This recipe is an oldie but goodie! It’s super easy and a perfect meal for summer. I love the mango salsa just by itself! Also, you can use butternut squash in place of the sweet potatoes, or papaya in place of the mango! The options are endless!
I have modified this amazing recipe because I am doing a Candida/Bacterial overgrowth protocol, and there are a lot of things I can’t have. However, this recipe came really close to checking off all the boxes and it is soooo good. But I must give all the credit to Food Faith Fitness for her mega talents in the kitchen! I’ve made a few modifications (chives for onions, cream of coconut for the full-fat coconut milk, and cut back on the oil).
One of the first things I want to eat when I go to New Orleans is a steaming hot bowl of Red Beans & Rice. I also want an Abita Amber Ale out of Abita Springs, LA, the small town in St. Tammany parish, where my husband Kevin and I got married (we got engaged on the back of The Creole Queen paddle wheeler in the Bay of New Orleans).
Kevin’s family has been in New Orleans for five generations! His great-grandpa Michael D’Argonne was a college professor and the head of the Sociology department at Xavier University in the 1920’s/30’s. His grandparents lived in Metairie, LA until their passing a few years ago. Now, most of his family lives across Lake Ponchartrain on the Northshore.
And so a year after getting engaged we got married at the Abita Quail Farm. It is THE most beautiful place! I am still indebted to Kevin’s Aunt Janice, for telling us 22 years ago…”I know where ya haf ta have ya weddin’!” It was a dream wedding with 100 of our closest friends and family. John, the owner of the farm is a good friend of her husband, Paul. John surprised us with fireworks over the lake at the end of the night. The memory still brings tears!
Our uncle, Paul La Rocca, on the Italian side of the family, is a local banker on the Northshore. The man knows everyone from Mandeville to Hammond and everywhere in between, including Abita Springs. We had our rehearsal dinner and after-wedding party at the Abita Brewpub per his suggestion (they graciously stayed open until 3:00 AM for us).
And it was Paul’s uncle Anthony who taught me everything I know about New Orleans food and cooking. He would call me and we would literally talk for hours about everything, but mostly food and cooking. He had built a professional kitchen in his backyard off Milan Street in Midtown and sometimes he even cooked meals for the Arch Bishop of New Orleans! He was in his 80s when he died and he became one of my very good friends and favorite teachers.
Needless to say, my heart and my stomach both live in Louisiana! This Red Beans & Rice recipe is a variation of my mother-in-law, Miss Cheryl’s recipe. I added a little heat, but the show stopper is the New Orleans Creole Cream Style “Blue Runner Brand” Kidney Beans. Now, most of us cannot find them locally, but Walmart has been known to carry them (and is the cheapest way to buy them online), and if you’re from St. Louis, I can bring you some next time I’m down there.
You can also purée kidney beans with a little vegetable stock and saute them up with the “cajun trinity,” celery, bell pepper, and onions, and flavor ’em with a creole seasoning. It’s an extra step but it is a game-changer in a recipe that runs the risk of being a little on the dry side. You’ll thank me, I promise.
Anyway, here y’all go! And as always, let me know how ya like it!
If ya can’t go to New Orleans, then bring New Orleans to you! If you can’t find Slap Ya Mama in the grocery store, Tony Chachere seasoning works just fine! I also like the green tabasco with this recipe. It already carries a little bit of heat, and you don’t want to overshadow the flavor with too much heat. I also used Impossible Meat’s Sausage because of its high-fat content. It adds a sublime flavor to the beans! You can also skip the sausage if you want to!
2 cans organic red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can New Orleans Style Creole Cream Style Red Beans
A traditional Mexican pozole or posole is a stew made from beans, hominy, and meat. Slow-simmered in a soupy broth, a pozole is traditionally served on Christmas eve, and you can trace its roots back to the ancient Aztecs! This rich and hearty dish is so flavorful and delicious, and the best part is there were no pigs harmed! Don’t worry. The white Mexican hominy gives the stew a nice meaty chew!
Hominy, if you don’t know, is dried corn, or maize, treated with lime to help soften the tough outer shells of the kernels, making them easier to digest. Furthermore, in Mexican cooking, hominy is ground down to make masa flour.
If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that Mexican food is my favorite food. I’m pretty sure I could eat it every day. I love the addition of diced raw onions, avocado, and cilantro as a garnish. You could also add vegan sour cream if you’re feelin’ it. This pozole is made in a red sauce (Rojo), but you can use tomatillos and have Pozole Verdes if you’d like.
I made my pinto beans in my instant pot, and they were ready in 50 minutes. You can soak your beans overnight and make them according to your package directions, or you can use canned beans. I prefer to make my own and generally keep 5 lb bags of beans in my pantry. I’m not too fond of the metallic taste of canned beans, and I like to control the texture myself. However, I did use canned hominy for apparent reasons. They are great the day you make them, and they are even better the next day!
Tag me if you make it and let me know how you like it!
If using dried beans, add beans to a bowl and rinse. Sift through beans to remove any grit or broken shells. At this point, you can either soak beans overnight to make on the stovetop (follow package directions) or add to an instant pot with 6 cups vegetable stock, onion, bay leaves, and salt and pepper—Cook at high pressure for 50 minutes. Let pressure reduce naturally, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
While pinto beans are cooking, add chilies, onion, and garlic to a small pot of boiling water. Use enough water to cover the chilies. Reduce heat and simmer until chilies and onions have softened about 7-8 minutes.
When chilies are done, carefully add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add stock or water to thin. It should have a paste-like consistency. In a colander, strain sauce into a bowl.
Carefully add pinto beans (do not drain), hominy, chili paste, and remaining ingredients in a medium stockpot. ** (See note)
Simmer covered on medium-low for 20-25 minutes until hominy softened but still firm.
Remove lid and taste for seasonings.
Ladle Pozole into a serving bowl and garnish.
*I like to use a flavorful stock to make my pinto beans, but if you use water, I recommend adding a teaspoon of garlic and onion powder to your beans!
**You can also finish the pozole in the instant pot by skipping the stockpot and cooking using the saute function. I didn’t do this because I like to control my heat. But this is a viable option.
A few weeks ago, I was on the hunt for a pretty serving bowl. I wanted something classic. Something that looked old but didn’t have to be old, with good color and lines. I found one at Williams Sonoma and immediately went to work on creating a colorful salad to put in it!
I don’t know about you, but I love a good salad. I also have a thing for sweet potatoes. Truthfully, I have a “thing” for all potatoes, but sweet potatoes are my favorite. Baked, roasted, mashed, or fried, the potato is a quintessential vegetable.
I wanted to make the salad part savory, party sweet, partly cooked, and part raw. This Coriander Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette and Pomegranate is all that! It’s loaded with nutrients, flavor, and texture. It’s also beautiful and ready to serve in just 30 minutes! Let me know how you like it!
P.s. I also doubled the vinaigrette dressing to use for a later date.
2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Toss potatoes in olive oil and sprinkle with coriander.
Add potatoes to a parchment-lined baking sheet, roast for 30 minutes, turning potatoes once after 15 minutes.
While potatoes are roasting, whisk maple syrup, mustard, cider vinegar, shallot, garlic, herbs, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the vinaigrette emulsifies and thickens.
When potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. Cut each potato quarter in half when they have cooled enough to touch.
In a medium-size serving bowl, layer the salad. Add a handful of mixed greens and 1/4th of potatoes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, 2 tablespoons feta, 2 tablespoons arils, 1 tablespoon cilantro. Continue to layer this way until all potatoes have been used.
Divide equally among 4 bowls.
Look for a firm pomegranate. I like to cut my pomegranates in half, and in a bowl half full of water, pull the pomegranate apart by hand, removing all of the arils. Once I have them removed, I dispose of any large pieces of the pith (the spongy white tissue lining) and rapidly stir the arils by hand to remove any additional pieces of pith that may still be attached.
Food and memories are tied together like a horse and carriage. This recipe is one of my fondest and most favorite meals of all time. Therefore, I dedicate this recipe to my momma. When I was a kid, as soon as the weather got cold, my mom pulled out all the stops when it came to cooking! In the kitchen, both of my parents were adventurous! Flavor first was their motto!
Usually, dinner was always a good thing. I developed my love of herbs and spices from cooking with her. I also learned how to roll tamales, make a good pie crust, use a candy thermometer to make dad’s fudge.
Much of what my mother learned about cooking she learned from my step-father. Before they were married, my pop’s lived in a cabin in the middle of nowhere Alaska for nearly 13 years. He made bread, caught fish, and hunted for everything he ate. He grew herbs and vegetables and became quite the flavor aficionado. Before marrying my mom, he was stationed in France, Vietnam, and Lebanon, so he exposed her to exotic flavor profiles and cooking techniques that are now a part of my culinary world!
But sometimes, but sometimes…
You would come home to the rancid smell of salt-rising bread. An old Appalachian bread recipe from the 1800s, my mom had gone to the library and found the starter recipe, which smelled like a cross between dirty socks and overripe cheese. Or the time we had boiled muscles. The only thing I remember is the gritty taste of sand in my mouth. She realized too little, too late, that the muscles had to be rinsed and soaked first. Oh well, live and learn.
And, of course, some recipes stick out in your mind. This Hot Tamale Pie recipe is one of them. It is the ultimate comfort food. My mom used Jiffy cornbread mix, but I subbed that out for masa flour and vegetable stock. And instead of ground beef, I used a plant-based alternative. Otherwise, all things are precisely the same. My family loved this flavor bomb, and for me, it was a glorious trip down memory lane! I hope you love it too!
1 pack impossible meat or other plant-based ground
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic (1 tsp), minced
1 (15 oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp corn starch
2 tsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 (10 oz) bag frozen corn (1/2 cup set aside)
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
2 cups masa flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp Just Egg or other vegan egg sub (2 egg equivalent)
1 cup shredded vegan cheese (I used Daiya Farmhouse Jalapeno Havarti)
Preheat oven to 400°F
Warm a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper.Sauté until veggies begin to soften, about 5-6 minutes.Add garlic and cook until garlic becomes fragrant for about 30 seconds.Add plant-based meat, sprinkle with cornstarch, and add spices. Brown meat, and taste for seasoning.Add tomatoes, green chilies, cheese, and remaining corn. Mix well.
Add masa flour, just-egg, and baking powder in a medium-size bowl.Mix well.Slowly, add 2 cups vegetable stock (May need a little more stock depending on the coarseness of the masa), stir until smooth.Add 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels.Stir well.
If you are using a cast-iron skillet, top the meat mixture with the masa.Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cornbread is lightly golden.
If you are not using a cast iron, place the mixture in a 9X12” oven-proof baking dish.Top with masa and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cornbread is lightly golden.
Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and green onions.
I’ll be honest. I am not a fan of cauliflower. To me, it’s the bottom rung on the ladder of cruciferous vegetables. I despise cauliflower rice, and raw cauliflower gags me. But one evening, a chef friend of mine made me a cauliflower steak for dinner. Ever gracious, I took a deep breath and a steak knife and took my first bite. Well, I guess the rest is history, as they say since I’m writing a recipe for cauliflower steaks!
I chose to pan-sear the steaks to get that nice brown crust, and then I finished them off in the oven to speed up the cooking process. I also used safflower oil to cook with since it has a high smoke point of 501°, to be exact. Olive oil has a medium smoke point cannot be heated past 405°. Fat begins to break when heated past its smoking point, releasing free radicals and a substance called acrolein, the chemical that gives burnt foods their acrid flavor and aroma. Think watering eyes, a stinky kitchen, and bitter, scorched food.
The critical thing to note in this recipe is how to stem and cut the cauliflower. I found that removing the outer green leaves and most but not all of the stem is crucial. Trim off the bottom of the cauliflower stem but make sure to keep the core intact. I find that one large head of cauliflower makes about three 1 1/2 ” steaks. To ensure flat sides, I trim the outer edges of the cauliflower on each side-taking off about an inch and a half. Slice carefully.
If you make the steaks be sure to tag me and let me know how you like them! Enjoy!
This cauliflower steak is so flavorful and quite filling! Be sure to buy a large head to ensure decent size steaks. And using Montreal steak seasoning is a perfect way to spice them up! You can top with a variety of roasted vegetables and creamy mild tasting white beans for protein!
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ steaks (see note)
Heat a cast-iron skillet or other oven-safe, heavy bottom frying pan over medium-high heat. When warm add, two tablespoons of safflower oil.
Brush each side of the cauliflower steaks with oil and sprinkle with Montreal seasoning.
Carefully add steaks to a frying pan and sear each side until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side.
When steaks are golden brown, remove the pan from the heat put directly in the oven for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until fork tender.
Carefully remove pan from oven. Plate cauliflower steaks and drizzle with chimichurri sauce.
*This oil is high in vitamin E; one tablespoon contains 28% of a person’s daily recommended intake of the nutrient. It has a high smoke point and doesn’t have a strong flavor, which means it won’t overwhelm a dish.
Who doesn’t love a good pizza? As a vegan, though, we are often left out in the cold with a pizza with no cheese. In fact, I’m pretty sure cheese is the only reason most people eat pizza! If you’re like me, store-bought cheeses are out of the question. They’re usually off in texture, or there’s something funky about the flavor. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent options these days, but they’re usually costly and leave me wondering about better options.
Without ado, I present the better option— This creamy garlic cashew sauce. It could not be easier to make, and I promise you will never miss cheese on a pizza again. Promise. I simply made it of cashews, filtered water, garlic and onion powder, oregano, salt, and nutritional yeast. The sheer simplicity of the sauce makes it a favorite of mine. Not to mention the ease with which it comes together. Throw it all in a blender and hit go. I have a high-powered Vitamix, and it takes me a solid minute or so to blend. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, I recommend boiling the cashews for 10-15 minutes and then rinse and blend.
Hungry Planet makes a mean Italian sausage that cooks up quickly and tastes fantastic. However, I have to be careful not to eat it all before adding it to my pizza! You don’t want to overcook it! So I brown it over medium heat for just a few minutes (3-5) until it gets a bit brown. And then I finish cooking it in the oven.
The caramelized onions add a natural sweetness and pair perfectly with the spicy Italian sausage. The key to good caramelization is the “Low and Slow” motto. Also, I never use oil, only water, and salt, when I caramelize. You won’t let the onions, which are very high in water content, release their water, just not too much, too fast. If the onions begin to stick, add a tablespoon or two of water.
The other key to a good pizza is the crust, of course. If you are a purist and like baking, then making your crust is the way to go. I wouldn’t say I enjoy baking and found an excellent store-bought crust that I love.
If you make this, drop me a line and let me know how you liked it!
If you have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender, add all white sauce ingredients and blend well until smooth. Set aside.
Add sliced onion to a large skill and cook over medium-low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt, continue cooking until softened and browned for about 15 minutes. If the onions begin to stick, add water one tablespoon at a time until they release. Remove onions from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add Italian sausage and cook over medium heat until slightly browned about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add approximately 1 cup of sauce to each crust, top with onions and Italian sausage. I also added a tablespoon of red pepper flakes to add a little heat.
Bake at 400° for about 12-15 minutes.
Let cool and slice.
**If you do not have a high speed blender, soak your cashews overnight, or boil for 10-15 minutes.
When I was a kid in the early ’80s, my parents used to take my brother and me to a Mexican restaurant in Kansas City called Manny’s. This restaurant helped form my palate as a child, with rich spices, flavorful and savory foods. It’s on my bucket list next time I go home! First, though, I always call ahead and speak with the chef about vegan options. It’s easier for everyone when a restaurant has a heads-up. You’re also guaranteed a much better dish when they’ve had a minute to think.
Fortunately, back then, my dad spoke pretty good Spanish, so we could successfully order! I think now they have English speaking service, but back then…! I’m pretty confident my love for Mexican food comes from these early memories. One of my favorite dishes was the Chili Relleno. I loved them. This recipe isn’t quite that, mainly because Relleno’s are stuffed with gooey cheese, beef, and then deep-fried.
Thankfully, the world of plant-based meats has come a long way, baby. The options are endless these days, and most of them are good. They are also very expensive and can easily be replaced with our good friend, the mushroom! Back in the ’90s, I would have used Texturized Vegetable Protein, or TVP, or in my early vegetarian life. TVP is easy to use, loves to absorb flavor, and is super inexpensive. Today, I would prefer to use the mighty minced fungi.
Happy Summer to all of you! Nos vemos pronto. Cuídate!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease, or line, a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange halved poblano peppers in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When ready, add oil and when oil is shimmering, add the sausage or mushrooms, onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until sausage is cooked through, use a spoon or spatula to break up sausage as it cooks.
Add the spices and grain of choice to the pan, and stir well. Next, add red peppers and green chilies, mix well. Finally, add the black beans and corn, stir. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until sauce has reduced a bit. Remove from heat and let cool.
Spoon mixture into the peppers, drizzle with queso, and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted. Allow peppers to cool slightly before serving. Serve with minced cilantro and salsa.
I am a big pasta girl! But like most people, I would imagine, I tend stick to traditional recipes like spaghetti, fettuccini, and lasagna. Mostly because buying a stuffed pasta like tortellini isn’t easy when you’re a vegan. So what is a girl to do? Make a fantastic version of goat cheese, add some dried herbs, stuff wonton wrappers with fantastic cheese, and BOOM! Homemade tortellini!
I love this recipe…and admittedly, a lot is going on! But no worries, you can make much of the recipe in advance, aka the vegan goat cheese and the tortellini. In French, beurre means butter, and blanc means white. So, this is a classic “white” sauce made with butter!
Beurre blanc can sometimes be viewed as tricky to make. Because without the addition of egg yolk to stabilize the sauce, it is prone to split. The acid in the citrus sauce can ‘break’ if heated too hot, or too many times, or not whisked while heating. The key is to ensure that the butter is chilled and added slowly. And also, be sure to turn DOWN heat to med/low when adding the butter so that you don’t end up with Beurre Marron! Good things come to those who wait.
As a matter of practice, I like to make my sauces an hour before use. I’m not too fond of surprises, and if for some reason the sauce doesn’t turn out, I still have time to make a new one. Yes, after almost 25 years, it does still happen. If needed, it can easily be reheated over low heat.
Freezing the tortellini: If not cooking the tortellini immediately, freeze them on a sheet pan and transfer them to a freezer-safe container once solid. Tortellini will keep for about three months. Cook directly from the freezer, but increase the cooking time by a minute or two.
Add almond cheese to a medium-size bowl. Add Herbs de Provence, parmesan cheese, fennel pollen, if using, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
Dust a clean surface with cornmeal. Lay wonton wrapper flat and add 1 rounded teaspoon to the center of the wrapper.
Lightly brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water (I keep a small bowl of water nearby). Fold wonton into a triangle. Turn triangle, so the long edge is facing you. Gently press the filling flat and fold wonton 3/4 of the way upward, toward its tip. Flatten slightly. Brush each side of the flap with water. Placing your finger in the center of the fold, carefully fold each side over your finger. Lightly pinch closed. Continue until all cheese has been used.
Add tortellini to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a dutch oven, bring salted (about 1 tsp) water to a boil.
Drop tortellini into boiling water. Remove from water when tortellini begin to float.
Citrus Beurre Blanc:
Heat one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and add the shallots. Cook briefly, stirring, and add the citrus and wine. Cook until the liquid is almost totally reduced.
Add the heavy cream and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and slowly add the pieces of butter, a few at a time, stirring rapidly with a wire whisk.
When sauce is done, add tortellini and stir until warmed through.
Serve in a shallow bowl, and top with fennel fronds and orange peel.
Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over pasta, and serve warm.
When I decided to write a burger recipe, I wanted to make sure that it was recipe-worthy. And when it comes to burgers, the best burger is a simple burger. I’m a sucker for onions and knew they would be a great addition. I started with a pack of Impossible Meat and some brioche buns. I sautéed red onion and red cabbage, which I seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes!
I finished the burger by lightly toasting the brioche and slathering it with spicy mayo. It was divine. You can add slow roasted peppers, pickled vegetables, guacamole, or add coconut bacon. The truth is there is no wrong way to make a burger!
You can use whatever protein you want. Whether it’s made out of beets and quinoa, or a Beyond meat, follow these easy steps to build a better burger!
This is an easy step-by-step guide to building a delicious burger!
1 package of Impossible Meat or other plant-based burger
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vegan mayonaise
Prep brioche by lightly brushing the inside of the buns with olive oil. Set aside.
Form burgers into the size patties you want, and season each side with salt and pepper.
Warm a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. When heated, add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add onions to the pan. The key to caramelizing is cooking low and slow. When onions start to soften after 4-5 minutes, add cabbage, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook until onions and cabbage have caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the pan. Set aside.
In the same pan, increase heat to medium-high. When warmed, add burgers to the pan. Using a spatula, immediately begin to move the meat around in the pan. Moving them around helps the burgers form a crust and keeps them from sticking to the pan. Cook each side for about 3-4 minutes. If using vegan cheese, add it when you flip the burger.
If using cheese, turn heat to medium-low and cover the pan; this will help melt the cheese. Check after 2-3 minutes.
Place buns in toaster or oven and toast until lightly crisp. Add mayonnaise to the inside of both the top and bottom bun.
Using tongs, top burgers with onions and cabbage.
When brioche is toasted, add the burger and other toppings.