Archives for posts with tag: vegan

After last week’s labor-intensive cookies, I thought I’d lighten up a bit with one of the easiest, no-cook recipes around … hummus.

In fact, it always feels a little weird to have what is essentially an “assembly” recipe and call it “cooking.”  But, if you’re looking for a nice, easy dip with veggies or pita chips – or something nice to serve along with grilled meat and salad, you really can’t beat hummus.

I’ve tinkered around with this recipe for about 15 years, now – adding a little more lemon here … a little more cumin there … until I’ve finally found something that I’m very happy with.  It’s got just the right amount of olive oil it in to make it gorgeous and smooth.  Okay, I’ll say it – I’m very proud of how it’s evolved and finally turned out.  And I think you’ll like it, too!

My Favorite Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp tahini
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Pour the lot of it in a food processor and blend until very smooth.  To serve, sprinkle with a pinch of cumin and drizzle with the best olive oil you’ve got.



Confession time:  Last night, I ate two big bowls of this soup in one sitting.  Partly because it tastes soooo darned silky and yummy, and partly because it reminds me of my grandma.

See, my heritage is Italian – Northern Italian in the Piedmont region, to be specific.  So, while everyone else immediately thinks of tomatoes and mozzarella when they think of Italian food, I think of lighter fare – and, particularly the way my grandma cooked, spinach in everything. (Side note:  her version of ravioli was chicken and spinach served in a chicken broth.  The first time I ever saw ravioli made with beef in a tomato sauce, I was revolted.)

My second confession – I keep this soup very simple – I don’t throw in a lot of potatoes or butternut squash, nor do I add any herbs.  I just wanted the simple flavors of the root vegetables to come through.  You can add layers of flavor by adding some dried thyme when you’re cooking the vegetables, or finish with chopped dill just before serving.  Or you could chop up some waxy potatoes or butternut squash for additional filler, extending the soup even farther.  But, that’s the nice thing about soups, isn’t it?  It’s so easy to adapt and change, depending on what you have in your fridge or pantry.

One other thing – this could easily be turned vegan by substituting vegetable stock – or, if you’d like to make it a little heavier, you could add some chicken or pork, so feel free to tinker with you as needed.

But, if you just want to keep it at it’s basic foundation, you’ll be just as happy – the final result is gorgeous and hearty, filling you and warming you on a cold winter night!

Garlicky Winter Vegetable Soup

  • Good couple of glugs of garlic-infused olive oil (about 4 Tbsp)
  • 3 large leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ discs
  • 3 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • About 4-6 oz frozen spinach (don’t worry about thawing and draining)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, add the leeks, carrots and celery, cooking until the leeks are very wilted and the carrots are soft.  Add the garlic and cook a minute, then add the chickpeas and stock.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes.  Add the spinach, then cook another 5-10 minutes until everything is thoroughly heated.  Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.

Serve with big honkin’ pieces of garlic toast.

Garlicky winter veg soup

I feely admit, I have a “summer side” addiction.  Cole slaws.  Waldorf salads.  All kinds of salad.  Especially potato salad.  Now, me, I’m happy with a mayo-based potato salad – add a little grain mustard to the mix and I am one seriously happy camper.  However, since the mister and I are trying to watch our weight as well as our cholesterol levels, those kinds of salads are an occasional treat, definitely not a staple.

What we can enjoy with impunity is vinegar-based salads – like German potato salad!  Strictly speaking, this isn’t a true German potato salad, but it’s influence by them.  Serve it warm, room temp or cold, it’s got a zingy taste from vinegar and gherkins plus a light taste of onion from the chives – perfect and light!

German (Sorta) Potato Salad

  • 1 lb waxy new potatoes, boiled until knife-tender, then quartered
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp ground nut oil
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped
  • 6 baby gherkins, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mix the oils, vinegar and Dijon until emulsified.  Toss with the potatoes while still warm, adding the chives and gherkins.  Taste for seasoning and serve at room temp.


I had every intention of posting this yesterday right after dinner, but life got in the way.  First, the Wondermutt was a bit under the weather having eaten a milk bottle top, so we spent an hour or so trying to figure out if she needed to go to the vet.  Once we were sure she wasn’t blocked just feeling poorly, the mister and I got caught up in the movie “Short Cuts,” something I’ve wanted to see for ages.  Next thing I knew, it was 11:30 and blogging just wasn’t going to happen. 

So, here I am this morning feeling a bit sleep-deprived from the late night, but still rather pleased with the dinner I made.  If Tuesday night’s dinner fell under the category of “leisurely” with the long, slow simmering, last night’s dinner should be filed under “expeditious” (to borrow from Garrison Keillor) – from start to finish, ready in 15 minutes.  Fifteen!  And it’s low-fat, incredibly flavorsome, and fills you up without making you feel stodgy.

The other thing is that the fish and beans are a nice combination – not only do the flavors complement each other, but the puree makes a change from rice or potatoes or some kind of starch, but still gives you that same texture. 

Trout with White Bean Puree

  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and microplaned
  • 1 can cannelini beans, drained (reserve a couple of tablespoons of the liquid)
  • juice of a lemon or 2
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 filets trout
  • 3 Tbsp capers, rinsed
  • dash white wine
  • 1 Tbsp butter (optional)

Before you get started, chop the parsley and basil together – and that’s pretty much all the prep you need to do.  In a medium pot over low heat, pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot – the bean puree will need a fair amount to make sure they’re a little loose.  Microplane the garlic into the olive oil and stir through to infuse the oil.  Add the beans and reserved liquid and stir to coat with the garlicy oil, season with salt and pepper, then give them a couple of minutes to heat up before pureeing them with a hand blender or smash with a potato masher.  Top with a heaping tablespoon of the fresh herbs, cover and turn off the heat while you cook the trout.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat until sizzling hot.  Drizzle with a little olive oil before adding the trout filets skin-side down.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and a little of the lemon and cook for a minute or so (depending on the thickness) before flipping them over carefully.  Season the other side of the fish, then add the remaining herbs and the capers to the pan, splash with white wine and add either another drizzle of oil or a pat of butter.  Give the pan a good shake to distribute and create a nice herby sauce, then plate up!  Stir the herbs through the beans and give them a squeeze of the lemon juice.  If they’re still a little dry, don’t be afraid to stir in a drizzle of olive oil, as well, to make them smooth and velvety.  Top the lot with a light squeeze of lemon.

I love this dish - it has so much flavor and it's ready in no time!

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