNUT SQUASH, in 1/2" cubes
4 cups KALE, coursely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ALLSPICE
1/4 teaspoon Kosher SALT (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon CAYENNE PEPPER (more or less to taste)
4 sprigs fresh THYME
8 cups low-salt VEGETABLE BROTH
1 15-ounce can no-salt DICED TOMATOES
1 15-ounce can CHICKPEAS

Directions

  • PEEL and CUT the butternut squash into 1/2″ cubes (follow Simplyrecipes’ direction on how to peel and cut the butternut squash safely)
  • DICE onion, carrots, parsnips
  • MINCE garlic
  • WASH the kale and REMOVE it from the stem by laying the leaf upside down on a cutting board and cutting a V shape along both sides of the rib thereby cutting it free from the leaf.  CHOP the kale coarsely.
  • HEAT olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat
  • ADD onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften and turn translucent. STIR occasionally
  • ADD the garlic and cook for 1 more minute
  • ADD the butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, (celery if you want), allspice, salt, and cayenne pepper and stir until they begin to brown (about 10 minutes)
  • ADD the sprigs of thyme, broth, and tomatoes
  • Bring to a BOIL then reduce heat and SIMMER for 10 minutes (or until vegetables are tender)
  • ADD chickpeas and kale
  • SIMMER for another 10 minutes, until kale has wilted
  • REMOVE the sprigs of thyme before serving
  • STORE for 5 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer

Inspired by Ellie Krieger

Grandma’s Potato Latkes – Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free

This Hanukkah treat is all about the frying. It represents the magic of the oil that lit the menorah (holy candelabra) for 8 days when there was only enough oil for 1 day.  There is no dairy in this dish and by using gluten-free matzo meal it’s just like my mother made. I remember grinding 10 pounds of potatoes by hand with a meat grinder, luckily today I use a food processor. For the no egg, Vegan version, check out my other recipe. 

Preparation Time: 20 -30 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes a pancake/batch

Servings: 8


Ingredients

3 cups POTATOES, grated and drained well 
About 8 medium Yukon Gold or Idaho 1 large ONION, grated 2 EGGS, beaten 1 teaspoon SALT 1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER 2 tablespoons gluten-free MATZO MEAL 1/2 cup Vegan BUTTER or other light oil for frying Roll of PAPER TOWELS APPLESAUCE or Vegan SOUR CREAM, optional

Directions

  • Using a fine or medium grater blade on your food processor,* GRATE the potatoes
  • DRAIN the grated potatoes really well before continuing. I put the grated potatoes in a big wire strainer over a large bowl. I then place a plate over the mixture and press down gently to express the potato starch. Get rid of as much liquid as you can. Warning: potato starch is really messy.
  • Using a medium grater blade on your food processor,* GRATE the onion (or finely chop if you prefer). Keep the onion juice and add to the mix for flavor.
  • In a large bowl, ADD the onion to the drained potatoes and mix well
  • BEAT the eggs and ADD to the onion/potato mixture
  • STIR in the seasonings and matzo meal
  • HEAT a small amount of the butter or oil in a large frying pan.  Let it get hot
  • SPOON (or I use my hands and make patties so I can squeeze out any excess liquid) the mixture into the frying pan and form pancakes. I usually get 6 to 8 pancakes in the pan at a time
  • FLATTEN the pancakes with a spatula
  • FRY each pancake for about 5 minutes over medium heat, then turn over until nicely browned on both sides. (I like my latkes dark and crisp, but my spouse likes them undercooked, so it’s up to your taste how long you fry)
  • Layer paper towels on a plate or cookie sheet and place the cooked latkes on the paper towels to DRAIN. I make so many that I build a tower of draining latkes in paper towel tiers
  • Add more butter or oil as required to fry the next batch
  • Serve hot with applesauce or vegan sour cream

*To make latkes without a food processor, just grate the potatoes manually, chop the onions as finely as possible (or grate them too) and follow the rest of the instructions above.

This recipe was inspired by Jennie Grossinger from “The Art Of Jewish Cooking,” personally autographed to my mother in 1958 by Jennie.

 

Mom’s Outrageously Good Gluten-Free Vegan Mac & Cheese

To me, Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate American comfort food. My gluten-free and dairy-free version of this classic, similar to the original 1794 recipe by Elizabeth Raffald, is based on a creamy white mornay sauce. The secret is in the roux so don’t let it burn.  I recommend you spice the dish up a notch because Vegan cheese can be bland. We love it with sweet peas.   

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6 -8

Ingredients

1 16-ounce package of Gluten-free ELBOW MACARONI
2 cups Vegan CHEDDAR CHEESE (I use Daiya brand)
1 cup Vegan MOZZARELLA CHEESE (I use Daiya brand)
3 tablespoons Vegan BUTTER (I use Earth Balance brand soy-free sticks)
3 tablespoon Gluten-free FLOUR
2 cups CASHEW MILK (my favorite) or any milk alternative (Rice/Almond)
1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
1 teaspoon of GARLIC POWDER
1 teaspoon of ONION SALT
SALT to taste (warning Daiya cheese tastes salty to me so salt sparingly)
Gluten-free ITALIAN BREAD CRUMBS to cover the top
1/4 teaspoon PAPRIKA

Directions

  • PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F.
  • COOK the macaroni a few minutes less than the instructions on the package tells you to (like 5 minutes instead of 8). The pasta will continue to cook when you bake it.
  • GREASE an 8X10 baking dish. I use a smaller baking dish then I think I need so that the recipe sets up nicely. 
  • DRAIN the pasta and place it in the greased baking dish.
  • MIX 1 cup of the Vegan cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of the Vegan mozzarella cheese into the pasta.
  • In a medium saucepan, MELT the butter over low heat. 
  • ADD the flour and WHISK continuously until gooey.
  • STIR in the milk*, pepper, garlic powder, and onion salt until mixture starts to boil and then stir another 1-2 minutes until it gets thick and bubbly. (*NOTE: Don’t let the sauce turn into a paste. You just want a thick liquid. Add more milk as needed.)
  • POUR the milk mixture over the cheese/pasta in the baking dish and mix thoroughly.
  • TOP the dish with the remaining cheeses, SPRINKLE with plenty of bread crumbs, and then DUST with paprika.
  • BAKE for 30 minutes. The top should be nicely browned and the cheese should be bubbly.
Mac & Cheese ready for the overn
Mac & Cheese ready for the oven

Pear & Brussels Sprouts Salad

With all the Romaine lettuce contamination scares in the United States, I decided to use Brussels sprouts as an alternative salad base. The maple-balsamic dressing and the pears make this salad so sweet and delicious that we literally fought over the bowl. I never thought I could learn to love those little ‘heads’ so much.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

Salad
1 pound of BRUSSELS SPROUTS, pulled and sliced
2 ripe PEARS, chopped
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries (CRasians)
1/4 cup PECANS, coursely chopped
Dressing
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon of MAPLE SYRUP
1-1/2 tablespoons of BALSAMIC VINEGAR
1 teaspoon DIJON MUSTARD
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/8 teaspoon PEPPER
1/4 clove GARLIC, optional

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, prepare the salad dressing by WHISKING together the oil, maple syrup, vinegar, and mustard and then salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic if you want a little extra kick.
  • CLEAN the Brussel sprouts by cutting off the stalk end and then pull off and discard the tough outer leaves. SLICE the Brussels sprouts as thin as you like with a very sharp knife. I mix both ripped leaves and thinly sliced pieces for a nice texture. 
  • In a large bowl, MIX Brussel sprouts, pears, cranberries, and pecans.
  • POUR salad dressing over mixture and TOSS salad.

This recipe was inspired by “Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette” from Martina’s Kitchen Mix by Martina McBride.

Vegan Potato Latkes

By replacing eggs with tofu, these amazing potato latkes (pancakes) are the perfect fried dish to celebrate Hanukkah. I use two frying pans to keep the production line going. People start stealing them from the plate before I ever get them to the table. 

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes a pancake/batch

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

3 cups POTATOES (about 8 medium Yukon Gold or Idaho), drained well
1/2 pound firm TOFU, drained well
1 large ONION
1 teaspoon SALT
1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
1 clove GARLIC, optional
2 tablespoons gluten-free MATZO MEAL
1/2 cup Vegan BUTTER or other light oil for frying
Roll of PAPER TOWELS
APPLESAUCE or Vegan SOUR CREAM, optional

Directions

  • Using a fine or medium grater blade on your food processor,* GRATE the potatoes
  • DRAIN the grated potatoes really well before continuing. I put the grated potatoes in a big wire strainer over a large bowl. I then place a plate over the mixture and press down gently to express the potato starch
  • Using a medium grater blade on your food processor,* GRATE the onion (or finely chop if you prefer)
  • In a large bowl, ADD the onion to the drained potatoes and mix well
  • PROCESS or MASH the tofu until it is creamy with a few lumps
  • ADD the tofu to the onion/potato mixture
  • STIR in the seasonings and matzo meal
  • HEAT a small amount of the butter or oil in a large frying pan.  Let it get hot
  • SPOON (or I use my hands and make patties) the mixture into the frying pan and form pancakes. I usually get 6 to 8 pancakes in the pan at a time
  • FLATTEN the pancakes with a spatula
  • FRY each pancake for about 5 minutes over medium heat, then turn over until nicely browned on both sides. (I like my latkes dark and crisp, but my spouse likes them undercooked, so it’s up to your taste how long you fry) 
  • Layer paper towels on a plate or cookie sheet and place the cooked latkes on the paper towels to DRAIN. I make so many that I build a tower of draining latkes in paper towel tiers
  • Add more butter or oil as required to fry the next batch
  • Serve hot with applesauce or vegan sour cream

*To make latkes without a food processor, just grate the potatoes manually, chop the onions as finely as possible (or grate them too), mash the tofu, and follow the rest of the instructions above.

This recipe was inspired by Jennie Grossinger from “The Art Of Jewish Cooking,” personally autographed to my mother in 1958 by Jennie.

Green Bean Casserole – Vegan

This is my daughter’s all-time favorite and it disappears quickly. Nutritional yeast makes all the difference and you can get that at most health food stores (I get mine at the Amish Market). Don’t overfill the dish with too much sauce or it will be soupy. I undersize the casserole dish so that it sets up nicely.

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) vegan BUTTER
1/4 cup gluten-free FLOUR
1 1/2 cup vegetable BROTH
1 tablespoon gluten-free TAMARI (Soy Sauce)
1/2 teaspoon GARLIC POWDER
2 tablespoons Vegetable OIL
1/4 cup NUTRITIONAL YEAST
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
2 14.5-ounce cans French-style or Cut GREEN BEANS, drained
1 2.8-ounce can of gluten-free FRENCH FRIED ONIONS (hard to find but they do exist)

Directions

  • PREHEAT the oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a medium saucepan, MELT the butter over low heat
  • ADD the flour and WHISK continuously until gluey
  • ADD the broth, tamari, and garlic powder, whisking continuously for 1 or 2 minutes, until thick and bubbly
  • ADD the vegetable oil and nutritional yeast. Whisk until smooth
  • In a small casserole dish mix the GREEN BEANS and the SAUCE so that the beans are coated. Don’t use too much sauce or it won’t set nicely
  • BAKE for 10 minutes
  • Remove from oven and SPRINKLE the French-fried onions on top
  • BAKE another 10 minutes, until brown and bubbly

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

Every year I try some different veggies (this year it was purple turnips and yellow beets) depending on what looks good in the market. The natural sweetness of beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes makes this an annual Thanksgiving favorite. This dish is a great alternative to the ever-present sugar and fat-laden sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows.

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Servings: About 12

Ingredients

2 cups CARROTS, peeled & sliced
1 pound BEETS, cut into 1" pieces
2 medium SWEET POTATOES, cut into 1" pieces
3 medium PARSNIPS, peeled & sliced
1 medium TURNIP, cut into 1" pieces
3 medium RED POTATOES, cut into 1" pieces
2 medium RED ONIONS, cut into wedges
5 cloves GARLIC, whole
1 tablespoon OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon fresh ROSEMARY LEAVES, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh THYME LEAVES
1 cup VEGETABLE BROTH

Directions

  • HEAT the over to 425 degrees F
  • LINE a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil. The size of the pan should match how many veggies you are using. I suggest a 17X11-inch
  • PLACE the veggies in the pan and mix with the herbs and the oil
  • ROAST the veggies for 30 minutes
  • POUR broth over the veggies and stir
  • ROAST another 20 minutes or until everything is tender