Roasted Root Vegetables (vegan)

I can only make this dish when I have company coming because if I make it when its just Earl and I, I eat the whole bowl!  These are sooooooo good, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  Feel free to add or subtract vegetables you prefer.  A very easy recipe to make and I’ve never had anyone complain that they didn’t like it.  In fact, my brother doesn’t care for sweet potato but he really love this dish.  You can make your life easier by purchasing already diced root vegetables.  My local Whole Foods store sells a mixture of sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips so all I have to dice is the turnip.  I’ve also used butternut squash.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Into a large bowl add:

  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 large parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • dried herbs of choice (I use about 1 teaspoon of an herb mix like Mrs. Dash or McCormick)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix thoroughly.  Pour onto a large baking pan making sure that you have only one layer.  If you don’t have a non-stick baking pan, be sure to grease it before adding the vegetables.  Bake for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and bottoms are browned.  If you like, after 15 minutes, you can take them out of the oven and turn the vegetables over so that the other side will also get brown and crunchy.

Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

My husband never liked anything but Stove Top Stuffing.  Last year at Thanksgiving, he told me not to bother to make him any stuffing so I made a small batch of my stuffing and then I didn’t get much of it because he ate almost all of it!  So now I make a large dish of this dressing so there’s plenty for leftovers.  Crunchy on the bottom and soft and moist inside, you’ll never miss the gluten or the eggs.  I use this for a Thanksgiving dressing or to stuff chicken breasts or pork chops.

I don’t cut and dry the bread before making the stuffing — the way I figure it, if you have to dry the bread out so that it will absorb all the flavors of the other things you’re adding, your bread isn’t very good.  So I start with my favorite gluten-free bread (I love the DeLand’s Millet and Flax bread or even their millet flatbread), and then don’t add as much chicken or turkey stock (if you want this vegan, don’t use the sausage and use vegetable broth instead of the meat stocks).

Grease a large, flat casserole dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, over medium heat:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 pound of sausage, I use turkey sausage

Brown and then add:

  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced baby bella mushrooms

Cook until the vegetables are soft.

In a medium size bowl, place:

  • 6 cups of diced gluten-free bread
  • 1 tablespoon dry sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • the sausage and vegetable mixture

Mix well and pour into the prepared dish.  Pour over the dressing, 1 cup stock (you can use up to 1 1/2 cups if needed but it may be mushier) being sure to get most of the bread moist.  Cover with aluminum foil, or the cover to the casserole dish if it has one.  Cook for 1/2 hour and then remove cover and let cook for another 15 minutes until top is browned.

String Bean Casserole (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, vegan)

A Thanksgiving classic, this is a side dish I had to give up years ago because of the milk and gluten.  Here it is revisited and so delicious with the home-made cream of mushroom soup along with the onion and bread crumb topping.  I like to use the mixed string beans — green and yellow.  It takes a few more steps than your old fashioned green bean casserole but it tastes just as good.

Steam 1 pound of green beans.  While they’re cooking, cut half a large sweet Vidalia onion into slices and then cut the slices in half (or use all of a medium size onion).

To a medium skillet, over medium heat, add:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • the onions

Cook until soft and starting to caramelize.  Stir in:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Grease a 5×8″ casserole dish.  Mix the string beans and 2 cups of cream of mushroom soup (see recipe under soups and salads).  Add to the casserole dish and top with the onion mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for a half hour and then, if you want it browner, stick it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes.

Bok Choy with onions and garlic

Easy, quick, and a household favorite.  Cook the bok choy to whatever doneness you like, either crunchy or well done.  Goes very well with any meat.

For 2 people:

  • 2-3 bunches baby bok choy
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced,  I use red but you can use any kind you like
  • 1 clove garlic diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bottom of a large fry pan

Heat your fry pan over medium heat, add the oil and the vegetables.  I also like to salt and pepper to taste along with some of my dried hear mixture.  Stir and let simmer over medium heat for several minutes.  If you like it crunchy, its done.  If you want it cooked a little more, cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Serve with any meat.

Sauteed Squash

One of my favorite vegetables during the summer are the yellow and zucchini squash.  Since I was a teenager, I’ve enjoyed them the best by simply sautéing the slices with some onion and garlic in a little oil (back then I used butter but that’s not possible any longer!).  Very easy and quick dish to make.  Serves 2.

Slice, as thin as you can, except the garlic:

  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 small zucchini squash
  • 2 small yellow summer squash
  • 1 garlic clove (diced)

TIP:  Always cut up your onion and garlic first and let sit for 5-10 minutes to release the flavors before cooking.

In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and squash with the garlic on the top.  I like to salt it so that the squash releases its natural liquids.  I also add some dashes of my favorite dried herb mixture.  Stir to mix in the salt and herbs and then saute on medium high until the onion and squash start to become translucent then turn down the heat to medium low, cover the pan and cook until the squash is cooked, 3-5 minutes.  Remove lid, increase the heat to brown slightly.

Celery Root and Parsnip Mash

Celery root has a very strong flavor and if  you love the taste of celery, that’s a good thing.  However, if you’re wanting a mash to compete with mashed potatoes, strong celery taste isn’t the best thing.  I love parsnips and thought they would go very well with the celery root and I was right; if you like parsnips, you’ll love this side dish as much as I do.  The parsnips really compliment the celery root well, modifying the strong celery taste with the sweetness of the parsnip.

In a large pot (I used my 4 quart pan), add a steamer and water to just cover the bottom of the steamer.  This makes 6 servings.  Add:

  • 1 peeled and diced medium celery root
  • 3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium onion sliced and halved (I used a red onion and the mash almost looked like red skin potatoes when I was done) OR 1 leek cleaned and sliced OR 2 shallots diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled

Steam until very tender.  Drain off the water.  I then moved the root and parsnips to a larger pot (you want a fairly deep one because these bounce when you whip them).  Using a masher, mash as much as you can by hand.  Add milk (I started with 1/4 cup of hemp milk) and 1/4 cup of avocado oil.  I then used my hand mixer to puree but you could also use your food processor or an immersion blender.  Add more milk if necessary to  get the consistency your family likes.  Be sure to add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoodles (sweet potato noodles) with vegetables (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan)

Here’s another recipe to help us use up all those fresh vegetables we have during these summer months.  And again, its one you can adapt to your vegetable overload.  The only thing you may want to get from the store are the spoodles or coodles (carrot noodles). Either work great in this recipe.  I like it plain but you could easily add a curry sauce or if you can use soy, a hoisin-based sauce.  Makes 4 serving.

Dice:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, medium sized
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup pea pods or 1 cup green peas, or 1 cup green beans

Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet and when the oil is hot, add the diced vegetables.  If you are planning to add a sauce, use less oil.  Saute over medium heat until onion is translucent.  Add the pea pods, peas or green beans and 1 pound of spoodles or coodles.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, about 15 minutes for sweet potato and 20 minutes for carrot noodles.

Simple curry-sauce:

In a small sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil then add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of curry, depending on your taste and cook for approximately 30 seconds until you can smell the curry.  Add 2 tablespoons of all purpose gluten-free flour.  Whisk and cook for several minutes.  Whisk in 1/2 to 1 cup (the amount of milk depends on how thick you want your sauce) of your favorite milk (coconut milk works great here but rice, hemp, almond also work fine).

 

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Patties

I love sweet potatoes any way I can get them.  For a long time, I was content with just baking them and serving them with margarine and cinnamon or dicing and steaming them and then whipping them with margarine and spices.  This recipe goes a step further producing a silky, smooth interior with a crunchy fried exterior.  So yummy and so easy to do.  The hardest part is probably putting enough oil in the pan so that the patties don’t touch the bottom of the pan and burn.  Sweet potato will burn very quickly so be sure to add at least a half inch of olive oil to your pan and get it good and hot before you add the patties.  Fry over medium heat once the oil gets hot.

Mix:

  • 1 cup mashed cauliflower (I love the purple variety but any will do; 1 small cauliflower will make right around 1 cup of mash)
  • 3/4 cup of baked sweet potato (one medium sweet potato will yield just about 3/4 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons of sweet potato flour
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed (or you could use a mixture of flax, chia and hemp seeds ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of spice (I used cinnamon but allspice, ground cloves, ground ginger or nutmeg will work as well depending on your taste)
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper)

With a hand mixer on low speed, mix the cauliflower and sweet potato until well blended and the cauliflower is broken down.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Heat the oil (I used my 12 inch fry pan and cooked all 4 patties at once) and oil your hands.  Make four patties using your hands (each should be about 1/2 cup of mixture and you may need to put a  little more oil on your hands after the second patty).

Fry on each side for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.  Remove to paper towels to remove any excess oil and then transfer to plates.  These are very soft, not firm like meat patties so treat them with care.

TIP:  These would also be great with a little maple syrup over the top.

Fried Green Tomatoes (gluten-free, egg-free, vegan)

I’ve been focused on fresh fruits and vegetables the last few weeks and here’s yet another one!  Although our favorite tomato is a nice juicy red or yellow (or orange) ripe tomato, our second favorite is fried green tomatoes.  They are just so high in fat and calories that we only let ourselves indulge in them once during  the summer (well maybe two or three times depending on how many green tomatoes we have).  I’ve found, over the years, that you really don’t need to deep fry them, pan frying them works just fine and reduces the amount of oil.  Using gluten-free flour also works fine.

In a large fry pan, heat olive oil (it really is the best one for us all to eat, helps reduce our cholesterol and triglycerides).  You want the oil to be at least 1/2 inch deep in the pan.  Heat over medium heat so that it doesn’t burn.

Put in a large plastic freezer bag,

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix, such as Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Shake vigorously to mix.  The amounts and types of seasonings for the flour can vary depending on your tastes.

Wash and slice

  • 3-4 medium size green tomatoes (or 2 large)

You should end up with about 5 slices per tomato or a total of 15-18 slices which, at least in this family, feeds 2 people.

Add half the tomato slices to the flour mix, close the bag, and shake to cover the tomato slices.  Drop a bit of flour in the oil and if it sizzles, the oil is ready.  Add the slices and brown on each side approximately 5 minutes or until browned.  Remove to a platter covered with paper towels and salt.  Repeat until all the slices are fried.  Try not to stack the slices on the platter since they will then steam and get soggy.  You can place them in the over on a low heat (200 degree) to stay warm if needed if you are using a small fry pan.  I use my large 14 inch pan and can fry them all in 2 batches.  They will stay very hot on the inside for 10-15 minutes without the oven.

I haven’t tried using my air fryer for these; maybe next year!

Pasta and Cheese (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

Doesn’t everyone love a good pasta and cheese?  For those of us who are allergic or sensitive to dairy this is one comfort food we thought we’d have to give up forever.  However, today with all the non-dairy cheeses that are available, making a pasta and cheese dish is quite easy to do.  And if you want to lighten it up, substitute cauliflower rice for half the pasta.  You could also use chopped broccoli.  This one is very creamy and luscious.  Here’s how I make it.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of non-dairy milk
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces of cheese (Daiya, Kite Hill, etc.)
  • 8 ounces of pasta
  • Topping of cheese or gluten-free breadcrumbs mixed with a fat such as olive oil or your favorite margarine

In a 2 qt saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups of your favorite milk (I use Tempt hemp milk; its strong flavor holds up to the cheese).  Add 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper and 12 ounces of Daiya Classic Cheese blend or your favorite non-dairy cheese (you want to use grated cheese here).  When milk gets hot, reduce heat to low.  Stir frequently to blend as the cheese melts.

Heat 4 qts water in a large pot.  When its boiling, add 8 oz of your favorite pasta (I used Ancient Grains Supergrain rotini but I often use Lensi Chickpea pasta, or  POW) along with 1 teaspoon salt.  Cook according to package directions, drain.

Grease a 2 qt casserole pan, add cooked pasta and about two-thirds of your cheese sauce.  Stir to mix.  I top it with a couple of slices of Daiya Provolone but you could also use a mixture of margarine (or oil) and gluten-free bread crumbs (my husband’s favorite).  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.