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 Lentil Pilaf

I can say that I generally don’t eat anything that I don’t make from scratch, mostly because there are very few pre-made or pre-packaged foods that don’t have something in them that I can’t eat (often it’s soy or sunflower lectin). So it’s not going to happen very often but — I have discovered a wonderful side dish (or main dish) that tastes great and has no allergens! As long as you can eat lentils, this is something you should try. High in protein and low in carbohydrates, lentils are a great addition to a meal. I’ve become addicted to Tolerant’s Organic Riced Red Lentil Pilafs. They’re ready in about 20 minutes, taste great and two of them, the Asian Ginger and the Spanish Style Paella, don’t have any soy in them. I know I was surprised too that the Asian Ginger is soy-free!

Being who I am, of course, I can’t just make it per package directions. So here’s what I do with these pouches of goodness. Serves 4-6.

In a 9″ skillet, add:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

When hot, sauté:

6-8 ounces sliced mushrooms (I like shitake)

1/2 cup diced onions

When the mushrooms are browned and onions translucent, stir in:

2 cups mushroom stock (or any other stock you have on hand, chicken would work well)

1 cup frozen or fresh peas

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Bring to a boil. Add:

1 packet Tolerant Organic Riced Red Lentil Pilaf

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 9-12 minutes until the water is gone. Stir every few minutes, especially when the water is almost gone. Remove from heat, cover and let sit 4-5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Vegetable Fried Rice

I made some Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken today (see my second blog of the day) and had a little substitute soy sauce left over so thought how about some fried rice. One of my favorite dishes, my mother always made it with bacon and eggs but of course, not able to do that anymore. So this one is fairly easy and quick if you use frozen brown rice (I love the packets from Trader Joe but many markets now carry frozen pre-cooked brown rice, just don’t use the instant – all the good stuff is gone and you’re left with just carbs!). Checked the freezer and the pantry and sure enough had a nice variety of vegetables so decided to give it a try. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have in your pantry or freezer.

In a 10″ skillet heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add:

1/2 medium onion sliced

3 stalks celery sliced on the bias

1/2 cup grated carrot

1 cup frozen French cut green beans

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 small can, drained bamboo shoots or sliced water chestnuts

Cook over medium heat for several minutes, stir once or twice to make sure vegetables cook evenly. Then turn heat down to medium low and cover. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 1/2-2 cups cooked (or frozen) brown rice, stir to combine and cover to heat the rice another 3-5 minutes. Add:

2-4 tablespoons soy sauce substitute

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon red chili flakes or hot sauce (optional)

Stir in the sauce and the dish is ready!

Easy Spicy Barbeque Beans (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, vegan)

Being a New England girl, I’m not accustomed to barbeque beans; we are famous for our Boston Baked Beans where I come from (see recipe under side dishes). Since beans are a great source of protein and generally lower in carbs than many side dishes, I’m trying to use them more often as a side dish. Here’s a recipe that’s quick and easy (takes longer to make the sauce than the beans!).

Feel free to use any bean your family likes. And if you have time and prefer dried beans, soak them overnight or boil them for about an hour before adding the sauce, and the recipe is just as easy.

In a small saute pan mix:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 small jar tomato paste

1/4 cup vinegar (I use rice but any kind will work)

1/4 cup maple, agave, or coconut nectar, or honey

2 tablespoons molasses

Salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 to 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon-1 tablespoons hot sauce (or cayenne pepper)

sufficient bean liquid to thin the sauce

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook a minute more, about 5 minutes all together. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, mix thoroughly, and simmer over low heat for about a half hour. For a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender before mixing in:

1-2 cans (or about 1 1/2 cups dried beans that have been soaked or boiled) beans (I used red kidney beans because those are the ones I like but feel free to use any beans you have on hand).

The sauce makes enough for 2 cans of beans but I used only 1 and froze the other half of the sauce.

Serves 4

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.

Easy Ratatouille (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free)

I don’t generally blog recipes that don’t originally contain allergens. But I love vegetables so I thought it was time for me to share more of my basic go-to vegetable dishes like ratatouille. So delicious, one of my grandson’s favorites, and easy to put together. Like Chinese food, the hardest and most time consuming part of this dish is chopping the vegetables.

You’ll need:

1 small yellow squash

1 small zucchini squash

1 medium eggplant (I prefer to use Japanese ones because they don’t have the bitterness but pick one with a green stem and inward bottom where the blossom was; also try to pick one that’s reasonably thin and firm to the touch)

1 cup diced onion (sweet, yellow, white, red, whichever you have on hand)

1 tablespoon to minced garlic

1 16oz can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon agave nectar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions, squash and eggplant. Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes turning several times. Reduce heat to low and cook another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just getting tender. Add the canned tomatoes, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook 1-2 minutes to heat, stir in the agave nectar. Serve. Serves 4-6.

Green Beans with red onion and garlic (dairy-free, soy-free, vegan)

This is a very easy recipe for a delicious side dish. I just love green beans any way I can get them and this is a recipe that happened because I had a half red onion left and a bag of fresh green beans and decided to put them together. The sweetness of the onion pairs very well with the savory green beans. I used fresh green beans but frozen would work just as well. And of course, if you have yellow (or wax as we called them in New Hampshire) beans or even purple string beans those could also be substituted.

You need:

1 pound fresh or frozen string beans, any color

1 medium red onion (or if your family likes lots of onion use a large one)

1-2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

If you’re using fresh string beans, prep them by cutting off the stem end; wash and dry thoroughly. In a 9″ saute pan, heat the olive oil and then add the onion and garlic. Saute several minutes until onion starts to soften then add the string beans. Cover and cook 10-12 minutes over medium heat, stirring several times. If your family likes “crunchy” string beans like my grandson, you can uncover when the beans are tender, increase the heat to high and saute them for a few minutes, leaving them alone, to brown.

Braised Cabbage (dairy-free, gluten-free)

My mother loved braised cabbage; this was her go-to winter vegetable when she was tired of peas, carrots, green beans or corn.  She always used red cabbage but any cabbage will work.  The onion adds a little tang and the bacon a smoky flavor.  I add pear; my mother always used apple.  Either will add some sweetness to the dish and, when combined with the fat from the olive oil and bacon, give it a full-bodied richness.  Prepare the onion, bacon, and cabbage ahead of time and this takes around 15 minutes to cook.  And it can be a vegan dish if you leave out the bacon.  Makes 4 servings using a 3-4 inch cabbage.

In a large saute pan, add:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped uncooked bacon (whatever bacon your family likes works fine) — IF your bacon is very fatty, don’t use the olive oil

Cook until bacon is browned.  If you have more than a couple of tablespoons of fat in the pan, drain some off. Add to the pan:

  • 1 cup chopped onion

Cook until onion is softened.  Add:

  • 4-5 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (any vinegar works but if white is used, a little less vinegar would probably be good unless your family really loves the taste of vinegar)

Cover and braise 5-7 minutes until cabbage is softened, stir once or twice during cooking.

Add 1 diced apple or pear and cook another minute or two until fruit is soft (the apple may take a few minutes more than the pear).  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.  Add salt and pepper to taste, stir well, and serve.

You can also add 1 tablespoon caraway seeds.

Creamed Onions and Peas (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

My mother always made creamed onions for Thanksgiving and Christmas and it was one of my favorite side dishes.  I’ve taken the fat, dairy, and gluten out of it but I think its just as good as the original.  I’ve taken it to holiday dinners and everyone always enjoyed it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a casserole dish.  In a quart saucepan combine:

  • 3/4 cups non-dairy milk (don’t use soy but any other will work but remember this is a savory dish so you don’t want a sweeter milk; hemp or rice work well)
  • 3/4 cup of the juice drained from your jarred small white onions (or if you’ve used fresh small white onions that you boiled first, use 1 cup of the boiling liquid) [if you don’t have 3/4 cup of the drained liquid, add non-dairy milk to make up the difference]
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown rice flour

Whisk into the milk and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Steam:

  • 12 ounces of frozen peas

Once you’ve drained the peas, add them along with 1 15 ounce jar of small white onions (after you drain the liquid into the sauce above) (or 1 1/2 cups if you used fresh ones) to the sauce.  Mix well and pour into the greased casserole dish.  For a topping, you can use 1/2 cup of gluten-free bread crumbs mixed into 1/4 cup of olive oil with some herbs, salt and pepper OR 1/2 cup of shredded non-dairy cheese.  Or, even better, use the onion and bread crumb topping used for the Green Bean Casserole but mix in a 1/4 cup of shredded non-dairy cheese.

Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffing (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, vegan)

My father and older brother used to spend the fall hunting birds such as grouse, pheasant, and quail.  All of these birds are quite small so none alone would make a meal for six people so my mother would save them up all fall and for New Year’s Eve, she would bake them with a wild rice and artichoke stuffing.  Here’s my version.  Serves 6-8.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked wild rice (be sure to get just wild rice, not a wild rice mixture.  This took me some hunting but I did manage to find a small bag in my local grocery)
  • 2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 3 stalks of celery diced
  • 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
  • 8-10 small baby artichokes, cooked (I used jarred in water and they worked fine) and quartered – if you can’t find baby ones, use artichoke hearts but trim the tops to remove any tough pieces
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 quart baking dish, greased
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil

Heat the oil in a medium skillet and add the onions, celery and mushrooms.  Simmer over medium heat until tender.  Add the rice and quinoa and mix thoroughly.  Pour into the greased baking dish and pour the vegetable stock evenly over mixture (if you prefer, you can use turkey or chicken stock instead).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes uncovered.