by amvandenhurk | Curry, Plant-Based Eating
I love curry, but you guessed that right? I make curry at least 3 times a week. We love it. Spinach and Butter Bean Curry is another quick and simple curry. I can make this curry in a hurry. It can be on the table in 15 minutes. I make my rice in the rice cooker in the morning, but if I haven’t make rice then naan works well with it as it is a soup-like curry. Dunk that naan in the goodness.
Curries are daunting to people but they are simple dishes to make once you have the basic ingredients. Stock your spice cabinet with the following which forms the basics for any curry you’ll make: mild curry powder, turmeric, ground cumin, cumin seeds, garam masala, and ground coriander. What’s great is that these ingredients are available in most grocery stores or online. Amazon is where I get my spices in bulk these days. While I love going to specialty shops, my schedule these days doesn’t allow me the time to go off on my shopping adventures. So give it a try.
My pantry is always stocked with baby potatoes, canned coconut milk, canned lentils, and different kinds of canned beans and tomatoes. Rice, lentils, and pasta, too. And in my fridge always has baby spinach as well as minced ginger, minced garlic, cauliflower, red peppers, carrots, and cilantro. All of these can make a curry, but a lot of other things.
Spinach and Butter Bean Curry is a handful of ingredients. Canned butter beans, canned diced tomatoes, baby spinach, minced ginger, green onions, canned coconut milk, curry powder, and ground cumin. This recipe only calls for the green part of the green onion. What I like to do is put the rest in a jar with water and the green part regrows.
The lads at The Happy Pear are my go-to for lots of great plant-based recipes which I modify to make it even easier for us in the US. Looking for more curries like the Spinach and Butter Bean Curry? Click here.
Spinach and Butter Bean Curry
- 1 can butterbeans, drained
- 1 cup green beans
- 200 grams oyster mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 6 scallions/green onions green part only
- Dash of crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1.5 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 can coconut milk
- 150 ml water
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1. Finely chop the green part of green onions. Finely chop the oyster mushrooms and chop the green beans in half.
- 2. Drain and rinse the butterbeans.
- 3. Put a large pan on a high heat, add olive oil.
- 4. Add the ginger, crushed red pepper, and the scallion greens cooking for 1-2 minutes stirring.
- 5. Add the mushrooms and the green beans and cook for 3 further minutes.
- 6. Add 2 tablespoons of tamari and cook for a further minute.
- 7. Add spices cooking for a minute.
- 8. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and bring to the boil.
- 9. Bring to a boil then serve over rice.
by amvandenhurk | Pasta, Plant-Based Eating
Looking for some plant-based comfort food for cold fall nights? Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi fits the bill. One of new favorite meals. With our schedules, a quick easy weekday meals are essential. This not only comfort food, but quick and easy.
There is something so comforting about a big bowl of something delicious as the days get shorter and colder. Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi is a one-pot meal with a handful of ingredients. Outside of the kale, it is made with pantry items. Just gnocchi, kale, broth, beans, minced garlic, milk, butter, and parmesan cheese. That’s it. And it can be make in less than 25 mins. A quick, easy home cooked meal that’s faster than delivery.
Now I’m not going to say it is healthy as it does have milk and butter… and just because it is vegan products doesn’t mean it is low fat or low calorie. But it is awfully good. Again comfort food. You can make it with dairy or plant-based products. I made it plant-based and my guys couldn’t tell the difference. It is all about the blending of the simple flavors. All I used was garlic, salt, and pepper, but yet it bursts with flavor.
If you want to have a special meal, then you can make your own gnocchi. Making your own gnocchi isn’t as hard as you think. And it is a fun family activity. The homemade gnocchi recipe makes a few servings and that freeze well; however, packaged gnocchi works well. And that’s what I’ve been using as I haven’t been motivated to make my own and I lack freezer space. I used spinach one; because that’s the only kind Aldi had when I ran it to get bread and didn’t really want to stop into another grocery store. It turned out quite nice. You could say that the meal was brought to you by the color green. Don’t be afraid to try different kinds of gnocchi as well as kale. I like lacinato kale, but use whatever you have available to you. Just chop it well so it cooks quickly.
Give Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi a try.
Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup plant milk like oat milk
- 2 tablespoons vegan unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 16 ounces gnocchi
- 3 cups chopped fresh kale
- 1 (15 oz) can butter beans, drained
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- 1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
- 2. Add garlic; stir constantly for 1 minute until fragrant.
- 3. Add broth, milk, butter and salt and pepper to taste.
- 4. Add gnocchi; stir to combine stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes until gnocchi is soft.
- 5. Stir in kale, beans and Parmesan cheese.
- 6. Cook until kale is just wilted.
- 7. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
by amvandenhurk | Asian, Plant-Based Eating
I grew up with package ramen where you added boiling water and the flavor packet. Not until I was in my forties did I realize that there was more to ramen noddles than what I had been eating for decades. Ramen noddles are so versatile. The noodles aren’t often the stars of the dish. It is the toppings. Fresh, crunchy toppings such as bean sprouts, carrots, radishes, chili, and cilantro. Typically boiled eggs and sliced meat are added. Not in this plant-based Easy Japanese Ramen.
Easy Japanese Ramen
Easy Japanese Ramen is a filling meal that can be made in less than 20 minutes. Ramen is a perfect anytime meal such as a quick lunch or weekday meal. You can keep it simple or go crazy. Like with any soup, the broth is key. While you could make your own veg broth, I use store-brought veg stock, but I add squeezable ginger, miso, and tamari (or soy sauce) to make the broth special. And I use the .40 cent packaged ramen noodles. The favors and textures are complex. The flavorful broth with the soft noodles topped with crunchy bean sprouts, carrots, and cilantro is wonderful. Every bite is different. It is up to you as how you want to make your ramen. I use what I have on hand. You could add other veg as well. You can make it your own.
Easy Japanese Ramen and other soups are easy and filling meals to enjoy especially in the colder months.
Newport Noodle Bars
Noodle bars are becoming very popular and if you want a fancier ramen experience then they are a place to go. I’m lucky to live in Newport, Rhode Island with a diverse food scene. We have two ramen noodle places within walking distance of our house. Boru is the closest to me (36 Broadway) and was the first noodle bar I’ve ever visited. Their noodles are handmade and topped with fresh ingredients. All made in house. The other noodle bar is Yagi (20 Long Wharf Mall) which I hope to try soon as the reviews have been wonderful.
- 8 cups veg stock
- 4 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons miso paste
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 packages of ramen noodles
- 1 cup oyster mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons water
- 4 green onions
- 1 large carrot grated
- 1 pack of bean sprouts
- Handful of cilantro
- 1. To make the broth, first put the veg stock and 2 tablespoons tamari together with the ginger, the juice of 1 lime and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup into a suitable sized pan and bring to the boil.
- 2. Slice the mushrooms.
- 3. Heat a nonstick pan on high heat Put adding the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring regularly (if it starts to stick add 1 tsp of water).
- 4. Mix 3 tablespoons tamari, the 3 tbsp water, juice of 1 lime, and the 1 tablespoon maple syrup in a bowl and add to the mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes or until most of the sauce has been absorbed.
- 5. Once the broth is boiling, reduce to a simmer and add the noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- 6. Slice the green onions, grated the carrots, and rise the bean sprouts.
- 7. Put noodles in bowls and ladle the broth to each bowl.
- 8. Add toppings to ramen then finish with the cooked mushrooms.
by amvandenhurk | Dessert, Plant-Based Eating
It is officially Fall and that means apple pie for me. Not pumpkin spice anything. Don’t get me wrong I love a pumpkin donut from Dunkin’ or better yet my sister’s amazing pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting. But I can’t get into the cult of pumpkin spice. I’m a fan of anything apple. I love apple cider donuts, tarts, apple sauce, and pie.
American as Apple Pie
Every country in the western world has their apple dessert. Apples are hardy and store well. They are portable and don’t require anything. Grab, go, and eat. The picture that stays with me from the Netherlands is girls on bikes eating apples as they cycle to school, work, or home. The Netherlands and Germany are known for their apple desserts in forms of cakes.
Apples as we know them today are not native to the Americas. The seeds were brought by colonists after they found the native crab apples not eatable. In the late 18th Century, Dutch immigrants brought apple preserving techniques and the Germans shared their flaky buttery crust creating a new truly American dessert, the apple pie. Reference to apple pie in the US goes as far back as 1796 in the cook book, American Cookery.
During the First and Second World Wars, soldiers were heard saying the reason why they were fighting was for “Mom and Apple Pie.” The humble pie became associated with patriotism.
I buy small organic Gala apples in bags at Aldi with very intention of eating them. Sometimes I do, but others times they just sit there like they are posing for a still life. I hate to waste food so when they get to the point of not very appealing to grab and eat, I make either apple sauce or pie with them.
Since I always have apples, frozen rolled pie crust, and the other ingredients on hand, it is a quick and simple dessert that I could make a lot more. That said, if I make it all the time it won’t be good for my waist line nor will it be a special treat. I use whatever apples I have on hand which are usually Galas or any of the apples picked at my favorite local orchard, Rocky Brook, during the picking season.
Tucking into a fresh baked pie with ice cream or whipped cream is such fall comfort food.
- 8 cups thinly sliced apples (about 8 medium)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1. Preheat oven to 450F.
- 2. Roll out pre-made pie crust. Place one crust in a deep dish pie plate.
- 2. Put sliced apples and lemon juice in a bowl and tossing.
- 3. Combine sugar through salt.
- 4. Sprinkle spices over the apples and toss until well combined.
- 5. Dump the apples into the pie plate and place the top crust on crimping the edges and making slits in the top.
- 6. Brush with milk or egg wash.
- 7. Bake at 450F for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 350F baking for 40 minutes.
by amvandenhurk | Plant-Based Eating
The Tomato Sandwich. Yes, I have used “the” in front of tomato sandwich. It is a sandwich only eaten in the summer when sun-ripened tomatoes are just off the vine. It is the most delicious summer experience. Up there with strawberries, corn, and melons. You can’t beat it. It is the taste of summer. I’ll have this sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is just so good.
The Tomato Sandwich is Messy
As in tomato juices running down your elbow. And that’s what makes it so wonderful. Now American Southerners claim this sandwich as their own, but anywhere in the US where tomatoes are fresh, folks make this sandwich. How could you not? It is such a good and simple sandwich.
The key ingredients for this sandwich are garden or farm stand fresh tomatoes. Big juicy slicing tomatoes that are the size of the bread are ideal. We have Brandywines growing in our garden, and that’s what’s shown in the photos. It is worth seeking fresh tomatoes from your local farm stand or farmers’ market. The variety of tomatoes at the farmers market is plentiful; each has different flavors and textures. Something you can’t get at the grocery store.
The next ingredient is the bread. It has to be soft white bread. Not artisan bread. The traditional white sliced loaf bread. It pained me to write that last sentence, but it tastes best with that type of bread. I’ve tried it with other kinds of bread, but the white bread brings out the flavor of the other ingredients.
The last three ingredients are mayo, salt, and pepper. Mayo, There is always a debate about this among Americans: Miracle Whip or Mayo. I’m in the mayo camp using Duke’s when we lived in the US South and now that I’m plant-based, Follow Your Heart Vegenaise. No one can tell the difference between animal-based and plant-based mayos in my house. Once you’ve added a nice layer of mayo on that white bread and placed your thick sliced tomatoes, the finishing touch is salt and pepper. I use Kosher salt or Newport Sea Salt and freshly ground multi-color pepper.
That’s it—the perfect summer sandwich. Go out while the tomatoes are still fresh and make the tomato sandwich today. Enjoy summer!
- 2-3 big ripe slicing tomatoes
- Mayo - real or plant-based
- 8 slices of white bread
- Salt and Pepper
- - Thickly slice the tomatoes.
- - Slather mayo on the white bread slices.
- - Put a slice of tomato on the bread slice.
- - Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- - Add the another bread slice on the top.
- - Cut in half.
by amvandenhurk | Curry, Plant-Based Eating, Vegan
Life is busy these days for us so quick meals are essential. Kale tofu chickpea curry is a quick and easy weekday dinner. From start to finish, it can be on the table within 15 mins. Really. It is that quick.
Especially if you have a rice cooker that you can make rice in the morning. I resisted buy one for the longest time as I felt I didn’t need another kitchen gadget, but as I moved towards plant-based I was cooking a lot of rice. Worth an investment as a rice cooker can make oatmeal and other grains. Helpful if you are plant-based. When I made the decision I went with the Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer, 3-Cups after tons of research. A good rice cooker is pricey, but well worth it.
My guys aren’t fans of kale so that fact they like this curry says something. I like to get Lacinato Kale, but I think any type of kale will do. I like to visit my local farmers market or natural grocery stores. I’ve used frozen chopped kale, too, when I’m in a rush and don’t have fresh kale on hand.
The other ingredients that make up this dish are chickpeas, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, squeezable ginger, firm tofu, tamari, and curry powder. For the longest time, it get the water out of the tofu I used a Dutch Oven on top of the tofu and it worked, but I was always afraid it was going to tumble off. So I gave in and got a tofu press. I know, I know, another kitchen gadget, but it really makes a difference in how well the tofu turns out.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite vegan authors from The Happy Pear. Love this kale tofu chickpea curry? Try these curries.
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 bunch of scallions
- 2 tsp squeezable ginger
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Block Firm tofu
- 2 tbsp of tamari
- Bunch of Kale
- 2 Tbsp Curry powder
- Pinch of chili flake – optional leave out if you prefer less heat
- - Drain and dry the tofu to remove any moisture, chop tofu into bite size pieces.
- - De-stalk the kale and roughly chop the leaves and the scallions.
- - Heat a little oil on a high heat, when hot add the tofu and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned then add 2 tbsp of tamari to the pan along with the scallions, kale and ginger and 1/2 tsp of salt, reduce the heat a little and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the kale starts to wilt
- - Add the curry powder and chili flake, stirring to coat all the tofu and veg.
- - Add the coconut milk, diced tomatoes and chickpeas bringing to a boil and reduce to a simmer for a few minutes.