May 2009

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Vol. 8, No. 5

Featured Recipes

Chana Masala
This is my favorite curried garbanzo bean dish.  I always have canned garbanzos and tomatoes in my pantry and fresh spinach in my refrigerator so I can prepare this easily whenever I get the urge.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Cooking Time:  40 minutes
Servings:  6-8


1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4  teaspoon cayenne pepper
1  14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2  14.5 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1  4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1 cup water
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 

Place the onion, garlic and ginger in a large non-stick pot with the vegetable broth.  Cook, stirring frequently until onion softens slightly.  Stir in the coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne.  Continue to cook and stir for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and mix well.  Then add the garbanzo beans, green chilies and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Add the spinach, mix well and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro before serving, if desired.

Hints:  To simplify this dish, leave out the coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne, and substitute 2 tablespoons of curry powder.

Curried Dal with Greens Stew
Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Cooking Time:  2 hours, 10 minutes
Servings:  8 

1 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons grated ginger
8 cups water
2 cups chana dal
3 cups peeled and chunked yams
2 teaspoons sambal oelek
2 teaspoons curry powder
teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups chopped Swiss chard
Dash sea salt (optional)

Place the cumin seeds and mustard seeds in a large dry non-stick soup pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until seeds start to pop and release some fragrance.  Do not let them burn.  Add the onion and continue to cook and stir until onion softens slightly, then stir in the garlic and ginger.  Continue to cook and stir for another minute or so until onion turns a light golden color.  Add the water, chana dal, yams, sambal oelek, curry powder and coriander.  Mix well, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for about 2 hours until dal is very smooth and creamy and yams are breaking apart.  Stir in the chard and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.  Season with a bit of sea salt, if desired.

Hints:  If you cant find chana dal in your market, use split mung beans, or yellow split peas.  Chana dal may be ordered from  Red lentils could also be used, although the stew wont be as creamy.  Other leafy greens are also delicious in this stew, such as kale or spinach.

Summer Corn Soup
This is a variation on the Corn Chowder from the July 2002 newsletter.  This one uses a few more vegetables and is not quite as spicy.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes
Servings:  6

4 cups fresh corn kernels (see hint below)
2 cups rice, soy or almond milk
2 cups vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
1 green, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Several twists freshly ground white pepper
cup slivered fresh basil leaves
Dash sea salt, optional

Place 2 cups of the corn in a blender jar with the non-dairy milk of your choice and process until smooth.  Set aside.

Place about cup of the broth in a large soup pot.  Add the onion, bell pepper, and zucchini.  Cook, stirring frequently until vegetable are fairly tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining broth, the remaining 2 cups of corn kernels and the tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the blended corn/milk to the pot along with the pepper.  Heat through, but do not boil.  Stir in the fresh basil and sea salt.  Serve at once.

Hint:  Frozen, thawed corn kernels may be substituted for the fresh corn, if desired, although the fresh corn gives the soup a more vibrant flavor.

Costa Rican Ceviche
Traditional Latin American Ceviche is marinated raw fish in lime juice.  We have had this prepared for us in Costa Rica using hearts of palm instead of the fish and enjoyed it tremendously.  Make this several hours before serving for best results.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Resting Time:  2-3 hours
Servings:  4-6

2  14.5 ounce cans water-packed hearts of palm, drained
cup fresh lime juice (8-10 limes)
1 small onion, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
cup diced celery
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
cup chopped fresh cilantro

Slice the hearts of palm into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.  Strain the lime juice and pour over the hearts of palm.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours for flavors to blend.  Season with a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired.

Fasta Pasta
This easy, healthy pasta dish can be on the table in less than 15 minutes with hardly any fuss.  Good for those nights when you dont want to spend much time in the kitchen.  Its a kid favorite too!

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Cooking time:  15 minutes
Servings:  4

1  14.5 ounce can Muir Glen diced tomatoes with Italian Herbs (see hints below)
1 cup water
2 cups whole grain or brown rice penne pasta
5 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
Vegan Parmesan cheese substitute (see hints below)

Place the tomatoes and water in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Stir in the pasta, cover and cook over medium-low heat until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the spinach, cover and cook for about 2 minutes until softened.  Sprinkle with some vegan parmesan cheese before serving.

Hints:  Muir Glen Organic tomatoes come in a variety of other flavors so you may also want to try this recipe with some of the other alternatives, such as Fire Roasted diced tomatoes with Green Chilies.  Many manufacturers make delicious whole grain pastas and Tinkyada Pasta Joy makes wonderful brown rice pasta.  The Vegetarian Express makes a vegan parmesan cheese substitute called Parma Zaan Sprinkles.

Parmesan Cheese Substitute
It is easy to make your own parmesan cheese substitute.  Just mix equal amounts of almond meal and nutritional yeast together in a jar.  Shake well, add a small amount of onion powder and salt, if desired, shake again, and its ready.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Hints:  Prepared almond meal is available at Trader Joes.  Or make your own by pulsing raw almonds in a food processor until very finely ground.  Store almond meal in the freezer until ready to use.

Caesar Pockets
Heres a fast and easy lunch idea that is also great for summer picnics.  Make a batch of Very Benevolent Caesar Salad Dressing from the December 2007 newsletter and keep it in your refrigerator to make these delicious pocket sandwiches quickly.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes with prepared dressing
20 minutes if you need to prepare dressing
Servings:  4

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
cup snow peas, halved
cup sliced roasted red peppers
cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup Very Benevolent Caesar Salad Dressing (December 07 NL)
2 tablespoons Vegan Parmesan Cheese (see recipe above)
4 whole wheat pita breads

Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over and toss well to mix.  Sprinkle on the vegan parmesan cheese and toss again.  Cut pita breads in half and stuff with the salad mixture.

Hints:  I also like to add some marinated tofu to these pockets (see recipe below).  Just toss in a handful or so with the vegetables and mix well with the dressing.  Or add about cup canned garbanzo beans to the vegetables and mix with the dressing.  Buy mushrooms pre-sliced to save time.  Roasted red peppers are sold in jars in most supermarkets.  Drain well and slice into bite-sized pieces. The Very Benevolent Caesar Salad Dressing will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

Marinated Tofu
Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Resting Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  5 minutes
Servings:  variable

1  10 ounce package extra firm tofu (not silken)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Agave nectar
Dash sesame oil

Drain the tofu well, cut into cubes or strips and place in a large bowl.  Mix the soy sauce, Agave nectar and sesame oil together.  Pour over the tofu cubes and stir well to mix.  Let rest for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure tofu cubes are well coated with the marinade.  Remove tofu from the marinade with a slotted spoon and dry-fry in a non- stick skillet until nicely browned on all sides, turning occasionally with a spatula.

Black Bean Dip
By Leslie Kitt

Leslie says she makes this frequently for guests and everyone loves it.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Servings:  makes 1 cups

1  15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
cup tofu sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
teaspoon cumin
teaspoon chili powder
teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Serve with assorted fresh vegetables to scoop up this delicious dip.

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