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Plant Power! Chickpea and Kale Sandwich Spread


Chickpeas and kale are two of my favorite everyday ingredients.  They’re so nutritious and flavorful, but it’s their versatility that gives them extra points.  That’s why the recipe for Chickpea and Kale Sandwich Spread in Nava Atlas’s new book, Plant Power caught my eye.  And it’s also why I’m especially happy to share this recipe with you today as part of my friend Nava’s blog tour for Plant Power, her latest book.

In addition to featuring over 150 plant-based recipes, Plant Power also serves as a guide to help transform your life with vegan food. Nava’s easy and delicious recipes, helpful tips, and welcoming voice, along with lovely photos by Hannah Kaminsky, combine to make this a terrific book for new and longtime vegans alike.

I hope all my fellow chickpeas and kale lovers will enjoy this stop on the Plant Power blog tour with this easy and delicious recipe from Nava Atlas.

Chickpea and Kale Sandwich Spread or Salad
Chickpeas and kale are a tasty team, and this combination makes a great spread for bread, a filling for pita bread or a wrap (along with some tender lettuce and sliced tomatoes), or layered scoop of it on a sturdy flatbread and served open-faced. For a nice warm weather meal, this is great served with a potato salad and a simple fruit medley. Recipe from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes by Nava Atlas. ©2014, published by HarperOne, reprinted by permission. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Serves: 4 to 6 (makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups)

• 2 medium kale leaves (any variety), rinsed well
• 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
• 2 cups cooked or one 15- to 16-ounce can (drained and rinsed) chickpeas
• 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, but highly recommended)
• 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
• 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves or 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves
• 1 to 2 scallions, green parts only, cut into large pieces, optional
• 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed or bottled lemon juice, to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
• Freshly ground pepper to taste
• Fresh green sprouts (optional

Combine the kale and carrot in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the chickpeas are evenly chopped and everything is nicely blended—don’t overprocess; leave the mixture a bit chunky.  Transfer to a serving container and serve at once, or cover and refrigerate until needed.

Variation: Use a good handful of baby spinach or arugula in place of the kale.

Nutrition information (per 1/2 cup serving) Calories: 220; Total fat: 7g; Protein: 13g; Carbohydrates: 29g; Fiber: 9g; Sodium: 208mg



Chili Mac is the Answer

One Pot Cheesy Mac REV

With a chill in the air and darkness coming earlier, comfort food has been calling my name.  Two of my favorite comfort foods are vegan mac and cheese and a nice spicy chili.

I made a batch of quick chili on Sunday — the Three-Bean Pantry Chili from my cookbook, MORE Quick-Fix Vegan.  It was soooo good!  For last night’s dinner, I whipped up the Mac UnCheesy Bowls from the same book.   It was only with the greatest amount of willpower that there are some leftovers of both. So…..guess what’s on the menu for dinner tonight? That’s right:

Chili + Mac UnCheese = Chili Mac!!!

You don’t even need a recipe to make it!  Just combine leftover chili with leftover mac n’ cheese in a lightly oiled casserole dish and bake until hot.  (You can top this with a little shredded vegan cheese or some crumbled tortilla chips.) If you don’t want to turn on the oven, just heat in a saucepan or even in the microwave.

You can of course use any chili and mac and cheese recipes you like, but I really like the flavor (and speed, and convenience) of the recipes in MORE Quick-Fix Vegan.   (thanks to Zsu Dever for the great photos). On the chance that you do not yet have MORE Quick-Fix Vegan (my favorite of all three in the “Quick-Fix” series), I’ll share the recipes with you here.  Let me know what you think!

Three-Bean Pantry Chili REV

Three-Bean Pantry Chili
A selection of canned beans combine with a jar of salsa and some chili powder for an almost effortless pot of chili. Vary the beans according to what’s on hand (lentils are great in this!) and add some TVP if you like. The optional corn kernels make a tasty addition. Naturally, if you have any chili toppings on hand such as avocado, scallions, or vegan sour cream, feel free to use them at will. From MORE Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson © 2014, Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Serves 4

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (24-ounce) jar salsa (hot or mild)
2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (8-ounce) can corn kernels, drained (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, reserving half the corn, if using. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through and long enough to cook off any raw taste from the chili powder, 15 to 20 minutes. Add up to 1 cup of water if the chili is too thick. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining corn kernels.


Mac UnCheesy Bowls
Serves 4
If ever there was comfort food in a bowl, it’s this recipe. A protein-rich stovetop mac and cheese combines with broccoli for a quick and easy one-dish meal that is sure to please kids of all ages. Instead of broccoli, you could use a different vegetable, such as chopped spinach or frozen green peas. From MORE Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson © 2014, Andrews McMeel Publishing.
8 ounces elbow macaroni
3 cups small broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper or cooked butternut squash
3/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/3 cup nutritional yeast, or more
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Stir in the broccoli and cook a few minutes longer, until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is just tender. Drain and return to the pot.
In a food processor or blender, combine the cannellini beans, bell pepper, almond milk, tahini, lemon juice, mustard, nutritional yeast, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, salt, and pepper. Add a dash of cayenne or hot sauce if desired. Process until smooth and well blended. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Add a little more almond milk if the sauce is too thick. Transfer the sauce mixture to the pot containing the cooked pasta and broccoli. Stir gently over low heat to combine and heat through. To serve, divide the mixture into four bowls.




The Vegetarian Flavor Bible…and more

veg flavor bible

Because my day job is writing cookbooks, you’d think I’d want to relax by reading something non-food related, right?  Wrong!  My nightstand usually holds a stack of food magazines and cookbooks, that I read like novels.

The latest page-turner I’ve been enjoying is The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, a labor of love written by Karen Page with gorgeous photos by Andrew Dornenburg.  Since I was already an avid fan of The Flavor Bible, I knew I’d love this new book dedicated to all flavors vegetarian!  Like its predecessor, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is not a cookbook — it’s all about FLAVOR — specifically flavor pairings of virtually every vegetarian ingredient under the sun.  (note: dairy products are also in this book.)

If you’re a “foodie” person, you’ll love The Vegetarian Flavor Bible.  It’s an indispensable resource for chefs, food writers, and cookbook authors, but even if you just like to cook, and want a better understanding of flavor dynamics — what combines well and why — you’ll find the information in this book extremely interesting and helpful.

In other news:

There’s been a lot of great buzz for my newest book, Vegan Without Borders.

Here are some highlights:

  • Named one of the best vegan cookbooks of 2014 on Vegan.com
  • Great reviews on GoodReads
  • Reviews, recipes, and more in a variety of print newspapers
  • Featured on lots of great food blogs including:

Veggie Girl

Zsu’s Vegan Pantry

Food Republic


Hungry Vegan (there’s a cookbook giveaway going on there now!)



Appetite for Books

…. and lots more.

In other, other news…..

I had the pleasure of attending a multi-course dinner event at Eatonville in DC last week to celebrate The Lusty Vegan by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg.  The recipes were from the book and the meal was out of this world.  The place was packed!

The night before, however, was even better.  Ayinde cooked a fantastic meal for us at a friend’s home including his insanely delicious crab cakes made with hearts of palm:


He also made his Devil’s Pot Pie (with a hint of habanero), roasted winter vegetables, and a refreshing kale salad.  (I brought the appetizer and dessert!)  Here’s a pic of Ayinde in action:






Balt Crab Cake IMG_8043

I’m excited to be the first stop on The Lusty Vegan Blog Tour, not just because it’s such a fun (and well-written) book to read; not even because Jon’s company published it; and certainly not because I need dating advice (!). The reason I’m especially excited is because I get to share one of my favorite recipes from the book (and believe me, there are SEVERAL favorites!) – but I especially love the Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes, made with hearts of palm. The recipe is easy to make and absolutely captures the texture and flavor of crab cakes. Served with a simple but delicious garlicky dill aioli and lemon wedges, this is definitely a recipe to lust after.

Which bringTLVs me conveniently back to the book: With a subtitle of “A Cookbook and Relationship Manifesto for Vegans and the People Who Love Them,” you may think The Lusty Vegan is just for those in the dating game. Think again. The book contains great advice from co-authors Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg that I found to be applicable to most any relationship dynamic involving vegans and nonvegans, be it friends, family, or colleagues, and of course spouses.

I enjoyed the stories, tips, and anecdotes in the chapters, but I have to say that my favorite part of the book is the recipes. Each chapter closes with a group of recipes (80 in all) that relate to the topic of the specific chapter. Created by chef Ayinde Howell, these fabulous recipes can be savored harmoniously by both vegans and omnivores. Among my favorites are: Cajun Tofu with Dirty Quinoa, Cauliflower Steak with Miso-Rooster Sauce, Polenta Cakes with Chili-Garlic Sauce, Cranberry-Walnut Cinnamon Rolls, North African Lentil Stew with Roasted Yams, and, of course, the Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes:

Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Serves 2

Maryland crab cakes are traditionally oversized, and I wanted to recreate them using hearts of palm and traditional seasonings. I make them gluten-free and pair them with a garlicky dill aïoli. I don’t know if it’s spot on, but from what I hear, it’s pretty darn close.
(From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.)

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil, divided, plus more for frying
1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, (not packed in sugar), roughly chopped to the consistency of crab meat
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, or more
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
Lemon wedges, to serve

1. Garlicky Dill Aïoli: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Set in the fridge to keep cool.

2. Crab Cakes: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hearts of palm and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Set aside to cool. Add the celery and peppers and mix well.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-heat heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

4. Remove from the heat, add to the hearts of palm, and mix well. Add the Old Bay seasoning, cornstarch, and mayo.

5. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then shape the mixture into four round patties.

6. Breading: In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Old Bay seasoning, stirring to mix. Coat the patties with the breadcrumb mixture and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

7. Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Watch closely to prevent burning. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Serve hot, topped with the aïoli, with lemon wedges on the side.


Bottom line: Whether you want the guilty pleasure of the frank and irreverent relationships talk or Ayinde’s fabulous recipes, you’ll want your own copy of The Lusty Vegan.  (Be sure to keep up with the rest of The Lusty Vegan Blog Tour for more recipes,as well as guest posts, interviews, and giveaways.)


Savory Pumpkin Bites with Green Chile Aioli

pumpkin bites 1000

After spending a fun Saturday afternoon at a “pick your own” pumpkin patch, I couldn’t resist doing a pumpkin-related post. Today’s recipe is for Savory Pumpkin Bites with Green Chile Aioli (shown above) from the new edition of Vegan Planet.  I’ll share the recipe in the minute, but first I thought you might like to see where all the pumpkin picking took place:

Field Mtn IMG_0499a

Here’s what we (and our friends) picked — $35 for the whole wheelbarrow load!

wbarrow full IMG_0507

And here’s our front porch after festooning it with pumpkins, gourds, and mums:

Front Porch IMG_0522

I love the change of seasons — and I especially love cool autumn weather!

Now here’s that recipe I promised.  Hope you enjoy!

Savory Pumpkin Bites with Green Chile Aioli
Pumpkin, walnuts, and sage combine to give these tasty bites a rich depth of flavor. But it’s the accompanying green chile aioli that sends them over the top. From Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson (c) 2014.

1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup finely ground walnuts
2/3 cup canned solid-pack or pure pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Green Chile Aioli (recipe follows)

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Heat the oil or water in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Uncover, stir in the garlic and sage, and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute longer. Set aside.

2. In a food processor, process the oats to a powder. Add the ground walnuts, pumpkin, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Add the reserved onion mixture and process until well combined.  Add additional oat flour or ground walnuts if the mixture is too wet to hold together. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until firm and the bottoms are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve with the aioli.


Green Chile Aioli
This easy and flavorful aioli is fabulous with the pumpkin bites, but can also be slathered onto sandwiches or used as a dipping sauce for vegetables or baked tofu. From Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson (c) 2014.

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons finely minced mild canned green chiles
1 teaspoon green Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve with the pumpkin bites.


Here’s one more shot of the gourds we picked — they’re so pretty, aren’t they?


gourds and hay IMG_0518



Chickpea and Kale Wat from Vegan Without Borders


Thanks to all who participated in my spontaneous online poll yesterday in helping me decide which part of the world to visit for today’s recipe from Vegan Without Borders. The majority of votes went to various regions of Africa, and there were a lot of great recipes to choose from, including the Vegetable Tagine shown above (photo by Sara Remington). Here’s a list of the recipes from Africa in Vegan Without Borders:

Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup
Harissa Sauce
Spicy Lemon Chickpeas (Fasting Eggs)
Chickpea and Kale Wat
Vegetable Tagine
Black-Eyed Pea Fritters
Berbere-Spiced Crackers
Falafel Pie
Spicy Couscous with Carrots and Chickpeas
Caakiri Pudding with Pineapple

I chose to share Chickpea and Kale Wat (photo by Zsu Dever) for a number of reasons. The recipe for this Ethiopian stew is super quick and easy and a great way to get a lot of flavor out of your basic “beans and greens.” The recipe is also versatile, in that you can swap out different beans or legumes for the chickpeas, or use other vegetables to replace the kale. The recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, and low in oil (you can make it “no oil” if you water-saute the veggies).

Chickpea Wat 2a
Chickpea and Kale Wat
Serve the wat with injera (shown in the photo with the Vegetable Tagine – a recipe for injera is also in the book) or on a bed of cooked rice or couscous. This is a spicy dish, so I’ve made the cayenne optional if you prefer less heat. You can also use less red pepper flakes, if you wish. This recipe is from Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson © 2014, Andrews McMeel Publishing.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon natural sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups chopped kale (tough stems removed)
3 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained and rinsed

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger, then add the garam masala, paprika, thyme, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne, if using. Stir in the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of the water. Add the kale and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to wilt the kale. Add the chickpeas and the remaining 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender and the flavor is developed, about 20 minutes, adding a little more water, if needed, so the stew doesn’t dry out or burn.
Serves 4


If you are already loving Vegan Without Borders, please help spread the word and post a review on Amazon.  If you don’t have your copy yet, here’s the link.