Have you ever had ricotta toast? It’s a simple recipe with lots of variations. It all starts with a slice of quality fresh bread, a delicious dollop of ricotta cheese, and a range of topping options. You can make sweet and savory ricotta toast, from burst tomatoes with basil to fig jam with pistachios and rosemary.
This recipe is one of my favorites, topped with charred broccoli and red pepper flakes! Simple, but delicous. I made mine in our pizza oven to give it a slightly smoky and sweet taste! If using the pizza oven, be sure to have the fire scorching and a stone warming in the oven. I slid my toasts off onto the hot stone using a pizza peel. I used oven-proof gloves and bbq tongs to remove each slice vs. trying to use the peel to remove them. Trust me; this is the easiest way!
The cheese was perfectly melted, the broccoli was lightly caramelized, and the toasts were crisp on the outside but still soft and chewy on the inside! I had to wrap them up so I wouldn’t eat them all!
If you make them tag me and let me know how you like them! You can also drizzle with some agave nectar to finish them off!
Are you looking for an easy appetizer? Well, who doesn’t love a good dip? Admittedly, it’s one of my guilty pleasures! And this recipe is the first to come to mind! I love all things dip, hummus, queso, cream cheese, and my vegan peppercorn ranch, but I especially love this Smoky Poblano Corn Dip! It’s delicious and gorgeous and will be a hit among your non-vegan friends and family.
I like to set it out and watch people gobble it up. They will often ask who made the corn dip and when they find out it was me, they are always amazed that it is 100% vegan!
I typically use poblano peppers for mine, but you can use anaheim or hatch peppers. And for reasons of sustainability, I also use Follow Your Heart sour cream because it contains no palm oil. I use R.W. Garcia chips because they are yummy, the family has a great story, their products are organic/non-GMO, and they are a sustainable climate pledge-friendly company.
As always, tag me and let me know how you like it!
A super yummy appetizer that will leave you wanting more! You can easily use frozen organic corn in place of corn cobs. I don’t recommend canned corn because it’s usually very high in sodium, it has a metallic taste, and it’s not fresh! Trust me on this one!
4 poblano, Anaheim, or hatch peppers
4 ears of corn, husks removed cut in half (about 2 cups)
5 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced on the bias (reserve 2 tablespoons)
On a prepared baking sheet, add the poblano peppers and roast for about 5 minutes, occasionally rotating until all sides are charred. Immediately place them in a medium bowl and cover them tightly with plastic wrap.
Warm a medium-size non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When ready, add corn. Toast the corn cobs for about 10 minutes (2 1/2 minutes per side), allowing half of the kernels to get charred. Allow them to cool enough to handle, then cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife, place them in a large mixing bowl. (In a separate small bowl, reserve 1 tablespoon of corn for garnish)
Preheat oven to 450°F degrees.
When the poblanos have cooled, remove the stems, skin, seeds, and veins. Then chop them into ¼ inch pieces—Reserve 2 tablespoons of peppers for garnish and mince. Add to the small bowl of corn garnish. Then add the remaining peppers to the large mixing bowl of corn.
To the corn pepper mixture, add scallions, garlic, lime juice, chili lime seasoning, paprika, hot sauce, sour cream, softened cream cheese, and salt and pepper, mix well.
Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or a 2-quart baking dish, and bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove when it is hot and bubbling around the edges of the pan.
Top with additional scallions, cilantro, corn poblano garnish, and a dash or two of smoked paprika. Serve with corn chips.
*I use “Follow Your Heart” because it contains no palm oil.
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? I certainly do. It’s one of my favorite places on earth. It is the only place that I know of in the US with its own unique music, dialect, food, and cultural traditions like Mardi Gras that define the city. In fact, I wish I were in New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year.
It’s also a town that I happily eat my way through. Before becoming a vegan, I had a list of places to go and food to eat. Commander’s, Tujague’s, Antoine’s, Cafe Maspero, anywhere for a little Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie, and a Filé Gumbo! I’ve been able to replicate many of my favorite dishes except for one.
The last time I was there I had the best vegan crab cakes! Made from Heart of Palm instead of crab meat they were absolutely delectable! They were flakey, moist, and full of flavor.
The problem with hearts of palm.
Harvesting the “heart of palm” kills most palms. So wild harvesting can be very damaging if done on a widespread basis. The hearts of palm that I buy is the “Native Forest” brand. Here is a quote from their website—”Here we rely upon the Euterpe precatoria, or huasaí palm tree, which grows profusely throughout this vast Amazonian rainforest.
Long-term leases secure approximately 240,000 acres of pristine native forest for the wild hearts of palm ecological project, thereby protecting the land from any rain forest-destructive development. In addition to preserving the region’s ecology, this project brings needed employment to those who live deep in the Amazon basin, providing them the opportunity to work closer to their families and their ancestral homes.”
But not all brands are as conscientious as Native Forest, and it’s best to check. The Environmental Working Group’s page is an excellent resource for studying everything from sustainability to child labor and products that contain pesticides, GMOs, etc.
So back to the recipe! The hearts of palm are a perfect replacement for crab meat. These little gems are crispy on the outside and flaky and moist inside. My mother-in-law (who is not vegan) was utterly blown away! You can pan-fry, air fry or oven fry them, whatever your preference. Just be sure to heat your oven to the lowest setting and add them to the range to keep them warm. Serve with a side of corn maque choux and enjoy!
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is my favorite time of year— a time of gathering and reflecting. It’s hard for me not to get sentimental about the past. Remembering my childhood holidays is one of life’s greatest treasures given to me. To create new memories for my family, I spend days upon days decorating my home, cooking warm comfort foods, and snuggling up by the fire playing board games! We just got a new dice game called LCR! I can’t wait to play!
I miss my grandma a lot, though. I find myself longing to be there at her side once more, I, a little scraggly blonde girl, standing on a footstool in the kitchen next to an ever-patient baker and teacher. Helping her knead dough and ice and cut dozens of sweet rolls. I hope you, too, find yourself comforted in the fond days of yore and spend time this season with those you love, creating new memories.
This red beet hummus is so easy to make! Mainly because you don’t have to go through the hassle of peeling and roasting beets if you don’t want to! Made like traditional hummus, I used four small beets out of a pack of freshly packed beets, a can of garbanzo’s, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt/pepper. I minced some additional garlic and garnished it with fresh parsley! It makes a quick and lovely appetizer that will be the hit of any holiday party!
Everyone loves hummus! At least, everyone I know loves hummus. But I’ll be you’ve never had hummus made with ingredients forged from your backyard! And I don’t mean your garden! Here in Missouri, we have an overabundance (literally) of wild garlic mustard. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take a walk in the woods with a Conservation Agent. She showed our group how to identify wild edible mushrooms, wild ginger, and wild garlic mustard. In addition, we found wild onions and learned about edible flowers. Hence, my recipe for Wild Garlic Mustard Hummus with Roasted Radish and Wildflowers!
I have wanted to make this recipe for a while but just haven’t had the time. Until now! I was a little nervous about posting this hummus, as I thought many people might refrain from making it because of the “wild” nature of the recipe! But, I decided to make it anyway because finding wild garlic mustard is very easy for those who want to head to the woods. For those who are not feeling quite that adventurous, feel free to use dandelion greens, arugula, or another spicy green!
Know Before You Go
Garlic Mustard is one of the more popular wild edibles, and it is also one of the healthiest. However, it would be best to learn how to identify it correctly before you can forage this wild edible. Thankfully Garlic Mustard is a straightforward plant to identify, plus it does not have any toxic look likes to my knowledge. It is also considered to be an invasive plant, so it is not recommended that you plant it after you pull it.
I do not particularly care for raw radishes! They are just a little too spicy for my palate. However, roasting them brings out their natural sweetness and transforms them into something I can’t get enough of! They add a lovely addition and the farmer’s markets are brimming with them! If you opt for the wildflowers be sure they are far enough in the woods that they don’t get sprayed with pesticides. The tops of clover are a perfect choice. Wild blue phlox (the perennial kind in the woods), marigolds, dandelions, nasturtiums, roses, or the tops off of any flowering herb work well as a topper! I have tons of phlox in my backyard so it was an obvious choice for me!
1 lb. fresh radishes, stems removed, ends trimmed, and halved
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, or avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tspdried chives
1/4 tsp dried dill
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cupwild garlic mustard, rinsed, and chopped
1can organicchickpeas, drained, and rinsed
3 Tbsp organic tahini
1 Tbsp(15ml)lemon juice, about 1/2 a large lemon
2 Tbsp (30ml)water
2 Tbsp(30ml)olive oil (if oil free, you can sub oil for chickpea brine)
Preheat oven to 425℉. In a bowl, combine the radishes, coconut oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss until the radishes are evenly coated. (Note: don’t add the minced garlic until step 3).
Spread radishes out in a single layer in a large parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes of baking add the minced garlic and toss. Return to oven to bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until radishes are golden brown and easily pierced with a fork.
Garnish with fresh parsley, dill, or chives
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.
If the hummus is too dry, add 1 tbsp of water, or aquafaba (chickpea brine) until desired consistency is achieved.
Taste for seasoning. Garnish with radishes and flowers.
Hummus will last up to a week refrigerated and stored in an air tight jar.
Serve with pita bread, raw or roasted vegetables, and thinned out with water it makes a great salad dressing!
The holidays are a great way to showcase your artistic side! Making a great vegan charcuterie board such as this just a few years ago would have been much more complicated than it is now! There are so many great choices out there for vegan meats, cheeses, sauces, and even plant-based meats!
The key is knowing how to put it all together! To me, variety is the spice of life! So I like to find a variety of hard cheeses, soft cheeses, dips, and crackers. Daiya makes a great Farmhouse style block cheese, and of course, Miyoko Schinner, the original Queen of the Vegan Cheese, makes some pretty amazing cheeses that will blow your vegan minds! I like to slice the cheeses in different ways. Cubed, quartered, triangled, wavy, or ribboned, there is no wrong way to slice! In face the more the merrier!
Other accouterments might include olives (if you can find olive branches, they make a great garnish), pimentos, any variety of nuts, seasonal fruits, fresh figs, and don’t forget your garnishes! Sometimes, I will slice and use a toasted baguette! In the photo above, I made a sun-dried tomato cheesecake with rosemary. As a garnish, I used fresh sprigs of rosemary with some fresh cranberries for a festive look!
The other key to a good board is to have things spread out evenly. If you have a spread on one side, make sure you have one on the other side too! Balance is key! The best part is that it will allow you to showcase your artistic side and delight your guests! Don’t forget to add a few cheese knives and picks! I like the stainless steel picks because they can be reused! Whatever your style, have fun and enjoy!
Christmas is my favorite time of year! And this is one of my favorite appetizer recipes. I used to make a non-vegan version with eggs and dairy, so I was worried that I might lose some consistency; however, this cheesecake did not disappoint! It is so good and will be gone in a flash!
If you make your own cream cheese, you will definitely save a buck or two. But if you don’t, I would encourage you to spend the money on a good vegan cream cheese. I used Kite Hill Chives cream cheese and was delighted! Serve with crudités and crackers and few copies of the recipe!
1/2 cup julienne-cut, sun-dried tomatoes with herbs packed in oil, drained
1/3 cup cup toasted pine nuts
Assorted crackers and crudité
Fresh rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes small diced, micro-greens, fresh rosemary
For the crust: Pre-heat oven to 350°. Pulse together the walnuts, flour, and salt to a fine meal in a food processor. Pulse in the butter until it forms a crumbly dough. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 7-inch springform pan. Place on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Beat cream cheese on medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Blend in milk and next five ingredients, mixing on low speed. Fold in Parmesan cheese and rosemary; spoon over crust and spread to pan edges. Bake 45-50 minutes or until center is just set when jiggled. Remove from oven and gently run a paring knife between the cheesecake and pan. Cool 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.
Place cheesecake on a serving plate. Toss together sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts in a small bowl. Spoon mixture over cheesecake and garnish with micro-greens and fresh rosemary. Serve with crackers and crudité.
I am a sucker for French food and French wine. To this day, my favorite cookbook is still Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” A few years ago, I bought a vintage 20th edition copy released in 1971, the year I was born. The book has what looks to be wine stains across its pages, likely from the valiant efforts of another brave epicure hoping to recreate her world-famous bourguignon. I say valiant because if you’ve never seen Julia’s bourguignon recipe, let me just say it is a three-page lesson in patience. But alas, I digress.
The very first vegan cooking class that I taught was Vegan France. This recipe, along with my mushroom bourguignon, were two of my favorite recipes I shared with the class. A traditional molded foie gras is made with goose liver. It is salty and savory, and let me just say when I was a meat-eater, one of my favorite indulgences.
This recipe is an adaptation of Rebecca Leffler’s recipe from her vegan French cookbook. This “faux” gras is made with mushrooms, french green lentils, rosemary, thyme, walnuts, cognac, and a beet puree added in for color. Sure to satisfy even the most die-hard fin gourmets, I like to serve it with nice French Bordeaux and a traditional Pain de Campagne. Bon appétit!
24 medium-sized (200g, about 2 cups) button mushrooms
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter salted or unsalted
2 small onion peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
2 cups (800g) cooked green lentils
2 cups (280g) toasted walnuts or pecans
4 tablespoons liquid aminos or tamari
4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
4 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
4 tablespoons fresh sage or flat leaf parsley
4 teaspoons Cognac or brandy
2-teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3–4 tablespoons beetroot puree (recipe below)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wipe the mushrooms clean. Remove stem end and slice them.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet or wide saucepan. Add the onions and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add mushrooms, rosemary, thyme, sage, and Cognac/brandy and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and cooked through, another 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a food processor, combine the cooked lentils, brown sugar, and cayenne. Scrape in the cooked mushroom mixture and process until completely smooth. Fold in beet puree. Taste. Add salt, pepper, additional cognac, soy sauce, or lemon juice, if it needs balancing.
Scrape the pâté into a small serving bowl, top with a thin layer of vegan butter if using, and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm. (If you’re making it on the fly, feel free to freeze it)
For Beetroot Puree:
½ pound roasted red beets
¼ cup Grapeseed oil
¾ tsp salt
1 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoons water
¾ teaspoons fresh cilantro leaves
¾ teaspoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of black pepper
Place beets, Grapeseed oil, shallots, 1 tablespoons water, cilantro, vinegar, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt in a blender, and process until blended, about 5 seconds. Add beets, and process until smooth, about 40 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Stir in black pepper.
Just because you give up dairy doesn’t mean you have to give up cheese! Many things can make milk! You just need milk with higher fat content to make good rich cheese. Hence, cashews! I keep this cheese on hand all the time. I use it as a sauce for macaroni and cheese, and as a base for my famous black bean dip! But one of my favorite things to use it for is the base for a broccoli potato soup! Sometimes, I just shamelessly stand over the bowl and eat it until I’m about to burst. Loaded with protein and spices, this cheese sauce it my absolute favorite.
To heat or reheat microwave, covered, in 30-second bursts, whisking at each interval and thinning with water as needed. Or re-warm on the stovetop, whisking occasionally and thinning with water as needed.
Easy Chili Cashew Queso
1 ½ C. raw cashews
1 cup hot water
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Pinch chili powder (optional)
1 chipotle in adobo with a little sauce
To make the Queso, add all ingredients to a high -speed blender and blend until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides at least once.
Feel free to substitute salsa, roasted jalapenos, or your favorite hot sauce in place of the chipotle pepper. The sauce is also really delicious with no heat!
I love hummus, and my husband has crowned himself the king of hummus. He makes it all the time. And his hummus is forever changing. It’s usually a product of his current culinary whims. Sometimes he adds fresh dill from our garden. Sometimes he adds a nice smoked paprika that we found at our local Indian Grocer. But he is always upping the ante. For me, I like a simple traditional hummus. Its simplicity is what makes it good, and I feel like why mess with a good thing? But there are times when you HAVE to change it up. Like the time I was out of tahini. Or like the two months I decided to give up all cooking oils.
This recipe does it all. It is sesame free and oil free. The creaminess of this recipe comes from the aquafaba. What is aquafaba you ask? It is the water that you normally drain from the can of beans, and it’s amazing! We vegans use it all the time as a sub for eggs in vegan baking. The starchy liquid is a great binder directly from the can, but what really makes it magical is that it whips and creates foam. Aquafaba is therefore able to trap air; giving items structure at the same time it delivers a fluffy crumb and lift. You can even make meringues! In hummus, it adds a flavor and a creaminess that can’t be beat! It’s the perfect sub for both the oil and the tahini!
Feel free to add whatever spices, or beans you want! That’s the beauty of hummus, it can be as simple as whatever you have on hand, or as complex as you want it to be! You can use it as a dip for veggies, or thin it out with a little bit of water and use as a dressing. We love it on top of our Buddha bowls!
This is a keeper.
“Tahini Free Roasted Garlic Hummus”
2 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans, drained but save aquafaba)
2 cloves roasted garlic (buy it pre-roasted at Fresh Thyme)
¼ cup aquafaba from chickpeas
2 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp of ground coriander
½ tsp of crushed red pepper
1 tbsp parsley (dried)
1 ½ tsp of salt
½ tsp pepper (or to taste)
Mix all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth. Add more aquafaba if you find that it’s too dry. Season to taste. Chill for a few hours, taste again, and adjust seasonings if necessary. You can use olive oil in place of the aquafaba, but it won’t be as creamy, and you’ll save yourself about 240 calories!