Vegetable Fritters

It’s not often that you’ll find me giving you recipes that require frying. Too much oil is as bad for a diabetic as too many carbohydrates or sugar. But I just couldn’t resist this recipe when I found it. And once I cooked them up, oh my, I did eat too much for lunch today! I did fry them but I think if I cook these again, I’ll probably oven fry them with a lot less oil (see tip at the bottom of the recipe).

You’ll need:

1 1/2 cups grated Russet potato (1 medium large potato) – soak the grated potato in cold water for 5-10 minutes to get out as much starch as possible since the starch is not a friend to fried foods, the cakes will brown better with less starch. Drain and dry with paper towels to get out as much of the moisture as possible*

1 cup grated sweet potato (about 1 medium)

1 cup grated carrots (about 1-2 medium) – I used the pre-grated from the store

1 cup grated red onion (onion has a lot of moisture so be sure to dry thoroughly with paper towels before adding)

If you have a food processor, this is the time to break it out and use it! It’s the easiest way to grate the potatoes, carrot and onion. In a large bowl, mix the above. Then add:

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup chickpea flour (DO NOT USE ALL PURPOSE GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR; many have potato starch in them and we just tried to remove the starch from the potato!)

1/4 cup aquafaba

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (depending on how dry your mixture is)

Mix together until combined. If the mixture is too dry and won’t hold together, add the non-dairy milk. If the mixture is too wet and won’t hold together, add the tablespoons of flour until the mixture will bind together. Using a 1/4-1/3 cup measure, form into balls.

Heat over medium high heat in a 10-12″ skillet:

1/2-3/4 cups oil for frying (the oil should come up the side of the pan about a 1/2 inch)

When the oil is glistening, take a ball, flatten it and gently place it in the oil starting with the side nearest you. Being sure to not crowd the skillet, add additional flattened balls. Cook on the first side about 4-6 minutes until golden brown, turn and cook the same on the other side. If the fritters are browning too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Then flip the fritter again and cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the first side. The cooking time will depend on how thick the fritters are; the thinner the less time they need to cook. Remove to a paper towel and salt immediately. Do not leave the fritters on the towel too long or they will get soggy. They can be placed on a cooling rack (on a cookie sheet) in a 200 degree oven to stay warm while the rest of the fritters cook.

  • * If like me, you don’t eat much potato, other than sweet potato, grated parsnip could be used instead

TIP: To oven fry, place the flattened balls on a greased (spray with non-stick spray) cookie sheet (with sides). Lightly spray the tops of the fritters with the non-stick spray) and bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. Turn over half-way through the bake.

Easy Oven Fries (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)

Who doesn’t like French fries? Crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, with or without ketchup, delicious. But all that fat! Here’s an alternative that doesn’t even need any ketchup because they are seasoned with garlic and paprika. Turn half-way through the bake so that they will get crispy on two sides.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. For 2 servings you’ll need:

3 medium russet or sweet potatoes (organic if possible)

1/4 cup olive or avocado oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Herbamare*

ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into wedges remembering that the smaller the slices, the faster the cook. Be sure to remove any bruises or eyes from the potatoes. Place in a medium size bowl. Sprinkle with the seasonings and mix then add the oil and make sure all the wedges or slices are well covered with the oil. Arrange in a single layer on a medium to large cookie sheet (with sides!) and bake until tender and golden brown, 25-40 minutes depending on size of your cuts.

*Herbamare is a seasoned salt where fresh herbs are left to marinate in salt for several months. Quite flavorful.

Cinnamon Swirl Sticky Buns (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free)

I love cinnamon rolls! In fact, I won the winter carnival for my junior class in high school with my sticky buns. Back then I didn’t worry about gluten or dairy, didn’t have any allergies then. My son recently asked me, after the cinnamon swirl bread, if I could make some rolls instead. Here’s what I came up with. The recipe makes a 12-15 rolls.

This a a very tender, soft dough and doesn’t rise as much as traditional yeasted dough.

In a large bowl mix:

1/2 cup warm water (around 100 degrees; my Nana always told me the key to yeast was to make sure the water didn’t feel hot or cold on your wrist, just wet, then it’s the perfect temperature, like a baby’s bottle should be)

1 teaspoon date sugar

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

Stir to dissolve the yeast and then let sit for 5-10 minutes until it bubbles. Throw it out and try again if it doesn’t bubble or foam, that means its not working.

Warm over a very low heat in a small sauce pan:

1 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup honey, agave or coconut nectar

2 tablespoons oil

Be sure not to get this liquid hotter than the water was for the yeast or it will kill the yeast mixture when you pour it into the bowl. When the honey is melted, pour the milk mixture into the yeast and add:

1 cup whipped potatoes (don’t want any lumps in the dough!)

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt (be sure the salt goes in last so it doesn’t affect the yeast)

Mix thoroughly. Add more brown rice flour if the mixture is too wet. You want a dough that you can handle and roll out. Grease a bowl and add the dough, put in a warm place, covered with wax paper or a clean small towel and let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours.

For the filling you need:

1/4 cup avocado oil, coconut oil, or vegan margarine

1/4-1/3 cup date sugar

2-3 teaspoons cinnamon (more or less to taste, I was rather generous with mine and probably used more like 2 tablespoons)

Prepare a 9×12 baking dish by greasing. Remove the dough and place on a floured surface where you can roll it out to approximately a 24×30″ rectangle. You may need to add some flour to the top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Once rolled out, rub the dough with 1/4 cup of avocado or coconut oil (or a vegan margarine), sprinkle with 1/4-1/3 cup date sugar and several teaspoons of cinnamon. Beginning on the longer end, slowly roll the dough (you may need to loosen the dough from the counter with a butter knife if stuck). Tuck the ends into the roll and make sure the last side is securely attached to the rest of the roll. Cut into 1″ slices and place in the prepared baking dish. You don’t have to leave much space between the rolls because they won’t rise much at this stage. Cover with a clean towel or waxed paper and put in a warm place to rise again. (I turned my oven to 170 degrees (the lowest setting it would go) and turned it off after 5 minutes of warming so that it was approximately 100 degrees and used that to let the dough rise. Worked well.) This should only take about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the Honey-Bee Glaze like we used on the Cinnamon Swirl Bread (1/2 cup date sugar, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup agave or coconut nectar, 1/4 cup oil, 1/2-1 cup hemp hulls, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds – if too thick to pour, add a little more milk) and pour it over the rolls before baking them in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a middle roll comes out clean.

Spicy Lentil Vegetable Soup

(dairy free, gluten free, vegan, soy free) Makes approximately 8-10 servings

Lentil are very versatile, allowing cooks to be imaginative in using them. They seem to like being pairs with a wide variety of other foods and spices. Lentils were not something we had growing up, don’t know which parent didn’t like them but my mother never cooked us lentil soup even though both parents loved pea soup. In this recipe, I’ve paired my favorite vegetable soup with lentils. There are various other ingredients you can use in this recipe, depending on what your family likes. Here’s the basics along with some variations. You’ll need:

1 3/4 cups (an 8 oz package) of lentils, no specific type, I used a mixture of green, black and brown

6 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc., I used a combination of water and vegetable stock)

1 cup sliced carrots

1 large onion diced

3-6 stalks of celery diced for approximately 1 cup

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup sweet potato diced

1/2 cup regular potato diced

1 teaspoon curry powder (or 2 tablespoon curry paste)

1 cup diced tomatoes (I used canned)

1 cup frozen peas

1 medium turnip peeled and diced

Add the oil to the bottom of a heated Dutch oven. Add the curry powder and heat for about 15 seconds or until you can smell the curry, but be careful not to burn it. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, celery, potatoes, and turnip. Once the onion is translucent, add the lentils and the liquid. You can also add the tomatoes at this point along with the peas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until lentils are tender (if you’re using sprouted lentils, they don’t take as long as regular lentils). If you use curry paste rather than powder, add it here. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until you have the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper). Serve.

Variations: Don’t want vegan – use chicken or turkey stock instead of the vegetable stock. You can also add some cooked sausage (either bulk or links cut into slices) or diced ham before serving.

If you don’t like potatoes, leave them out and add 1/2 cup quinoa when you add the lentils. This will also up the protein!

Don’t like curry? Leave it out and use 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon thyme instead. Or, you can add 2 teaspoons cumin seeds and 2 teaspoons turmeric. Add either of these when you add the lentils.

Want it more tomatoie? Stir in 1 small jar of tomato paste before you use the blender.

Don’t have an immersion blender? Cool the soup in the frig for about an hour and then blend in a standard blender. You might want to leave a couple of cups whole for texture.

Shepherd’s Pie (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

One of my mother’s old standby’s, shepherd’s pie is a definite comfort food for many New Englanders.  Warm and filling, it gives us energy and the calories we need to go out and shovel the snow or rack the leaves (which is what I spent some time doing this morning).  Here’s my take on it, feel free to use any ground meat you like, I’m limited since I’m allergic to most red meats.  Traditionally, its made with mutton or lamb but I use turkey or chicken in mine.  Serves 4.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  You’ll need:

  • 1 pound ground meat, lean
  • 10 ounce bag of mixed peas and carrots (organic if possible)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder – about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of each)
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free flour such as brown rice or all purpose
  • 1 1/2 cups of stock (whatever you have on hand works; I used vegetable in mine)
  • 2 cups mashed potato (or as in my case, celery root and parsnip mash see recipe under side dishes)
  • 2 quart baking dish

In a steamer, steam the peas and carrots until just tender.  Put them in the baking dish.  In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onions and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender.  Add ground meat and seasonings.  Stir as the meat cooks to crumble the meat up into small chunks.  When meat is cooked, add the flour and stir to incorporate.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes and add the stock.  Stir and cook until thickened, another 2-3 minutes.  Add to the baking dish; stir into the vegetables.  Spread the potatoes or celery root/parsnip mash on the top and bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through and bubbling.

Turkey Osso Buco (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

One of our favorite cold weather meals is a turkey osso buco (or turkey stew) made with root vegetables.  The hot gravy with the succulent root vegetables is so warming and very filling.  I don’t always use the same vegetables but they are usually root ones although I’ve been known to add both peas and string beans to the stew.

You can cook this either in a dutch oven in your oven or in a crock pot.  You’ll need:

  • Turkey leg quarter or breast
  • 1 large Russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and diced
  • 3 small to medium parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • Salt, pepper and herbs to taste
  • 1 quart turkey (or chicken) stock
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free brown rice flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Cut the turkey leg quarter in pieces (leg and thigh).  Put in a gallon food storage bag, the brown rice flour along with salt, pepper and herbs to taste (I like to use some paprika, oregano, thyme, parsley, along with the salt and pepper; if I don’t have those, I’ll use a teaspoon of Mrs. Dash or other herb mix).  Shake to mix and then add the turkey piece(s) and shake to coat.

In a skillet large enough to hold the turkey piece(s), heat the olive oil and then add the turkey over medium heat to brown.  While the turkey is browning, dice the onion.  If you are using a crock pot, add the onion to the cooker.  If you are using a dutch oven, you’ll want to brown your turkey in that and add the onion when the turkey is browned.  Be sure to brown all sides of the turkey.  Remove the turkey and add the dredging flour to the oil and stir so that the flour absorbs the oils and drippings from the pan.  If you are using a slow cooker, add the flour mixture to the pot and then add the turkey along with the stock.  If you are using the dutch oven, simply add the stock and the turkey back in.

Using a slow cooker, turn it onto high and cook for 3-4 hours.  If you’re using a dutch oven, you’ll want to prepare the vegetables (peel and dice them) and add them into the dutch oven before cooking in the oven at 325 degrees for 3-4 hours.  I’ve found that the vegetables don’t cook well in the slow cooker so I peel and dice them and cook them on the stovetop separately,  mostly cooked through and then add them to the crock pot during the last hour of cooking.

Makes six to eight servings.  You’ll want to deskin and debone the turkey pieces before serving.

Leftovers Casserole (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

This is a great casserole for using up leftovers after a big meal like Thanksgiving or just a family Sunday dinner.  It takes the meat, gravy, stuffing, vegetables, and potatoes and puts them together into one dish that’s easy and my family loves it.  You’ll want a deep casserole dish so that you can get four layers. You could also make this quick and easy using rotisserie chicken or turkey breast.

Grease a 9″ round, 5-7″ deep casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The first layer consists of:

  • 2 cups of diced meat (chicken, beef, turkey, pork)
  • 2 cups  gravy (see recipe under Sauces)

The second layer consists of:

  • 2-3 cups of stuffing (see recipe under side dishes)

The third layer consists of:

  • 2-3 cups of leftover vegetables (I used my leftover string bean casserole; see recipe under side dishes)

The last layer consists of:

  • 2-3 cups of mashed potatoes, or in my case, mashed celery root and parsnips (see recipe under side dishes)

Bake 30-45 minutes until the gravy starts bubbling to the top and the top is browned.

Potato Salad 2 Ways (dairy-free, egg-free)

German style Potato salad.  I like to use the small multi-color potatoes because they make the salad more interesting.  And you don’t have to peel them, just cut them into quarters and cook.  For this recipe,

  • Use a half-pound of these potatoes.
  • While they cook, dice up a couple of stalks of celery and some scallion (I use scallion instead of onion because it adds the flavor of onion but doesn’t give me the digestive issues that raw onions give me).
  • Cook 2-3 slices of bacon, chopped.
  • If you don’t have a vinaigrette already made, mix up one of your favorites or use a bottled vinaigrette.
  • Put about 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette in a medium sized bowl, add the celery and scallion along with the crumbled bacon.
  • When the potatoes are cooked. drain and put them directly into the mixture.  Adding them when they are hot helps the potatoes absorb the dressing.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • You can serve this hot but I prefer to let it sit overnight and let the flavors meld. I often leave the bacon bits out until I’m ready to serve this so that they stay crispy.
  • Makes 2-3 servings.

Traditional Potato Salad.

One of my favorite parts of the potato salad my mother made was the hard boiled eggs.  Since I can’t eat eggs any longer, I simply

  • mix together cooked potatoes (1/2 pound of the small potatoes and perhaps, if I’m feeling like it, a diced small sweet potato),
  • diced celery and scallions, along with some crumbled bacon.  Dressing consists of:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (see my recipe for vegan mayonnaise under dressings)
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of my favorite herb blend (McCormicks or Mrs. Dash)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

If you can still eat eggs, by all means add 1-2 diced hard-boiled eggs.  This makes 2-3 servings.