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.  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.

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.

Maple Glazed Roasted Squash with Kale (dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan)

This reminds me of my mother’s baked acorn squash where she’d half them, remove the seeds, fill the cavity with butter and brown sugar and then bake them.  So buttery and delicious.  This is a fairly easy recipe once the squash are sliced.  Some grocery stores will now do this for you so ask (they can probably slice them more evenly than I did mine!).  Feel free to use one large or a variety of smaller ones depending on your taste.  In my case, as in the three squash mash from an earlier blog, I used my favorites – butternut, buttercup and acorn.  The sweetness of the maple sugar only adds to the velvety sweetness of the squash with a note of maple thrown in.  So simple and so good.  Be sure to reduce the heat half way through the cooking process to keep the maple glaze from burning.  Serves 6 depending on how much squash is used.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a steamer pan add:

  • 1-2 bunches kale, cleaned with larger stems removed

Steam until softened, 5-12 minutes depending on how much kale you have in the steamer.

Half the squash and remove the seeds from:

  • 1 small acorn
  • 1 small butternut
  • 1 small buttercup

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.  Slice the squash into equal slices.  Arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Be sure that end pieces with mostly skin are skin side down.  Mix together in a small bowl:

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive or avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used only 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a 1/8 teaspoon pepper)

Pour the glaze mixture evenly over the squash.  Flip over the squash so that the end pieces with mostly skin are skin side up.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip so that pieces with flesh on both sides are now turned over.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until squash is soft, approximately 15-20 more minutes.  If you have thicker pieces that need more cooking, remove the cooked pieces and add the kale in the places where there’s no squash (I moved all the thicker squash slices to the edges and put the kale in the middle of the baking sheet).  If all the squash is removed, simply add  the kale to the baking sheet and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Arrange the kale on a serving dish with the squash slices on top.  

Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Patties (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, soy-free, vegan)

If you love quinoa and sweet potatoes as much as I do, this recipe is a must for your side dish repertoire.  It easy to make and delicious to eat, flavorful from the herbs and garlic as well as the sweet potato, crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside.  Garnish with your favorite aioli or eat them plain.  Be sure to add lots of scallions to garnish as well since sweet potatoes love them.  I used a curry aioli which I made by adding 2 teaspoons of curry powder to 1/2 cup of hot olive oil.  Let it cool before you begin blending the aioli. Make sure you don’t heat the oil after you add the curry powder or it will burn very quickly.  Makes 6 servings (2 patties each).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, whatever color you like
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1 15 ounce can drained chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 of a medium onion
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 scallions sliced for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon seasoning mixture such as Mrs. Dash
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax, preferably golden
  • 2 tablespoon arrowroot
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups breads crumbs, with seasonings added — remember if you need more, you can add more but you can’t take it away or use it again once you’ve covered your patties.

Mix the ground flax with 3 tablespoons of hot water and let sit until cool.  In a food processor, add the chickpeas, garlic and onion.  Blend until well mashed.  In a bowl, put the quinoa, sweet potato puree, chickpea mixture, flour and seasonings.  In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot with the other 3 tablespoons of water (cold this time).  Combine the arrowroot and the ground flax mixtures and add to the quinoa mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined.

Spread the bread crumbs in a small baking dish (I used a small cookie sheet with sides). Scoop out the quinoa mixture by 1/4 cups (it doesn’t have to be exact).  Put the scooped mixture on the bread crumbs and cover with more bread crumbs as you flatten it.  Place on another sheet while you finish the remaining patties, make sure you wipe off excess bread crumbs.

Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and when the patties are browned, put them on this cookie sheet in a single layer. In a large skillet, put 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat (more may be needed as the patties fry).  Add the patties to the skillet without crowding and brown on each side.   When all are fried, bake them for 15-20 minutes to heat through and cook inside.  Garnish with aioli and scallions.

Butternut and Chard Tart (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan)

I enjoy savory pies just as much as sweet ones.  I wasn’t a believer in mixing squashes and cheese until I tried this tart.  So yummy and such a great side dish for Thanksgiving.  Feel free to substitute pumpkin or sweet potato, maybe even a different squash like acorn or hubbard.  Serves 6-8.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  You’ll need for the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, toasted and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water

Since this is a gluten-free crust, the oil and water may change depending on the flour blend you use.  Mix the above with a food processor or a fork until crumbly.  Spread in a 9″ pie plate, pressing on sides and bottom.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  When cut this crust will act more like a graham cracker crust than a regular pie crust.

For the filling, you’ll need:

  • 3 cups diced squash
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 diced shallots
  • 2 medium diced garlic cloves (or one large)
  • 1/4 cup toasted and chopped pepitas
  • 4-5 cups of sliced rainbow chard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (1 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses could substitute for both the vinegar and agave nectar)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey would work)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (approximately 1/4 teaspoon of each)
  • 4 slices of non-dairy provolone or other creamy cheese
  • 1/3 cup aquafaba combined with 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch (if you can use eggs, you can substitute 2 large eggs here)

Roast the squash for approximately 1/2 hour until tender, turning once so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom.  Meanwhile in a large skillet combine the olive oil, diced shallots and garlic and saute for about a minute until tender.  Add chard, vinegar, agave, and seasonings, combine and cook for another 3-5 minutes until chard is tender (I cooked mine a little longer because I like the stems along with the leaves and it takes a little longer for them to get tender).  Add the pepitas, cheese and aquafaba (or eggs slightly beaten if you can use them).  Stir in the squash and pour into the pie shell.  Add another 4 slices of non-dairy cheese on top and bake for another 20-25 minutes until filling is set (the aquafaba may still be a little runny when you take it out of the oven but will set as it sits).  Serve warm.

Baked Beans (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, fat-free, vegan)

Being from New England, one of my comfort foods has to be baked beans.  I like to eat mine with rice, that way I eat fewer baked beans but my husband likes to eat his plain with extra ketchup.  Whatever way you like them, this baked bean recipe makes hearty, not too sweet beans.

Soak overnight:

  • 1 16-ounce bag of dried red kidney beans (or whatever bean your family prefers)

Be sure that the water covers the beans by at least 3 inches.  Cover the bowl so that nothing falls in it while the beans are soaking.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  You’ll need:

  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup real maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want your beans)
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar-free ketchup (such as Organicsville Agave Ketchup)
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon (optional) [when I add bacon, I use turkey bacon that doesn’t add any fat to the beans]

Combine above ingredients except the onion.  Add the diced onion and your soaked beans to a bean pot.  If you don’t have a bean pot, a very heavy dutch over would work (like a cast iron one).  Add 2 cups of the bean soaking liquid into the mixed ingredients and pour over the beans until they are just covered.  Don’t overfill your bean pot to start or you’ll have a mess in your oven.

Bake, adding liquid as needed, for approximately 3 hours or until the beans are soft but not mushy.  You want to check them every half hour and add liquid as needed as well as stirring them so that the beans on top don’t get undercooked while the beans on the bottom get overcooked.  Remember, once you take them out of the oven and leave the cover on the pot, they will continue to cook.  I usually let mine sit on the counter for about a half hour after taking them out and then I transfer them to a serving dish.

Three Squash Mash (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, vegan)

My father loved winter squash — any variety, he raised them all and loved to eat all of them.  His least favorite was the most common, the butternut.  It was too wet for his taste so when we cooked one, we had to mix it with other winter squash to dry it out.  He always doused it with a good amount of gravy, so it had to be dry to begin with so the gravy would sink in (he also liked his potatoes very dry for the same reason).  There’s a wide variety of winter squash to choose from — blue hubbard, acorn, butternut, buttercup, kabocha, carnival, dumpling, delicata, etc — I used an acorn, buttercup, and delicata in my mash but you can use any combination you want.  I also use the very smallest I can find since, unless my older brother shows up, I have to eat it all by myself since my son and husband don’t like it.

Wash 3 winter squash and then stab them with a sharp knife to pierce the squash into the center so that the steam can escape while you cook them.  Put them in a baking dish with about 1 inch of water and put the dish into a 400 degree oven until the squash are soft. In my case, it took around an hour.  Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 15 minutes (unless you like burned fingers) before you clean them.

Using some paper towels to collect the seeds and strings from the center and a bowl to collect the meat, cut each squash in half and scoop out the seeds and strings onto the paper towels.  Once you have them basically out (its okay if a few strings get into the mash), scoop the meat of the squash into a bowl large enough to hold the meat from all 3 squash.  Repeat for each squash.

Once you have the meat separated, mix in:

  • 2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup avocado oil, or if you can use it, vegan margarine; the amount you’ll use depends on how much squash you have in your bowl (for my 3 very small squash, I used 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon to  1/4 cup agave or honey (optional) — I actually think winter squash is sweet enough without adding any sweetener, especially if you use a delicata, carnival or dumpling in your mix

Stir briskly with a large spoon (or if you have a lot, use a hand mixer on a low setting) until the squash types and additions are well mixed.  If your squash is now too cool to serve, put the squash into a greased baking dish and return to oven to heat up, roughly 15-20 minutes if your oven is already hot.

Tomato Pie (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, vegan)

Another very easy to make recipe, tomato pie takes some planning and most of the day but the time is spent waiting for the tomatoes to dry and that takes 4-6 hours.  So if you want to try this easy recipe, plan ahead and make sure you have plenty of time available.  Not something you can throw together at the last minute.  It’s one way for me to use all the overabundance of tomatoes I have this time of year.

You’ll need:

  • 5-8 tomatoes depending on size
  • one small onion
  • a gluten-free pie crust, bottom layer only
  • 1 to 2 cups of non-dairy mozzarella cheese (depending on how much cheese you like)

Line a large baking tray with 4 or 5 layers of paper towels

Slice:

  • 5-8 tomatoes, depending on the size (you’ll want about 30 slices)
  • one small onion

Let the tomatoes and onion dry on the paper towels, turning every couple of hours, for 4-6 hours.  I also put a couple of layers over the top so that nothing gets into the tomatoes and I can help dry out the slices.  Make sure that its a single layer of tomatoes on the tray.  If you don’t dry your tomatoes thoroughly, you’ll have tomato juice in your soggy pie.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prebake a 9 inch gluten-free pie crust.  Blind baking the bottom crust helps make sure that it doesn’t come out soggy.

When the crust is cool, add about a half cup of cheese and then place the tomato slices into the pie crust trying to cover the entire surface.  Add a layer of onions.  Continue to add tomatoes and onions until you have three rounds and the crust is mostly filled.  Cover the top of the pie with cheese and bake for 45 minutes.  Cool slightly before serving.

As a variation, you can add some cooked Italian sausage, either slices or ground,  into the pie as you’re layering the tomatoes and onions.